Can Rabbits Share a Litter Box? The Official Guide!
You might be wondering, “Can rabbits share litter boxes?” If you own a rabbit, there’s a likely chance you also own a litter box. There are some things you need to know if you’re wondering whether or not your rabbits can share a litter box. Rabbits are highly territorial animals and will fight to defend their living space from any intruders. It’s important to introduce your new rabbit slowly and in a neutral environment so as not to scare the first bunny away before they even get a chance to get used to their new friend.
In this article, we officially answer the topic question.
The fact is, rabbits are territorial creatures and in some ways, similar to humans. Sharing space, food, and even a bathroom litter box can be uncomfortable at first. It can even lead to bloody fights. Fortunately, it’s indeed possible for rabbits to share litter boxes. However, the key here is first to allow them to bond and there are very specific ways to do so.
Below is a very concise and comprehensive guide on getting started with introducing a new friend to your rabbit.
Rabbits first need to bond
The best socialization for rabbits is bonding: introduce them to one another, and get them used to each other’s presence. The most important part of that is letting them touch each other. There’s no real set number of days it takes for your rabbit to bond. You just have to pray that eventually, they do, and even then it is not guaranteed. It just takes time and patience to make sure they have bonded.
A lot of the time, they match their personalities with each other. If one rabbit is really outgoing and socializing others, then they’ll often match that behavior with a more outgoing rabbit. Sometimes, you’ll have two rabbits that are both timid and withdrawn which can sometimes lead to them not bonding at all due to some sort of fear or dislike for each other. Bonding is absolutely necessary in order for the relationship to work out well and be healthy too. So, it’s important.
But on a side note, let’s talk about why do we need them to bond? And also what things you need to consider when deciding on getting rabbits to share litter boxes.
Rabbits are social animals. They instinctively yearn for companionship.
Many people get a rabbit for one reason: company. Others wish to make a friend for their new rabbit or vice versa. There are many different ways to introduce 2 rabbits together, but the ultimate goal should be simple: companionship. Rabbits can overcome most obstacles in their relationship, which makes them one of the best pets for families who are looking for a pet that can provide affection as well as fun and entertainment.
Even though rabbits are territorial, once they find that special friend, they may become inseparable.
Because of this, you can’t just force such a bond to occur. It doesn’t work that way. Companionship is tested and earned through a slow and grueling process of patience and support.
Rabbits are natively wild animals and so their very first instinct is to survive and stay cautious when signs of danger arrive.
Rabbits are also very intelligent, social creatures that bond easily with other animals as well as humans. They enjoy playing games, learning tricks, and even working and competing with them. rabbits can learn tricks just like dogs can.
When seeing another unfamiliar rabbit nearby, their territorial instincts kick in. Naturally, rabbits would be aggressive to other rabbits that are strangers to them. Fortunately, those rabbits who are well trained and have lived in your home for a while will realize that there’s only so much space inside their enclosure and have no issues sharing the litter box.
Clearly, this must be one of the most obvious considerations. When introducing a new bunny to the family, you must consider if the size of the litter box is large enough to fit two rabbits comfortably.
Imagine you as an owner, bringing home many rabbit pets. But now you just realized that the litter box only physically fits one rabbit at a time. This could end up pretty bad especially since rabbits are known to fight other rabbits.
A large enough litter box will be able to accommodate two rabbits without straining the actual area that the litter box will occupy. Having a big enough litter box will almost certainly help both rabbits with their own space.
How to identify the best pairs of rabbits that will bond
Rabbits naturally need the companionship of other rabbits.
In all honesty, it is an added benefit that rabbits are extremely social animals, and they love being around animals of the same type. This could make things like bonding must faster and less dangerous.
And like most humans, rabbits can become lonely. Rabbits will often live in groups of the same type of animals. This is because rabbits enjoy the company of other rabbits, and they are often able to build a strong bond very quickly.
Pairing a male rabbit with a female rabbit
This is the easiest and perhaps most popular method of pairing 2 stranger rabbits together. The likelihood of these pairs becoming bonded is extremely high. Most of the time, bonding takes between 24 hours and 1 week. This is because rabbits are very fast learners, and they will be extremely willing to accept any new things in their environment.
Also, there is a huge benefit of pairing these types of pairs together; sometimes, the female rabbit will become pregnant.
Pairing a male rabbit with a male rabbit
This may be the worst out of all the pairings. Not only is there a possibility that the male rabbit may not accept the other male rabbit, but it also gives an increase in tension.
Spaying and neutering are known for lowering aggression between these creatures. It’s still very possible for both rabbits to get along. It may just take a bit longer.
Pairing a female rabbit with a female rabbit
Putting 2 female rabbits into one room really isn’t as bad as male to male. Fortunately, though, the tension isn’t as high as males to males and this really boils down to the dominance level of the females. Again spayed and neutered animals tend to be less aggressive.
Pairing two baby rabbits
This may perhaps be the best method of pairing 2 rabbits together. Rabbits that have known each other since early ages will grow acquainted with each other when they are older. However, as they become older, they will need to be spayed since they will start to instinctively learn about space and territories.
Pairing two adult rabbits
If both adult rabbits are spayed and neutered, there’s a likely chance that these two will get along very well. It’s important to understand that neither bunny should be dominant over the other. This means that they must have as much equal space and resources. Letting the rabbits take time to know each other is very important.
