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Can Rabbits Live Alone? Do They Need Company to Be Happy?

Can Rabbits Live Alone? Do They Need Company to Be Happy?

Many people ask, can rabbits live alone? Rabbits are social animals, and, like us, can suffer from loneliness. Though there are exceptions, most rabbits want and need another rabbit for company. For this reason, we always recommend keeping rabbits in groups of two or more.

can rabbits live alone

Rabbit welfare organisations almost always recommend keeping two rabbits or more. Have you ever wondered why?

Rabbits, like humans, are social creatures. They evolved to live in groups. This means that, much like you and I, they can become bored and lonely living alone without the company of fellow rabbits. And this, in turn, can cause not only unhappiness but also a variety of physical and behavioural problems.

However, sometimes circumstances prevent keeping more than one rabbit. And although it’s not optimal, there are ways to keep a single rabbit happy and entertained. We’ll talk about those in a bit.

How do Rabbits Live in the Wild?

Rabbits are burrowing animals, and live in extensive underground systems of tunnels and rooms called warrens. Domestic and wild rabbits are also crepuscular animals, which means that they’re most active at dawn and dusk.

Wild rabbits’ social behaviour can vary. Some live in large groups called colonies. Others live in family groups or in territorial pairs. And, yes, some wild rabbits are solitary and come together only to breed.

Domestic rabbits, however, need companionship, preferably rabbit companionship.

Is it Ever OK to Have Just One Rabbit?

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of offering your bunny the companionship of another bunny. In fact, studies have shown that when given a choice between food and social interaction, most rabbits will often choose a visit with another rabbit over a food treat.

However, there are some circumstances where certain individuals may do better on their own, for example:

  • A formerly abused pet rabbit
  • Rabbits who were bullied by other rabbits
  • Bunnies who have had other negative social interactions

In addition, there are a very few pet rabbits, like a very few humans, who simply do not enjoy the company of other rabbits!

If your rabbit prefers to be alone, they will make it abundantly clear. And in these cases, it’s possible for a single rabbit to live happily, provided they have plenty of social interactions with their humans.

Do Different Breeds Do Better on Their Own?

a statuette of two bunnies hugging in grass

That’s an interesting question. Different rabbit breeds absolutely have different personalities, activity levels, and so forth. But when it comes to companionship, breed is unimportant. The vast majority of domestic bunnies need a rabbit friend.

Does One Sex Do Better Alone?

Although both female rabbits and male rabbits are happiest in pairs, females tend to be more independent than males, and more territorial, as well.

Is Company More Important at Different Life Stages?

In general, no. Rabbits of all ages are social and need companionship. Although some sources say that after five years of age, many domestic rabbits want to spend more time interacting with their humans.

Do They Need Other Rabbits for Company?

three longhair bunnies in a field of flowers with a pile of easter eggs

Generally speaking, they do.

Although our house rabbits love us and enjoy spending time with us, there are some social behaviours that only another bunny can provide, for example:

  • Grooming
  • Constant companionship
  • Entertainment on demand
  • Spontaneous play
  • Exercise

Just as we all love our pets, sometimes we need another person to talk to. It’s the same for your bunny.

Can Human Company Be Enough for a Rabbit?

It’s possible, especially if you have a rabbit that doesn’t like other rabbits. However, it’s not enough to say ‘hi’ once a day and leave your bunny in the hutch with a few toys.

If you have a solo bunny, then that rabbit’s social needs fall to you to fulfil. You’ll need to play with your bunny, help them to get enough exercise, and spend a lot of time in their company so that they don’t feel lonely. But there are ways to do this without turning your own life upside down.

First, make your bunny part of family life. If you or someone from your household is home most of the time, spend that time in eyesight of your rabbit. You could:

  • Bring your rabbit into your home office (either running free or in a puppy pen)
  • Move your rabbit’s run close while you work in the garden
  • Rabbit proof a part of your garden where you can both spend time together

In addition, consider moving your rabbit enclosure into a part of the house where people spend a lot of time, such as the living room. Allow them to run free or in a puppy pen while the family gathers for evening activities.

