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Ask A Vet: Can Rabbits Die From Loneliness? (Updated Guide)

Can Rabbits Die From Loneliness

Nothing beats the bond between two bunnies.

But sometimes, one has to leave the other behind…

And sadly, for good.

So you can’t help but wonder…

“Can my bunny live on by themselves?”

Continue reading to find learn:

  • If rabbits can die from loneliness.
  • Proven tips to help bunnies recover.
  • 3 interesting facts about rabbits dying from loneliness.
  • And so much more…

Can rabbits die from loneliness?

Rabbits can die of loneliness. They can get lonely if they have no companions. Or if their friend passed away. This can also happen when they aren’t physically and mentally stimulated.

Rabbits dying from loneliness: 3 facts

#1: Lack of companion

Rabbits Die From Depression Due To Lack Of Companion

Bunnies are social animals. 

So if a rabbit doesn’t have a friend, they get sad.

That’s why rabbit breeders usually sell them in pairs.

But how do you know if your rabbit feels lonely?

Here are some signs you should look for:

  • Withdrawn.
  • Destructive.
  • Hyperactive.
  • Attention-seeking.
  • Reduced or increased appetite.

If you ignore these symptoms, your rabbit could die in the long run.

“So how can we prevent this?”

You could introduce your furry buddy to another rabbit. 

This process is called bonding.

Sometimes, two bunnies can instantly warm up to each other.

In other cases, bonding may take time…

Usually for several weeks or even months.

Ideally, you should pair your bunny with one from the opposite sex. 

And if possible, a bunny about the same size and age.

But before that, see to it that the new bunny is healthy.

How can you ensure this?

First, you should get them vaccinated against contagious diseases.

It is also important to neuter both rabbits.


This removes the hormones that make them territorial. 

So, spayed rabbits are less likely to fight.

Apart from that, VCA Hospitals also say that neutering has other health benefits, such as:

  • Lower risks of cancer.
  • Better litter box habits.
  • Prevention of unwanted pregnancies.

Fun fact: Rabbits can give birth to 8-12 kits every month. 

One research found that males can mate with females immediately after giving birth. This means one bunny can produce up to 144 rabbits a year.

After that, you can keep the rabbits side-by-side in separate cages.

Just make sure they can still see, smell, and hear each other.

This helps them get to know one another from a distance.

After a while, you could swap their toys, beddings, or litter trays. 

This will make them familiar with each other’s scent.

“What can we do next?”

When they become more comfortable, they can meet in a neutral area…

Preferably for about 10-20 minutes per session.

You can set hiding places and other distractions in the space, such as:

It’s best to repeat this process daily. 

You can also gradually increase the time per session until they become friends.

Note: It is normal for bunnies to chase or nip each other at first. But separate them immediately if one rabbit looks stressed. Or the other starts a fight.

“How will you know if they’re successfully bonded?”

Here are a few signs to know if you’re rabbits are getting along:

  • Sitting together.
  • Grooming each other.

For other helpful tips about rabbit bonding, watch this video:

Read also: Can rabbits die from depression

#2: Death of a bonded partner

Bonding two rabbits can sometimes be long and tiresome.

But once they form a connection…

Your bunnies become inseparable.

So what happens if they lose their partner?

Normally, they’ll get depressed. 

Here are some signs you should keep an eye on:

  • Pacing.
  • Isolation.
  • Low appetite.
  • Hunched posture.
  • Lethargy or lack of energy.

Over time, this could affect their mental and physical health.

“How can we help them recover?”

You can help your rabbit process their buddy’s death.

I recommend that you leave their friend’s body in the cage for a while. 

And let your rabbit spend time with them.

It will help your bunny realize that their bondmate isn’t coming back.

In a way, your furry friend can say goodbye to their deceased partner. 

After a few days, you can also start introducing your bunny to a new companion.

But take it slowly. And make sure you follow the bonding process carefully.

On top of this, you should also shower your bunny with more love and attention.

You can do this by:

  • Proper feeding.
  • Playing with your rabbits.
  • Spending time with them.

You might also be interested in: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits

#3: Not enough stimulation

While a fellow rabbit is the best buddy for your cuddly friend…

They can also form strong bonds with humans.

So if they don’t have a bunny companion…

You have to go the extra mile to keep them occupied.

How can you do this?

One word: playtime.

Bunnies are smart animals that need stimulation.

So, you can get them fun things to play with such as:

  • Rattles.
  • Chew toys.
  • Scratchpads.

Besides this, you should also make sure they get enough exercise.

According to PDSA, bunnies should get at least 3 hours daily to stay healthy.

So you can get them a playpen that is big enough to play around.

To be precise, they need at least 32 ft2 (2.9 m2) of space.

Alternatively, they can leave their cage and run around the house.

You could also include other fun activities in their playtime like:

  • Digging.
  • Chasing.
  • Foraging.

Warning: Don’t forget to rabbit-proof your place first!

You can keep them out of danger by:

  • Removing any harmful objects.
  • Keeping electrical wires out of reach.