Pet rabbits should always be sold in pairs to stop them from feeling lonely and depressed, vets have warned.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling on the government to put an end to rabbits being sold individually, after new research discovered 42% of the sociable creatures are sold on their own — and, as a result, regularly suffer from loneliness.
While rabbits are the UK's third most popular pet (particularly with children), sad research found many of them are living in total isolation, often in a small enclosures.
The BVA said that "ministers must encourage owners to buy rabbits in compatible pairs or groups in pet vending legislation," reports the Daily Mail. The charity's president, Daniella Dos Santos, explained that it is a "big concern" that rabbits in the UK live on their own without any other animal contact.
"Whether they are outside or inside, pet rabbits are highly sociable animals and benefit from buddying up with a suitable companion, so it's a big concern that so many in the UK still live alone.
"It's important to acknowledge the significance of companionship and adequate housing space to keep rabbits happy and healthy."
Some of the ways you can identify loneliness in a rabbit include...
- Sleeping more than usual
- Hiding away
- Pulling out their own fur
Sociable rabbits need interaction and attention. Growing up in burrows with their close-knit families, they are used to being raised in large groups. With pet shops selling singular rabbits, many of the fluffy animals have little to no interaction throughout the day.
Much like other pets, rabbits too love to spend time with their owners. Whether it's running around on a grassy patch or being fed their favourite snack, it's vital these small creatures get the care and attention they need.
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