Problems a Solo Rabbit May Suffer

two rabbits eating kale

Rabbits are social. They’re also quite clever. Loneliness and boredom are no fun, but, more importantly, they can cause serious behavioural and even physical problems for your rabbit.


A lonely rabbit is a bored rabbit. And a bored rabbit can become destructive. That means chewing.

Chewing is a natural behaviour, and necessary to keep a bunny’s ever-growing teeth in check. However, a bored or lonely bunny may chew its hutch, its toys, or other things that it shouldn’t. In addition to destroying the chewed objects, it could also harm your bunny.

Fur Pulling and Repetitive Behaviours

A bored or lonely rabbit may also over-groom itself, pull out its own hair, or engage in other repetitive, and potentially harmful behaviours.

Stress-Related Illness

Loneliness is a major cause of stress, for us as well as for rabbits. Being prey animals, rabbits are already a bit high strung by nature. Being lonely on top of it can cause stress-related health problems, including GI stasis.

Can Rabbits Live With Guinea Pigs?

You’ll find a variety of opinions on this, and a variety of arguments on both sides.

On one hand, you’ll find a lot of anecdotes about rabbits and guinea pigs living peacefully with one another. They can’t impregnate one another, and they both have similar housing requirements.

On the other hand, there are some potential problems.

Rabbits and guinea pigs have different dietary needs, for one. Guinea pigs need a diet that’s fortified with Vitamin C. Such a diet will make a rabbit ill.

Also, rabbits, cats, and dogs can carry Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is a primary cause of potentially serious respiratory disease in guinea pigs.

Also, even though they can coexist peacefully, rabbit communication and guinea pig communication are very different.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, rabbits can easily cause serious harm to a guinea pig with their teeth, claws, and powerful hind legs. Some rabbits are aggressive, but even rough play can injure a guinea pig. And this potential can stress the guinea pig out on a day-to-day basis.

For this reason, most experts recommend against housing rabbits and guinea pigs together.

Can Rabbits Live With Other Animals?

Yes, but it depends on the rabbit, and it depends on the other animals.


Some dogs can be great pals with some rabbits.

But a lot depends on the dog, and a lot depends on the rabbit.

A large, vigorous dog can inadvertently harm a rabbit, especially if the dog likes to play rough. Likewise, certain dog breeds, such as some terriers, were raised to kill small prey like rabbits. This would be a dangerous combination. And of course rabbits can die of fright, so proper introductions are important, no matter how gentle the dog is.

In general, it’s easiest to introduce babies to babies. Whatever the situation, though, there are some tips for a more successful introduction.

First, make sure your dog is well trained, especially with recall. You need to know that they will come immediately when you call, even when they’re investigating something as interesting as a rabbit. Also, until you can predict both animals’ reactions, keep your dog on a lead.

As with bunny bonding, first introductions should be through a barrier, such as a fence or the wall of a run. Your rabbit should have a place to hide during this time, in case they start to feel stressed.

Introductions should take place in neutral territory, as both dogs and rabbits can be territorial.

Keep sessions short, to avoid stressing your bunny. And always be aware of both animals’ behaviour. Be prepared to stop if your dog becomes overexcited, for example, or if your bunny becomes stressed.

And never, ever leave them unattended together.


It’s strange to think that a predator like a cat can be friends with a prey animal like a rabbit. But it happens. Just like with a dog, though, it’s important to consider the personalities of both animals. Setting is important, too.

A cat with a high prey drive, for example, a cat that is always bringing you “presents” of birds, lizards, and so forth, may not be the best choice to introduce to your rabbit.

Interestingly, though, rabbits can be very territorial and very aggressive. And as often as not, the rabbit may come out on top in a fight.

Read more about introducing cats and rabbits in our guide.


You’ll find opinions on both sides of this equation. In general, though, we believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.

