Rabbits are wonderful creatures capable of great love and devotion toward their owners, as long as they are treated properly. So, if you’ve decided to adopt a new fellow bunny and want to learn about the proper rabbit food to provide and the safest rabbit cages to pick, perhaps our following article will shed some light.
Bear in mind that these wonderful creatures are used to being active and enjoy having enough space to move and jump. Therefore, they are best kept in large open spaces, including backyards or ranches.
If, however, you wish to keep your pet indoors, you will probably require a cage. Unfortunately, not all cages are deemed safe. Here are some aspects you may want to consider to make sure you purchased the right one for your bunny.
As with many other things, bigger usually means better. We previously mentioned that rabbits require plenty of space to move freely, so you should choose a cage that caters to their needs.
Pick the size of the cage according to the rabbit breed, but always provide enough space for your animal to stretch its legs. Dwarf rabbits are the most common breed that can be kept inside and, due to their rather small dimensions, they can fit in a regular rodent cage.
For rabbits under 8 pounds, we recommend purchasing a cage that is 24 x 36 inches large, while larger breeds may need cages that are 30 x 36 inches or even more. A two-story condo with an access ramp between the two levels seems like the perfect choice for rabbits as they’ll have plenty of spare room to stretch and even exercise a little bit.
When it comes to materials used for manufacturing cages, the most popular choices include wood, wireframes, and plastic. Each type comes with its own perks and downsides, so make sure you don’t leave anything to chance before deciding on a cage.
Plastic cages are lightweight and easy to transport. Most of them also include various accessories such as ladders, tunnels or huts for a more comfortable stay and alternative ways to spend their time. However, they are not very reliable in the long term and your rabbit may end up chewing its way out.
Wooden hutches are reliable and sturdy, which makes them a great addition if you want to keep your bunnies outside the house.
The best part is that you can build them yourself or order ones that are large enough to accommodate more than one individual. And, since imagination is your limit, you can also provide plenty of entertainment exercising opportunities inside in the shape of stairs, running wheels, and tunnels.
Another great thing about wood cages is that they shelter your animals and keep them warm in the wintertime or when it’s cold and rainy outside.
Unfortunately, your fellow bunny can also chew on the wood and escape at a certain point or, even worse, hurt itself with splinters. It can also inhale sawdust that could affect its lungs and breathing system, so make sure to take these aspects into account if you plan on buying a wooden cage.
Another popular option is the classic wireframe cage. These cages come in various sizes to accommodate all rabbit breeds and can be placed both indoors and outdoors.
Although sturdy and reliable, metal cages can also prove dangerous to rabbits. The most dangerous part of a metal cage is represented by the wire floor that is mainly designed to facilitate cleaning. However, wire floors can cause sores and harm your bunny’s feet in the long term. We suggest choosing a cage with a plastic or wooden floor instead.
If this is not possible, at least make sure to cover the wire floor with grass or a piece of wood without splinters. They will provide better traction and will allow your rabbit to use its paws without worrying about getting stuck in between the bars.
Access doors can also cause discomfort if they aren’t wide enough to allow your pet to easily get inside and outside on its own. If you have the possibility of building your own cage, make sure the access door matches the size of an adult rabbit.
When it comes to the position of the doors, we reckon that the side ones are the most suitable option. As opposed to doors located on the top of the cage, the side ones allow your pet to get inside and outside on its own, without you having to hold them. This shows that you trust your pet and care about its independence.
Also, we suggest choosing a door that comes with smooth edges or plastic guard strips to cover the edges of the wires in order to prevent accidents and cuts.
Indoor vs. outdoor?
Although there are plenty of things that can make a rabbit cage unsafe, keeping it outdoors isn’t a good solution either. In fact, according to scientists, it cuts off the lifespan by half, as rabbits will be exposed to various stress factors, including harsh weather conditions or the likelihood of predators.
On the other hand, keeping your rabbit inside a cage for the rest of its life is a big no-no also. Bunnies are independent and curious creatures, so they’ll require plenty of space to explore and run. So, what would be the best scenario in this case?
In our opinion, rabbits should be kept inside the house, in large cages that are permanently open so that they can move freely at all times. If you don’t want to deal with chewed wires or furniture, you may want to restrict your pet’s access to only one room or a large hallway.
Outside walks are also encouraged, as long as you make sure your pet cannot escape. You may consider buying a special leash and taking it outside for a day in the park just like you would take a dog.