How Long Do Rabbits Live in Captivity?

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Before we discuss on how long do rabbits live in captivity, let us first get to understand what living captivity means. It means that any wild animal that is held by humans and prevented from escaping is said to be living in captivity.


At times, the word captivity refers to the keeping of domesticated animals, whether they are cats, dogs, bunnies, hamsters, reptiles, amphibians and so on.

In general, rabbits in captivity tend to live longer than rabbits in the wild. This is because bunnies in captivity are given much care and less exposed to various health risk, predators, and environmental factors.

Captivity rabbit lifespan

Captivity rabbit lifespan

Rabbits in captivity usually live between 8 and 12 years as opposed to the wild bunnies that can only live a few years due to the exposure to the various adverse environmental conditions as well as predators, diseases, and starvation.

The lifespan of a bunny relies on several factors. For instance, proper growth and development of rabbits, whether wild or domestic, depending on the environment around them. In case the environment is favorable, then they can survive for a longer period and vice versa.

Sometimes, young ones of a rabbit are abandoned by their parents, and this reduces their lifespans due to exposure to factors that can make them die faster at the infant stage. These factors include weather, starvation, and predations among others. However, some also struggle and survive.

Despite all those other factors, the lifespan of bunnies often increases when domesticated ones are cared for well. This involves things such as being offered good housing, proper nutrition, well-groomed as well as security and safety by their owners.

There exist different species of bunnies. However, a rabbit that is scientifically known as Oryctolagus cuniculus or “European rabbit breed” is a captive species.

This European breed has an average lifespan of about 7 to 10 years under normal circumstances. However, if the condition in their environment is not favorable, then they can die faster as a result of some factors like diseases, stress, predation among others.

Therefore, the lifespan of bunnies in captivity depends on the conditions in which they live, the nature as well as the kind of care the domestic it will get from their masters as well as their breed. A bunny will live longer if you care for them well. Otherwise, it may die faster. That goes without saying.

Finally, being knowledgeable about the basics of rabbit care and their unique needs can enable us to predict how long domestic rabbits live.

Factors that determine the rabbit’s lifespan

The following are factors that if put in place, then bunnies in captivity would live longer:

Housing choices

Housing choice is one of the factors that determine the lifespan of a rabbit in captivity. Whether they are kept indoors or outdoors hutches, security is the main and comfort should be the main aims.

Usually, a rabbit that is kept indoors tends to live longer as compared to the one that lives outdoors. Investing in a good bunny hutch will have an impact on this pet’s lifespan.

Domestic bunnies living in outdoor hutches have higher chances of being attacked by the predators, infections from bacteria, and can be affected by harmful environmental conditions as well as diseases caused by some rodents that might sneak into these housing units.

This is because hutches do not always provide adequate protection, specifically in the night hours. The bunnies that are kept indoors have enough protection especially from predators such as cats and hawks, to mention a few.

Additionally, there are high chances of an outdoor domestic bunny to escape in case of a predator attacks it.

Bunnies in captivity that have runaway are not used to living in the wild, and that can reduce their chances of survival. Some do not have colors that look like their background to stop predators from seeing them and thus can easily be noticed and killed.


The type of diet that a bunny gets also influences its lifespan. A healthier and well-balanced diet makes it live longer while those that get poor and unhealthy diets have a shorter lifespan.

One that is experiencing malnutrition will die quickly. Therefore, it is advisable to give a domestic rabbit a well-balanced diet. Include good quality hay such as Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food, high fiber pellets, leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Do not forget to provide them with unlimited clean drinking water.

Rabbit size

Size is important when determining how long the rabbit may live. The small bunnies usually live longer as compared to the larger ones. It, therefore, means that small and dwarf rabbits in captivity should live more years as compared to large ones or the ones of standard size. Sexual maturity is a dwarf bunny is always faster as compared to larger the larger bunnies.

The rabbit’s breed

The breed of a bunny also determines how long it will live. Those that are hybrid ones live longer as compared to the pure breeds. Mixed breeds have various adaptive features that are desirable for both parents that can increase their chances of survival.

It is important to note that, a rabbit in captivity required more attention when we compare them with the wild one whether dwarf or standard size. If they are not taken care of, they can quickly die at a tender age.

In general, bunnies in captivity can live for an extended period generally between eight and ten years if well taken care of by their masters or even up to 12 years.

How to make rabbits in captivity live longer

It is true that bunnies in captivity are delicate and they need proper care than those in the wild. Health is essential in making them live longer. The following are some of the ways how rabbits in captivity’s lifespan can be prolonged:


It is necessary to maintain the cleanliness both by grooming them and cleaning their hutches, cages, and sheds. Failure to keep proper hygiene may lead to depression, infection by parasites as well as diseases.

Ensure you know how to groom your rabbit correctly. For instance, brushing is essential for the long-haired breed to keep the skin healthy and matt-free. Neutering and spaying will also increase their lifespan.

Veterinary care

Good veterinarian’s care also increases the lifespan of rabbits in captivity. The veterinarians are knowledgeable about these pets and may advise you on how to care for your furry friends.

Take your bunny to the veterinarian from time to time, i.e., go for the checkup every year even if this pet has no health issues. A regular checkup is essential specifically for older rabbits that are more vulnerable.


Bunny in captivity should be adequately fed. The diet should have fiber-rich hay, high-quality pellets, some in green leafy plants that are rabbit friendly and treats of allowed fruits and vegetables.


Stop exposing your furry friend to extreme temperatures he or she is quite sensitive to the drastic changes in temperatures. It will make him or her uncomfortable.

Space and exercise

When living in captivity, these furry critters requires adequate space as well as exercise time. Ensure they have the right cage size, shed or hutch.

Also, let them frequent exercise daily, especially in the morning and in the evening. Naturally, bunnies like exercising all the time. You need a good rabbit run or a bunny proofed house if they are indoor.

Playing and play toys

To spice their lives, include rabbit toys such as tunneling or hideaway toys, chew toys, puzzle toys, and so on. Most of these can be made at home using simple DIY rabbit toy ideas. They will help reduce boredom and enrich their lives.

Also, try to play with your bunny to facilitate interaction as this will make it lively. This will help create a good bond between the two of you.

Security and safety

Ensure that your bunny is secured and do not scare it. You know that they always get stressed from what scares. Ensure your dogs do not bark at them and they live in a quiet place to give your rabbits a chance even to sleep.

Last advice

It is advisable to always pay attention to the pet bunnies in captivity’s health. If the rabbit is experiencing a severe health problem, you can call the veterinarian who can decide the best treatment option.

Bunnies may hide some signs of sickness. Therefore, talk to your veterinarian if you notice something abnormal.