The rabbit and its basic requirements for breeding
When considering which pet to buy, it is always important to study the basic information in the professional literature and the requirements for breeding a particular type of pet animal in advance. This includes not only housing, feeding and care requirements, but also other requirements.
In the case of a rabbit, it should be noted that the average life expectancy of the rabbit under appropriate conditions is medium. During this time it will be necessary to take care of the rabbit correctly. Experience tells us that it is advisable to think carefully with children. They need to be told that they will have to take care of the rabbit day after day under the supervision of their parents. Often, however, there is a gradual decline in the interest of children in the purchased rabbit and care will thus remain mostly / only on the parents.
Average rabbit life expectancy
Rabbits in domestic breeding live 6-8 years on average. Rabbits who have lived up to ten years are also known, but these are really isolated cases. The life of a rabbit in pet breeds can be significantly extended by better care, but genetic equipment plays a crucial role - longevity is regularly inherited in rabbits. Breeding for longevity is one of the current targets for the best rabbit breeders, because having a long-term animal in the care and breeding is always beneficial.
Rabbits are commonly used reproductively until the 4th year, but with good health and milk production, they can be used up to the 5th - 6 years, although a lower number of offspring in the litter and more care of breeders must be expected. Males are reproductively used in breeding until the breeder deems appropriate, usually also up to about 5 to 6 years (excellent breeding males).
Records in the age of rabbits
The current record holder is a dwarf wild-colored rabbit, known as Mick. This rabbit from the USA celebrated his 16th birthday on February 9, 2019 and was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living rabbit on Earth. But he is not the oldest rabbit ever.In this regard, a flopsy rabbit from Tasmania, which was captured in the wild in 1964 and lived to be approximately age 19 years old holds the record!
Taking care of an old rabbit
For a rabbit 5 years old and older, it can be said that it belongs to the age category of seniors. Such rabbits need more individual and regular care than younger rabbits. Older (geriatric) rabbits are much more susceptible to disease and the convalescence period is relatively prolonged, often due to emerging complications. An older rabbit does not require as much movement and exercise as the young rabbit, but just regular, at least short-term movement can be recommended for it because of the beneficial effect on bowel movement. Rabbit seniors are more susceptible to predators or encephalitozoonosis, especially if they are exposed to certain stressors (e.g. summer temperatures, drafts, etc.).
Fig. 1: Prevalence of cheyletiellosis is a common problem in older rabbits
Insufficient fur care, prolonged molting associated with reduced nutritional condition, and walking problems also occur more frequently. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the care of older rabbits in an effort to make them as comfortable as possible.
Fig. 2: In older rabbits, molting is longer