First, chickens and rabbits each carry diseases that can infect the other. Chickens carry salmonella, for example, which can be very serious for a rabbit. Rabbits, on the other hand, carry pasteurellosis, which can cause cholera in chickens. There are numerous other examples.

Also, chickens and rabbits have different dietary requirements. They will, however, enjoy one another’s food. This can cause nutritional deficiencies for both animals.

Finally, rabbits and chickens have different temperaments. Moreover, conflicts are likely to result in injuries to both animals.

Final Thoughts

Bunnies are social animals, and, with a few rare exceptions, they need rabbit company. However, if properly and carefully introduced, some rabbits can bond with other animals, such as cats and dogs. You can also keep a solo rabbit, as long as you provide several hours per day of social interaction.

In any case, our bunnies want to be part of family life, whether indoors or out.

Have you kept a single bunny? Do you have any advice for our readers? We’d love to hear about it!

5 thoughts on “Can Rabbits Live Alone? Do They Need Company to Be Happy?”

  1. I have a girl bunny who was a baby when I got her. I also have a rescue boy bunny. After slow introduction through runs they seemed to get in great. Unfortunately first attempt for them to meet he attacked her and bit her ear to the point she was bleeding. We have tried a few times but he made it clear he’s a solitary bunny. However she likes human company. I think she thinks she’s a dog to be honest. Unfortunately what my male has been through he don’t trust humans either and us not keen to interact with me either. He was abused and abandoned with 7 other rabbits so he’s had to fight for food and he’s scared of open spaces. I do interact with him everyday but even after 3 months he’s not keen. It’s an ongoing process that I keep trying and hopefully he will realise I’m not going to hurt him. My girl bunny loves to sit on my shoulder and look out of the window. They have polar opposite personalities but they both make me laugh everyday.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have two male rabbits yet due to their fighting they now live separately. They’ve been neutered but any type of re bonding has been unsuccessful and it’s been about 8 months now.
    Really not sure where to go from here as one’s outside and one inside with us.
    I feel so guilty for their loneliness!

  3. Hi Jess

    We are looking after my granddaughter’s lovely pet rabbit during the winter so she hasn’t got to worry about it, especially being so busy at school. Hopefully, she will allow us to keep him ! They gave him a home because his mother had been ill treating him, and he was apparently spending most of his time in a sort of trench to keep away from her although she was still biting his ears.

    He has had an awful life and I want to make his remaining life the best I can. He is very tame and doesn’t bite (only Christmas tree lights when he gets a chance). We have bought him a 5′ wide, two storey hutch and a 7′ x 4′ run for the garden and a really good house to go in it with three tunnels. However, as probably expected, after he has had a bit of a run through the tunnels he just disappears into the house not to be seen really until we take him back to his hutch.

    The hutch has carpet tiles for warmth and we’ve noticed he is chewing the edge of one. Do you think I should try and get him a companion? I wonder if he would be more active if he had another bunny for company.

    Your advice is welcome. Thank you.

    Babs Osborne

  4. I’m interested in your advice for our situation whereby we had 2 dwarf lops who were together from birth. Aged nearly 8, Daisy sadly passed a month ago, leaving her sister Posie, who seems ok on her own. We try to keep her company and have put a cuddly dwarf lop cuddly toy in with her at night. We’re wondering about whether to get another bunny to keep her company, but we’re worried that it would be too stressful for her. Thoughts? Thanks 🙏

  5. Hi i did have two bunnies bonded together since 2019 but on tue 07 03 23 one of my rabbits kringle had to be put to sleep he was the boy and now my other rabbit Daisy a girl is left out side in shed she seems ok i had to bring kringle home to lay in shed for a short time so she could see he had died but now i wonder if she will get lonely i really don’t want to get another rabbit and go through all that heartbreak again is there anything you can suggest with regards barbara


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Jess Faraday

Jess Faraday is a longtime bunny lover and a mom to a succession of rescue rabbits. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience and hopes that it will make the world a better place for bunnies

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