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Discussion Starter #1
My girlfriend ran out and bought a rabbit without asking me... There was a lot of yelling involved and it makes me concerned about the long term, but for now... We have a rabbit?

I've read some people let their rats and cats or dogs play together. I've never read about rats playing with rabbits. I would assume a rabbit is less likely to hurt a rat than a cat or dog but for all I know Monty Python had it right.

Our rats are 7 months old and have never seen another animal before (except maybe in the lobby at the vet). Would it be worth trying to introduce them and eventually try mutual playtime, or should they always be kept separated?

I searched "rabbit" and only seemed to get threads about animal cruelty and rants that seemed totally unrelated to rabbits, hence my own thread.
 

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Short answer, No. Keep them away from your bun especially if he/she is unfixed. Unfixed rabbits can be very unpredictable and moody. They have a strong kick and fast bite and I would not doubt they could kill a rat without issue. Also certain illnesses can be passed between the two that might not be so bad for one but could be horrible for the other. Even if yours is fixed I would not advise a playdate. I'm sure some people have introduced without issue but it is a gamble and better to not risk it imo. Rabbits I often tell people are a lot like cats. A mix of princess, cuddle bug, loyal and grump. And with any risky cross species intro I would only do it if you know both animals very very well. Otherwise you just don't know where it will go.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok thanks for your input. I hope the risk of communicable disease is low, we are in a small apartment and can only keep them so far apart even if they don't play together
 

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I had three rabbits who hated rodents, and would go out of their way, when outside playing, to attack (and sometimes kill) mice and chipmunks. Now my 18 pound girl is my first house rabbit, and she's in the same room as the rats. So during playtime they can get /close/ to one another, but never close enough to come into contact. They could seriously injure each other if allowed contact. But, so long as you keep them from getting too close, they should all be fine. Be warned, though, my rats are fascinated by my rabbit and I have to be quick to keep Isaac, my massive blue and white boy, from finding his way into her cage (he tries, trust me). And then Sasha, my baby rat boy, has a serious predator drive, and has tried to lunge at the rabbit through several sets of cage bars before.

Lita- I agree on the cat bit! If I had to choose an animal that rabbits reminded me most of, I'd always say cat. My girl thinks she's the queen of the house! She's pretty territorial, but hasn't shown any aggression towards the rats before, just occasional curiosity.
 

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Monty Python somewhat had it right, yep.

I'll echo those advising you against interaction.

While not all animals read the textbooks or keep up on the memos, it's just high risk with little to no benefit in sight.

I alternate free time between my houserabbits and my rats.

One of my rat girls is very interested in and curious about my bunnies. I make sure she can't get within reach.

A rat could badly injure a bunny, as rabbits often form nasty abscesses in their wounds (think surgery often required), and a bunny could kill a rat quite easily and swiftly, even by accident.

If you guys are new to rabbits, this is a good site to start poking around--some of the articles are better than others, and some need updating, but it's generally a gold mine of info:

http://www.morfz.com/rabrefs.html

This one is helpful for figuring out whether your bunny is about to tip you for good service, or whether you might want to sleep with one eye open:

http://language.rabbitspeak.com/

And, well, after you have the bunny a while, you'll really relate to this site, and their book:


http://www.disapprovingrabbits.com/
 

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Both of my rabbits are fixed and they're still unpredictable and moody. My boy gets very upset when he even SEES a rat running around and runs back and forth in his xpen and tosses his ears and is very edgy. When the rats get near the bars of his house, he boxes at them hard, trying to hit them, and throws his ears back and growls pretty savagely lol. I'm not sure why he hates them so much, but I would never ever let the rats in the same room with him, even if I was watching carefully, because all it takes is one second for a rat to climb through the bars, and that could be the end of a rat, or at least a very serious injury.

My girl on the other hand doesn't seem to mind as much. She's even let the rats in her litter box as they rummage around the hay and climb on her, but she loses her patience very quickly. She gets annoyed because she is a lop, so when she perks her ears forward, it covers her line of sight. So as she's trying to focus on the rats in the cage with ear ears perked forward, she can't see them at all. Then a rat will suddenly sniff her or climb on her, and she wouldn't have suspected it, and she jumps like she's started, and then after that's happened a couple times, she gets annoyed and starts punching at them.

Either way, I never let the rats anywhere near the rabbits AT ALL because I seriously beleive they would be killed or very seriously injured.