Pairing a baby rabbit with an adult rabbit
I wouldn’t recommend this method only because there’s a strong chance that the adult rabbit may end up hurting the baby rabbit. Unless you are constantly monitoring the two for days and weeks, it’s best to avoid this situation.
Why spay and neuter your rabbits?
Studies have found that not only are there clear health benefits in getting your rabbits spayed and neutered, but it also lowers a rabbit’s desire to mark territories as well as their aggression.
This not only helps your rabbits live longer and happier lives but also allows them to get along better with their other furry friends.
There are a lot of other benefits. But I believe those were the most important ones to go over and understand.
How to prepare your rabbits to share a litter box
The key here is how you start the process of introducing your rabbits. But before starting, you’ll need to do a few things.
Give them ample time to get used to each other. Once they are comfortable, it is safe enough for you to introduce the idea of sharing the litter box.
Step 1: Allow them to see each other, but not touch each other
Create 2 different enclosures. Place them side by side and keep each rabbit in separate enclosures. Allow them time to notice each other and even recognize, smell, hear and talk. Just don’t yet let them touch. That’s what the separate enclosures are for. To stop them from getting physical.
Step 2: Make sure you have 2 of everything
Provide each rabbit with their own food bowls, water, litter boxes, toys, bedding, etc. Once they bond you can start to slowly separate one item at a time and allow your rabbits to coup and make decisions to share.
For example, as they accomplish the ability to share the same water crock after removing one, then move onto leaving only one food bowl, then one litter box, and so on.
Step 3: Keep a broom nearby
In preparation before physically putting them together, you’ll need a soft tool that can brush them apart. It’s just a safety precaution so let’s hope you never have to use it.
Step 4: Prepare an area with a lot of space for your rabbits to roam
This is in preparation for your rabbit’s introduction and dates. It can be outside. What we want to see happen is the two rabbits being curious about each other while outside and playing.
Introducing the rabbits together
Pay close attention to the way your rabbits behave towards each other. Most experts have come up with describing these introductions as dates. Yes, you will have to closely monitor multiple dates through a span of days to weeks in the process of introducing the two.
Remember to makes sure BOTH your rabbits (doesn’t matter what gender) are spayed and neutered. This will allow a much easier transition.
Rule 1: The first date
It’s important not to stress your rabbits. Allow your two bunnies to roam free in the large area you’ve prepared. Watch carefully how their behaviors change. You can tell a great deal about whether they will like each other or not at the beginning.
Rule 2: Dates only in neutral territory
Find places in your home or outside to have your rabbits date. And do this regularly. The more dates they go on, the better familiar they will be with each other. Do NOT set up dates where the two of them are in one of their living cages. That’s currently considered sacred grounds and introducing a stranger rabbit into another rabbit’s home might not end well.
Rule 3: Take it slow, don’t rush the bonding
These sessions can last as long as necessary but start off short. Maybe 15 minutes in the beginning and gradually increase the time all the while monitoring behavior and interaction. You don’t have to give them these dating sessions every day.
You can even date them multiple times a day. Just try to make it on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be every day.
Rule 4: Go in and play with both for a little bit
You can actually play with both of them to break the ice. Sit down between them and pet them while allowing them to see each other. If you feel it’s safe, and after some time, you can even place both on your lap together and pet them together.
At any moment keep your eye on them. This should only be done after several sessions and not during the early stages. Placing 2 unfamiliar rabbits together too soon may increase their stress levels and could end up disastrous.
What behavior you may find when 2 rabbits begin to bond
- They will chase each other.
- They will mount each other.
- They will nip on each other.
- They will copy each other.
- They will groom each other.
- They will lay down next to each other.
- They will thump together.
- How long does the bonding process last
There’s really no telling how long for sure. But you should be confident enough if you were to see the behaviors above becoming regular on their dates. Rabbits will create these bonds with other rabbits and oftentimes, if dated frequently, you should see a lot of progress after 2 to 3 weeks.
When can your rabbits move in together?
After such time, it might be safe to go ahead and combine their two living spaces together.
This should only be after both rabbits have fully bonded during their dates and neutral zones, a process that takes a few weeks.
Now that you have combined the two homes, you’ll notice that you’ll have 2 of everything; two food bowls, two water bowls, two litter boxes, etc.
Within the next few days, start removing items that they have from the combined home. If there are two bowls of food, remove one. Then remove one of the water bowls. Continue this process gradually every day or two. You should be able to leave behind one litter box at this point.
What to do when rabbits fight
It isn’t possible to always predict how rabbits will act among each other. Even pairs that are labeled as perfect partners can abruptly explode in fights leaving each other bloody, bitten, and bruised.
Much of the time this can be due to a territorial issue. One technique used to help them would be to separate the homes once again, give both rabbits back their own separate items (food bowls, water bowls, litter boxes, etc), but this time, swap their items.
The theory is that if this is a territorial issue, forcing the two bunnies to use each other’s items (which have each other’s scent and urine markings on them) will help familiarize both rabbits with each other’s scent.
Other than that, continue to date the two again cycling through the process until you see progress and bonding behaviors between the two rabbits.
If all else fails and there’s just no way you can think of getting these two rabbits to get along, then you might have to call a professional.
How do I tell when bonding is a success?
- They eat from the same bowl.
- They drink from the same water.
- They regularly groom each other.
- They will play together and share toys.
- They will share the same litter box.
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