Carrying on with our series of ‘Beginner’s Guides’ blogs, today I thought I’d have a look at one of the Uk’s best-loved pets: the rabbit!

Sadly, rabbits are also one of the UK’s most neglected pets for many reasons. Firstly, they’re often bought at the insistence of children, who quickly become bored with them. Then, they’re left on their own, in hutches that are far too small for them. Although they’re still fed and cleaned out, they don’t have the exercise and company that they need.

Before you even decide to buy a rabbit, you should be aware of a number of things. Rabbits are naturally sociable animals, and so need to preferably be kept with another rabbit. It helps to introduce rabbits to each other when they’re young, otherwise they may fight. Also, it’s no ideal to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together as the rabbit may bully or injure the guinea pig, and they have different dietary needs.

Your rabbit’s environment is incredibly important, and you should bear in mind that a hutch will not be enough room. Rabbits really need a raised hutch, to stop it becoming damp, with a large run attached to it. At The Pet Express, we have a great range of rabbit hutches and runs, so you’re sure to find something that will match your budget and your available space. What would be best for your rabbits is a hutch with an attached run, with a tunnel leading to a much larger run.

Inside the run and hutch, your rabbits need shelter from the sun and rain, which you can create by using a tarpaulin over part of it, or perhaps creating a wooden shelter. They will also want to escape to these if they feel afraid. You will also want to give them plenty of things to do such as tunnels, wood to chew on, and toys to play with. If you have space, a sandbox or somewhere for your rabbit to dig would be great.

When it comes to bedding, your rabbits need natural materials that they can eat, such as hay or dust-free straw. This bedding needs to be replaced regularly, and the inside of the hutch should be cleaned often. Your rabbits will also need places to go to the toilet, and this can use hay or shredded paper. Again, this needs to be replaces and cleaned often.

Finally, in regards to feeding, grass or hay is the most important food for your rabbits. This is why a garden run is great, as your rabbits can constantly graze on grass. Otherwise, ensure that hay is always available. Complete rabbit foods are a good addition, and you should feed them washed, leafy foods every day. Carrots or other root vegetables should only be given as a treat.

Now you have everything you need to give your rabbits a healthy, safe home. As long as they’re handled and given plenty of attention every day, they will live long and happy lives. Rabbits are wonderful, inquisitive and intelligent animals, and with the right care they make incredibly rewarding pets.