In the wild, most rabbits live an average of one to two years. Domesticated rabbits have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years
Some of the main factors that affect the lifespan of a pet rabbit include its diet, environment, and breed. Out of the over 305 breeds of domestic rabbits, some of the most popular breeds include:
- The Holland Lop with a lifespan of 8 to 10 years;
- The Mini Lop with a lifespan of 6 to 9 years;
- The Lionhead rabbit with a lifespan of 7 to 9 years;
- The French Lop with a lifespan of 6 to 8 years;
- The Netherland Dwarf with a lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
The oldest rabbit on record was an Australian rabbit (Flopsy) that lived to be just under 19 years of age (almost 129 years if we convert bunny age to human years).
What affects rabbit life expectancy?
The lifespan of a rabbit depends on its breed, genetics, and environment. If you decide to get a pet rabbit, pay attention to the following factors that may limit its life expectancy:
- Breed. Some rabbit breeds have a longer life expectancy compared to other breeds. The Continental Giant Rabbit has an average life expectancy of 4 to 7 years. The Holland Lop has an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
- Diet. As with humans, rabbits benefit from a balanced diet. Rabbits that are underweight or overweight are more likely to develop health problems that may shorten their life.
- Indoor hazards. Indoor rabbits are exposed to many of the same hazards as other pets. Choking on small objects, chewing through electrical cords, and eating poisonous houseplants can lead to death or a medical emergency.
- Threats from other animals. Rabbits are prey to many animals, including raccoons, hawks, foxes, cats, and dogs. Even indoor rabbits can suffer injuries or death from other pets, such as dogs and cats.
- Mental health. Rabbits require mental stimulation. Socialization, exercise, and challenging activities can help keep them from getting bored, lonely, or depressed. Poor mental health increases the risk of destructive behavior and early death.
- Physical health. Rabbits need regular exercise to stay healthy and keep from getting fat. Exercise is also great for your rabbit’s mental health. Most experts recommend that rabbits receive at least three hours of exercise per day.
- Exposure to disease and illness. The most common illnesses in captive rabbits include gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, uterine tumors, head tilt, and dental diseases. Regular veterinary checkups can help detect these issues before they pose a serious health risk and take years off your rabbit’s life.
How to extend your rabbit’s lifespan?
You may increase the life expectancy of your pet rabbit by ensuring a proper diet and habitat. Use the following tips to ensure that your rabbit enjoys a long, healthy life:
- Maintain a clean, healthy environment. Damp, humid environments may increase the risk of respiratory tract infections in rabbits. These infections may cause sneezing and difficulty breathing. Rabbits may also develop pneumonia, which is a severe infection that reaches the lower airways. Maintain a humidity level of 50% and a temperature of 55-degrees to 70-degrees Fahrenheit to create a comfortable habitat.
- Give your rabbit hay, chew toys, or wood blocks. Rabbits need to chew on things to keep their teeth from becoming overgrown. Overgrown molars may create abscesses, infections, and other dental issues that can shorten the life of a rabbit.
- Ensure physical and mental stimulation. Regular exercising is good for both. You can even teach your pet rabbit some tricks!
- Pay attention to head tilt. Head tilt is a condition where your rabbit tilts its head to one side frequently. This often occurs due to an ear infection but may also come from a brain parasite. A veterinarian can provide effective treatment for either issue if it is detected early enough.
- Take your rabbit to the vet twice per year. Bi-annual veterinary checkups decrease the risk of detecting a life-threatening illness too late. While healthy, young rabbits may only need annual checkups, but rabbits over the age of five should have at least two vet visits per year.
- Get your female rabbit spayed. About 70% of un-spayed female rabbits develop uterine cancer in their lifetime. Removing the uterus and ovaries at five to six months of age eliminates the risk of uterine cancer.