Rabbits/2nd bunny

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Seymour
Seymour  
QUESTION: I have a 9 month old dwarf Hotot male rabbit (Seymour) (neutered).
I want to ask if I should get another rabbit as a companion, if I should, should it be another male? female? same breed? same age? Do rabbits prefer to have another rabbit around?

ANSWER: Chris,

Seymour is quite handsome and I'm sure he'll have no trouble finding a fur-iend. :)
There's a lot to bonding with a second bunny, so I'll try and be as concise as possible.

First things first, seek out a rescue. There are plenty of bunnies that need a home and a mate, and all bunnies love having friends to cuddle and play with. A reputable rescue will help with what I like to call bunny speed dating. Ideally, you'll bring Seymour to the rescue where he'll be placed in a small penned area, possibly with a small pile of hay. One by one, potential suitors will be placed in to see the reaction. You should make sure to try females, bonding same-sex pairs is much more difficult.

The signs you'll look for:
Absolutely nothing aggressive - no boxing, chasing, mounting, grunting (or other weird noises they make when upset)... you'll know pretty quickly if they REALLY don't like each other.
Curiosity - sniffing, and not in an assertive way (you know your bunny, so you'll know his behavior), but it should be gentle, exploratory, and maybe with some climbing under or over to get a full sniff.
Head bowing/grooming - your bunnies will sort out who is the dominant one. Since Seymour is a single bun right now, it's hard to tell which he'll be, but one of the two will bow their head, and the other should groom (or act like they want to groom) the head, ears, eyes, etc.
Relaxed posture - it could be something as simple as facing the other bun and grooming without seeming like he's nervous or anxious, or you could see a sphinx/bunny loaf, or it could be another behavior like sharing hay, and if they REALLY like each other you'll see feet kicked out and relaxing.

The bonding process isn't always a one-and-done type of thing. Be prepared to visit a few times, and don't get discouraged. Sometimes it might be that he's just stressed from the car ride or isn't "feeling" like dating. Bunnies can be moody.

Age, breed, and even size aren't factors to a bunny. They love who they love. Don't be surprised if Seymour falls for a flemish giant, a netherland dwarf, a lop, or a lion head, and if he goes for a cougar, don't judge him. :) You'll want to ask the rescue about any specific needs for the bunny he picks.

I think this covers the basics. Please let me know if you have any other questions as you start your research into where Seymour's friend will come from. Best of luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: what would be the best way to find a rescue around my area?
also, another topic. We (my girlfriend and I) Keep Seymour in our second bedroom that is carpeted. He gets to roam free in that bedroom at night and then roam free through the house when we are awake and home. But sometimes at night he pulls up carpet. Any tips on that I don't want him to swallow a piece of carpet or anything. Do I need to get a bigger cage because the one I have for him now is way too small which is why I let him roam free in the second bedroom at night.

Answer
Chris,

Use google - search terms like "rabbit rescue in ______" should net you a decent result. Don't be discouraged if the nearest rescue is a ways away. Keep in mind that pet stores selling rabbits usually get them from mills, and these rabbits are more prone to health issues as they get older (I'm speaking from personal experience on that one).

As for the carpet, bunnies are destructive when they are bored. Rotate toys so that bunny thinks he's getting something new every so often. Having a mate should also slow that down. Your cage should have enough room for a litter box, an area for hay/food, some type of shelter, and space to lay out with feet kicked out. If your cage doesn't allow for this, then yes, you need a bigger one.

Hope this helps!

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Christine Whetstone

Expertise

I am not an expert on wild rabbits, only domesticated rabbits. I can answer questions regarding habitats, behavior, diet, health, pairing/bonding - pretty much anything having to do with owning a rabbit.

Experience

I've owned indoor rabbits for the last 10 years. During that time I've gained experience in areas like bonding exercises, understanding behavior, warning signs of sick bunnies, how to handle more serious illnesses (GI stasis, abscesses, eye problems, etc.) and more. It's rare that I come across an inquiry that I do not already know the answer to.

Organizations
House Rabbit Society, supporter of local rabbit rescues

Publications
http://ilovemyhouserabbit.com/

Education/Credentials
Personal experience beats the pants off of a degree, in my opinion.

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