A Single or a Pair?

by Nancy J. LaRoche

Some people believe a rabbit will be friendlier with humans if the rabbit remains single. What this actually amounts to is that a single rabbit will be terribly lonely most of the time when his person isn’t around, and will therefore seem friendly when someone finally appears.

It is my opinion that this is a cruel and self-serving attitude, which doesn’t accomplish what the human thinks it will. Rabbits have a deep and urgent desire to have a rabbit-partner with whom to share their lives. People who think their rabbit is happy as a single only see the rabbit when they are present. They don’t see the lonely, depressed rabbit when he is alone – which is the greater part of each day.

People who have had a friendly, single rabbit and get that rabbit a mate sometimes report the rabbit isn’t friendly with them any more. Invariably, when questioned, I find that the person comes home, sees the rabbits grooming each other and decides not to bother them! It is the person who inadvertently withdraws, not the rabbit!

In reality, pairing rabbits and giving each lots of personal attention may actually make both of them friendlier with people. A shy rabbit may take courage from a mate who enjoys his people. And not infrequently, rabbits will be a little jealous of the attention being given a mate and will push their way in, so they will get attention, too.

Before deciding whether to keep a rabbit single or not, ask yourself who benefits from your decision and who suffers from it. In my opinion, you will not benefit by keeping a rabbit single and you may suffer the earlier loss of that rabbit. Without question, your rabbit will suffer. But both you and your rabbits benefit if your rabbit has a rabbit partner.