Native to Europe and Africa, you can now find rabbits in different environments on almost all continents except Antarctica, where there is a lack of vegetation and low temperatures. They live in different natural habitats, with most of the rabbit population residing in North America.
Whether you’re in the United States or elsewhere, there could be a chance that you live near rabbits. Domesticated rabbits can live indoors or in secure accommodation outdoors.
On the other hand, wild rabbits can live everywhere; in forests, mountains, meadows, deserts, wetlands, grasslands, agricultural sites, cities, and the woods.
All rabbits, wild or domesticated, love to live in groups because they are social animals.
Let’s explore and highlight rabbits’ daily habitats in the wild and at home.
Where do wild rabbits live?
Wild rabbits live in woodlands, forests, wetlands, grasslands, and meadows. There are many species of rabbit, including European and cottontail.
All the species are classified as members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha.
Rabbits live in large groups called colonies or nests. They mainly live in groups because they are social animals and it enhances their survival. Some rabbits live in burrows, while others live in open fields. But all of them have one thing in common; they often live in areas where a food source is close by.
Wild rabbits don’t often live longer, with a life expectancy of fewer than two years. Some factors that hinder them from living longer include:
- Shortage of food and water
- Harsh weather conditions
- Predators such as feral cats, wild dogs, and birds.
Most rabbit species are ground dwellers that live in burrows. Burrows are underground tunnels that rabbits use as hiding and resting places.
A series of underground burrows is called a “warren.” Warrens include rooms for nesting and sleeping. Their size, depth, and complexity depend on the location, soil type, and the number of rabbits sheltering there. They are usually around four to six inches in diameter.
In addition, the burrows might have multiple entrances for a quick escape. The entrances may be hard to spot since they’re hidden among the grass and other plantations.
When digging the tunnels, rabbits spread the soil across ground surfaces rather than leaving a pile that could attract their predators’ attention.
Females do the most digging because they have to build burrows while considering where they will raise their young bunnies. On the other hand, male rabbits defend the burrow’s territories.
Some rabbits don’t live in underground burrows, such as cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits. They create shallow, above-ground shelters called “forms” with thick and dense cover.
Forms are created underneath brushes or other foliage for cover. They are mostly used during winter and fall when vegetation is lacking and when the grass is not tall enough to hide the rabbits from predators.
Cottontail rabbits can also be found in yards, parks, playgrounds, and office parks.
Where do domestic rabbits live?
Domesticated rabbits are also known as “pet rabbits.” Understanding where they can live can help you give your pet rabbit the best life.
The average lifespan of a rabbit kept indoors is twice the average lifespan of an outdoor rabbit.
Indoor rabbits are less exposed to the dangers of predators, diseases, harsh weather conditions, loud noises, parasites, and pesticides, which increase their lifespan. Domestic rabbits can live between 8-12 years, depending on their environment and breed.
Rabbits can successfully live indoors as long as there’s stimulation, less stress, and a safe environment.
Indoor rabbits should be kept safe from other pets, plants that could be poisonous, electric wires, and anything else that could be dangerous. They need as much space as outdoor rabbits.
Where can indoor rabbits live?
- Free-range: This is when the rabbits are allowed to roam freely in most, if not all, of the house. Rabbits that roam freely should be trained to use a litter box. You should always keep an eye on them because they can be quite destructive.
- In a specific bunny-proofed room: Putting a rabbit in a particular room can prevent your rabbit from having access to dangerous things or destroying your belongings. This room should have a solid floor that is easy to clean. Rabbits can slip on smooth floors such as tiles.
- In an enclosure: You can allow rabbits to roam freely like cats or dogs, but this option doesn’t work for everyone. Rabbits can live in some types of enclosure, like a hutch or cage. The enclosure should have plenty of room to eat, sleep, hide, play, pee or poop, run, hop, and jump.
Rabbits can live outdoors throughout the year. Ideally, the enclosure should be dry, clean, and have natural light and ventilation for winter.
Options for outdoor housing include:
A rabbit hutch should have the following requirements:
- Draught-free and weatherproof
- Secure from predators
- Easy to clean
- Above the ground
- Have plenty of space- twice as wide as your bunny
- Strategically placed away from direct sunlight and wind
- Not isolated from regular contact with humans and other rabbits
You can add pillows, blankets, and towels to their hutches to keep them warm, comfortable, and busy. Hutches should not have wire on the floor since it’s not good for rabbits’ paws.
Pet pen or children’s playpen
If you want to provide your rabbits with a larger living space than their hutch, you can consider a pet pen or a children’s playpen. It can add a bit more shelter for rabbits.
Where do baby rabbits live?
Baby rabbits live in the underground tunnels created by their mother. A pregnant rabbit starts to build her nest 27 days or so into the pregnancy.
She can build the nest in the community warren or choose to dig an entirely separate burrow where she will give birth and leave her kids.
When a mother gives birth, she buries or blocks the opening of the den to make it more difficult for predators to spot. They even prefer to stay away so as not to draw attention to the young rabbits.
Sometimes, a pregnant rabbit can build multiple nests for the following reasons:
- She may not want to reuse a previous nest
- She may want to have options so that she can pick the right one when the time comes
- She may abandon a nest if she feels it’s insecure.
Except for non-burrowing rabbits such as the Cottontail, rabbits live in underground burrows known as warrens.
They use these warrens for protection, sleeping, and raising kittens.
Cottontails live above the ground. They often prefer to live in open fields, farms, and open spaces far from populated places.
Domestic rabbits can either live inside a house or outdoors in a hutch. Wherever it is that you choose to keep your rabbit, it should be secure and have enough space.
Whether in the wild or at home, it’s important to remember that rabbits are social animals and playful. Therefore, they need each other to survive and thrive.