You may assume that giving your bunny the freedom to roam your garden is a kindness, but it may be the worst thing you could do (if you haven’t yet researched deadly plants for rabbits). Your bun may nibble on an aloe leaf over a couple of days and develop diarrhea. Before you know it, their glucose levels drop drastically, and they pass away.
Do rabbits die easily?
Rabbits die easily as they are very sensitive animals that quickly become stressed. Rabbits have fragile digestive systems, and when they become ill, it can be fatal. Heart attacks, loud noises, and eating avocado are among a few things that cause a rabbit to die.
If you are looking into adopting a floppy-eared friend but are worried about their fragile and sensitive nature, this guide will explain why rabbits die easily and how to avoid sudden death in rabbits (and ensure your bunny bestie keeps you company for a long time).
How Long Do Domesticated Rabbits Live?
Domesticated rabbits live between 8 to 12 years, unlike wild rabbits that often only live up until 2 years old (if they are lucky).
For example, the Netherland Dwarf rabbit lives between 7 to 10 years (they are prone to dental issues).
Domestic bunnies live longer because they have a lot more going for them, such as:
Protection From Predators
Your bun has a safe place to live, such as a cage or hutch, or maybe they live indoors with you. This means they are protected from weather elements and potential predators such as owls, cats, and eagles.
On the other hand, wild rabbits have to contend with all the elements, and they have to try and outrun or hide in burrows from predators.
Visits to the Vet
If your bun falls ill, you take them to the vet as soon as possible to get treatment.
Yearly checkups and vaccinations also increase the lifespan of domesticated bunnies.
If a wild rabbit falls ill or gets injured, that’s it for them. There’s no one to help unless they live in a zoo.
Domesticated bunnies have a balanced diet of hay, leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Rabbit pellets are also a great source of nutrition, which plays a massive role in the longevity of domestic bunnies.
A food shortage can cause wild rabbits to die prematurely.
How Do Most Pet Rabbits Die?
Let’s take a look at some reasons that cause death in rabbits:
Although rabbits look cute and cuddly, they need to be treated gently. Carrying them around unnecessarily and pushing them around in strollers (for example) is not ideal.
Little or young children (under the age of 12) can be rough when handling rabbits, which leads to the bunny being injured.
Children can also be loud, which results in high levels of stress in your bun or even a heart attack. If a child suddenly loses their grip on a rabbit they are carrying around, the fall could break the rabbit’s neck or backbone (which is fragile).
Sudden loud sounds such as a clap of thunder, a dog barking, a child screaming, or a chair falling over can cause your bun to go into shock and die from fright.
Unfortunately, a bunny that has had a fright doesn’t always die immediately and may suffer over a couple of days.
Dogs, cats, and local birds of prey kill rabbits if they have the opportunity. It’s very common for bunny owners to lose their rabbits when roaming outdoors, as a bird of prey (such as a hawk) sweeps in and snatches the bunny out of the garden.
Pet dogs and cats also scare rabbits, causing them to go into shock and die.
Eating Poisonous Plants
If you allow your bun to roam your garden or your home, make sure that no dangerous plants are growing in your yard or indoor pots, such as:
- Aloe vera
- Potato plant leaves
- Succulent plants such as agave
Ingesting poisonous plants can lead to severe diarrhea and death.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a lethal form of viral hepatitis, which is highly contagious in rabbits and attacks their internal organs.
RHD is spread from rabbit to rabbit, through the air, and from insect bites.
This hemorrhagic disease causes the following symptoms:
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of appetite
- Nose bleeds
- Muscle spasms
Flystrike is a terrible condition that causes sudden death in rabbits.
If your bunny’s cage isn’t cleaned regularly, the urine attracts flies that lay eggs in your bunny’s soiled fur. Once the larvae hatch, they eat into your rabbit’s flesh and cause death within a few hours.
What Are the Signs of a Rabbit Dying?
Realizing your beloved bunny is dying is a heart-breaking experience and causes pain for your family. Here are a few obvious signs to look out for:
- Your bun suddenly becomes weak and lethargic.
- Your bun has no interest in eating their food (or their favorite treats).
- Your bun walks a few steps and then falls over.
- Your bun experiences seizures.
- Your bun is wheezing or struggling to breathe normally.
- Your bun develops ongoing diarrhea or abnormal fecal pellets (small, irregular shaped, and strung together).
- Your bun may scream from pain or discomfort.
- Your bun’s behavior will change dramatically (they may stop grooming themselves and stop responding to affection).
- Your bun’s urine may contain blood.
- Your bun is unable to move parts of its body.
Quick Tips on How to Take Care of Your Pet Rabbit
Let’s take a look at a few quick tips on how to take good care of your bunny:
- Provide your bun with a healthy and balanced diet that includes hay, fresh leafy greens, good-quality pellets, and clean drinking water.
- Provide your bun with a large enclosure or a safe, bunny-proof space (indoors or outdoors) where they can move around and exercise.
- Provide your bun with a litter box, and potty train them. Make sure to empty the litter box at least once a day to keep your bun’s living space hygienic.
- Provide your bun with puzzles and toys that provide stimulation and allow them to chew (this is great for filing down their teeth).
My Last Bunny Thoughts
When choosing a bunny as a pet, it’s essential to ensure you do all your research first. Pet rabbits are very sensitive animals, and even healthy rabbits die easily.
Making sure you avoid factors that increase the risk of death, such as loud, sudden noises, and allowing children to carry your bun around will make a difference.
Even if you notice the signs that your bun is dying you can act quickly enough by getting them the veterinary attention they need. There is still hope that you may still have a chance to save them.