That sucks she got a new pet (rabbits are a 10+ year commitment by the way) without asking you. I really hope she did reasearch on how to care for a rabbit properly. You should definitely consider getting it spayed or neutered as that helps with health and hormonal issues (if it's a baby, in a few months, you're going to have a grouchy, bitey, territorial, pee spraying animal soon). Go to http://www.Rabbit.org/ for great information on keeping a rabbit indoors properly. It does not have to live like a dog or cat free-roam in your house, but a very large cage is necessary. They are similar to rats and do better if not kept alone, but they can be very hard to find a bondmate for that will like each other.

Good luck!
 

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My rabbit Buster and one of my rats Georgie accidentally met the other night, when Buster (house rabbit) decided to join me on the sofa whilst I had Georgie out. They had a good sniff of each other but then lost interest. I had hold of Georgie the whole time though and wouldn't have let him any closer, Buster is a bit of a wimp and Georgie tends to get a little bit over friendly with his teeth ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for the advice and links! She did some research before buying her but probably not as much as she should have, although she's been doing the research now. She named the rabbit Lucy; Lucy is a fully-grown rescue she got from a local petshop (an independently owned shop and I think much more honest than a Petco or Petsmart). I'll post some pictures later. (A note to mods, although a lot of this thread is obviously going to cover the rabbit, my concern is only about how this affects our rats, so I'd very much like to keep it in the rat-related area if that's okay).

It does not have to live like a dog or cat free-roam in your house, but a very large cage is necessary.
She got a cage but it's not nearly big enough to leave the rabbit in it all the time. The plan is to let her free roam for a good portion of the day, when the rats aren't getting their playtime.

However, I am concerned about odors and how that might affect the rats. Could they become scared or uncomfortable if the house starts to smell like rabbit? The rabbit doesn't seem to be litter trained right now; if she's pooping and peeing on the same carpet the rats use, how will that affect them?

edit: Lucy has apparently decided the carpet directly in front of the rats' cage is to be her bathroom :(
 

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The odors might concern the rats at first but they should eventually get used to the smell when they have figured out it isn't dangerous. My boys were afraid of the cat smell when Jimo would sneak into our bedroom (where they are kept) but now they do not even seem to notice it at all. So if they act spooked about it, it should be short-lived. Of course, I assume the rats/rabbits would not be able to bother each other while free roaming because if the rabbit is being kept in the same room I wouldn't be surprised if they tried their absolute best to get to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok thanks, that's good to know.

Of course, I assume the rats/rabbits would not be able to bother each other while free roaming because if the rabbit is being kept in the same room I wouldn't be surprised if they tried their absolute best to get to her.
I don't think I understood this sentence. Their cages will be in adjacent rooms but they'll be exposed to each others' cages when freeranging. Obviously we won't let them freerange at the same time.
 

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We've had the rats in the same room as three of our rabbits and so far they are more curious about then scared. And the house probubly smells a lot like rabbit...we have 10 so...
 

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Oh and I wouldn't let the bun free range a without supervision until fixed. Two of our girls are in a pen downstairs and there is a hole in the wall. They are right snots unfixed. But they are super adorable and have their sweet moments so eventually you forgive them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Lucy is in her cage and the boys are romping around now; they seem a bit more cautious but mostly not too scared. Jesse ran past me to check out Lucy when I peeked into her room, and they looked curiously at each other for a few moments. She didn't seem irritated in any way, but when she took a step backward Jesse jumped and ran out of the room and hid under the bed; he was fine a few moments later.

Here is Lucy and the cage I am increasingly concerned is too small to keep her in even overnight.
 

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I just thought I would quickly add my two cents but honestly it all depends on your animals and their personalities. I have a 6 year old spayed lionhead rabbit (shes a bossy one!) and my female rat Zelda is OBSESSED with bunny. Like literally obsessed. I keep all the animals in the living room in their cages (we have a pretty small house haha) and zelda does everything she can to try to see bunny. Ive actually caught zelda in bunny's cage poking around (because the ratties can fit through her cage bars). Bunny doesnt mind though. Zelda likes trying to 'groom' her forehead and its really cute. I only let them see eachother for a minutre or two though because I dont trust bunny completely...although my bunny is an oddball she always loved playing with my moms cat when I was younger and still living at moms house haha.

I think to be on the safe side, let them sniff eachother if you want with close supervision (ie: dont let go of your ratty!) but it really just depends on the animals. My other rats could care less about bunny..its just zelda's weird obsession..but zelda is just a loveable, friendly and sociable type of rat too. When ever I let bunny out and the girls are still in their cages, zelda will sit at the door lowest level to the ground just to watch bunny play (i can tell shes just begging to come out too!) haha. Shes is so silly!

Here I added a picture as to what I mean by zelda being obsessed Haha. And you can see bunny is looking at me like "this thing is obnoxious" haha.
naughty zelda.jpg
 

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Thank you everyone for the advice and links! She did some research before buying her but probably not as much as she should have, although she's been doing the research now. She named the rabbit Lucy; Lucy is a fully-grown rescue she got from a local petshop (an independently owned shop and I think much more honest than a Petco or Petsmart). I'll post some pictures later. (A note to mods, although a lot of this thread is obviously going to cover the rabbit, my concern is only about how this affects our rats, so I'd very much like to keep it in the rat-related area if that's okay).


She got a cage but it's not nearly big enough to leave the rabbit in it all the time. The plan is to let her free roam for a good portion of the day, when the rats aren't getting their playtime.

However, I am concerned about odors and how that might affect the rats. Could they become scared or uncomfortable if the house starts to smell like rabbit? The rabbit doesn't seem to be litter trained right now; if she's pooping and peeing on the same carpet the rats use, how will that affect them?

edit: Lucy has apparently decided the carpet directly in front of the rats' cage is to be her bathroom :(
Bunnies, especially intact animals, tend to like to mark the boundaries of their territory--hence why she's using the spot right in front of your rat cage.

Put a litter pan there and she will soon get the idea to use the litter pan in that spot.

As for cages, you can build a good huge fairly inexpensive cage from cubes and coroplast (or tile or protected wood for the floor.)

There isn't a pet store cage sold I'd consider adequate for a bunny, actually.

One thing you do have to watch now is the spacing of the grids--the ones made nowadays are usually too far apart to be safe, you want the smaller gauge grids.

Not sure if this search link will work, so just google "C & C cages" for more ideas and info:

https://www.google.com/search?q=c&c+cages&espv=2&biw=1093&bih=534&tbm=isch&imgil=IzzIEiaowhIOlM%3A%3B-70ABIE7F9psWM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.ratforum.com%252Fshowthread.php%253F27566-Will-C-amp-C-cages-with-tops-work-for-Rats&source=iu&pf=m&fir=IzzIEiaowhIOlM%3A%2C-70ABIE7F9psWM%2C_&usg=__mVhkcAXO-DuVNvMG5IPDCkspB58=&dpr=1.25&ved=0CDUQyjc&ei=bt02VMm2CYuOyASH6oLYCQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=IzzIEiaowhIOlM%3A;-70ABIE7F9psWM;http%3A%2F%2Fi67.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fh311%2Fbosworth0%2FHomade%2520cages%2FIM002334.jpg;http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ratforum.com%2Fshowthread.php%3F27566-Will-C-amp-C-cages-with-tops-work-for-Rats;369;370

If you could find grid spacing small enough, it could make a super rat cage--still looking for that, myself.

All that said, think more horizontal floor space rather than vertical, as with rats.

Figure out which corner the bun likes to use for potty, and put the litter pan there--bunnies generally make up their own minds about such things, and don't ask much for human feedback on the matter ;-)

As far as bunny diseases that might affect your rats--pasteurella (snuffles) is a big issue with rabbits, not sure if that can cross to rats. Bunnies also often have coccidia in their stool, if they've been exposed at a bunny mill or pet store, etc.

There is another protozoal parasite called E. Cuniculi that can be passed in the urine, that can be devastating over the long-term, doesn't have a cure, nor even great management or treatment at this time, but as far as I know, it's species-specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My girlfriend's mother (who doesn't live with us but pays her rent as she's going through college) said she was not allowed to own a rabbit, so she took the rabbit back and got a kitten, despite me making it quite clear I wasn't okay with getting a cat...

Jesse doesn't seem to mind the cat at all and ran to the edge of the cage to see when we had the cat nearby; Nibbles however is totally terrified and won't come out of the cage, even though the cat hasn't been in the room since then :(
 

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My girlfriend's mother (who doesn't live with us but pays her rent as she's going through college) said she was not allowed to own a rabbit, so she took the rabbit back and got a kitten, despite me making it quite clear I wasn't okay with getting a cat...

Jesse doesn't seem to mind the cat at all and ran to the edge of the cage to see when we had the cat nearby; Nibbles however is totally terrified and won't come out of the cage, even though the cat hasn't been in the room since then :(
Wow, poor rabbit. What will happen to him now?

By the way, he is a Hotot, or Hotot mix, and that means he is at risk of megacolon, which is more manageable in rabbits than in rats, apparently, from what I'm reading on rats, but is still a lifelong special needs consideration, if he does have it or ends up acquiring it.

Sounds like there is some tension and miscommunication, on pet ownership in your household. Sorry.
 
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