Can domestic rabbits survive in the wild?

Can domestic rabbits survive in the wild since they are prone to sickness and diseases?

When your rabbit escapes from the house or garden, and you are probably wondering if your rabbit may survive or would be happier in the wild than at home.

Can domestic rabbits survive in the wild? Domestic rabbits cannot survive in the wild. Because domestic rabbits cannot escape wild predators, they are culled as pests and pet rabbits need the help of a vet to remain healthy. 

Can domestic rabbits survive in the wild?

Rabbits that are taken in and grow living as a pet are not equipped with wild survival instincts. When you release a pet rabbit into the wild, you expose them to an untimely death.

Domestic rabbits released into the wild are likely to have the two primary instincts to survive in the wild. They would behave like prey animals and avoid any contact with any suspected predators; they would also build a burrow and sleep in it.

Wild rabbits have a life expectancy of just a year, while domestic rabbits has a life expectancy of eight years. But, a domestic rabbit is not able to just transition from a comfortable life into wildlife.

Why domestic rabbits can not survive in the wild?

They can not not survive in the wild. This is because several issues affect them in the wild that are not experienced when they were domesticated. These factors include:

  • Harsh climatic conditions
  • Lack of enough food
  • Hunted for food
  • Diseases
  • Human Interaction

When the rabbit escapes from home since the outdoor looks exciting and out of curiosity drives them to leave, it is imperative to find them as soon as possible. Since the wild is full of dangers that could cause painful deaths to them.

Domesticated rabbits cannot escape wild predators

They provide an opportunity for predators; as they would not run away quickly. These rabbits do not understand the danger. They used to have a steady food supply that comes in different varieties. They could have pellets, fresh hay, fruits, and vegetables. Thus they would need to graze on grass all day.

When they are feeding, it gives an excellent opportunity for the predators to attract the rabbit since they lack the skill to feed and still be on the lookout.

Domestic rabbits have fur that is the breed for aesthetics; thus, they are easily seen and can be monitored by predators. Whereas, the wild rabbits have hair that is camouflaged with the seasons naturally and enables them to hide from predators as they change color. Therefore has a higher chance at survival than a domesticated rabbit.

The domesticated rabbit has dulled survival instincts such that it may notice the predator but still get caught since it lacks the reflexes to quickly runoff. The fact that the rabbits may drainage is not final; most importantly, where are they likely going to hide. The possible outcome is that they would panic, rendering them vulnerable to the predator.

Pet rabbits are culled as pests

Pet rabbits are used to a particular way of life where they get fresh fruits and vegetables. This leads to them having specific preferences for their food. It would tempt them to hunt for such fresh foods that they like. This leads them to invade people’s farms as well as the vegetable gardens then cause the farm owners to take action to protect their farms.

As a result, the rabbits are likely to end up dead since they will be treated as pests that destroy farm produce. They may get poisoned or get shot. The rabbit that’s trusted with the humans is still intact. They may approach humans since, to them, all humans are good. But sadly, this is not the case, and they could end up being food.

Domesticated rabbits have no traffic sense

Domesticated rabbits spend their life indoors, and when taken out, they are protected from the danger that may pose a threat to them.

Outdoor dangers to the rabbits include motor vehicles. For domesticated rabbits that have not been trained on how to cross the road, they are likely to meet their untimely deaths on the road.

They do not understand weather

The rabbits domesticated are protected from extreme weather conditions but this is not the case when they are in the wild. 

During a rainy season, the pet rabbit is prone to contracting pneumonia due to the cold. As much as the rabbit may dig a warren, it would still not be protected from the rain. 

Pet rabbits are often indoors and are exposed to artificial light and altered temperatures; thus, their fur falls off, leaving them vulnerable during cold seasons. This is different for the wild rabbits since they can shed off hair when it is hot and can develop a coat of fur when it is cold to keep them warm. 

Domestic rabbit need the help of a vet to remain healthy

As much as your rabbit may be vaccinated against a specific disease, there is a wide range of other illnesses that impact also wild rabbits. Aside from the contagious diseases, their general health is a critical example the rabbits need their teeth to be taken care of to prevent them from overgrowing and becoming painful, which could be fatal.

When two domesticated rabbits breed mate, their offspring may interbreed and produce their offspring. When there are no similar rabbits around, these offspring may interbreed, leading to a lot of health issues and deformities among their family.

Is releasing domestic rabbits into the wild legal?

There are different laws in different countries that are used to protect animals around the world. Hence if you release your rabbit to go free, you may be breaking the law depending on the country you come from.

These laws are used for population control. When the rabbits are not unsprayed and unneutered, they breed, leading to a high population. If there are just a few predators, they are likely going to be overpopulated.

This could affect the local ecosystem, and these rabbits get into gardens or farms feed on the groceries leading to a shortage of groceries and high growth in numbers. Predators may be attracted to the area due to prey; this could lead to altering of wildlife population.

This leads to financial expenditure and higher taxes since authorities will have to control the population. Disease outbreaks also need to be controlled, whereby sick rabbits are treated.

One may obtain a legal release into the wild, but this remains inadvisable since pet rabbits are not well trained to survive in the wild and not like wild rabbits.

How to prevent a pet rabbit from escaping

Rabbits are curious, and due to their curiosity, they may decide to explore the environment. This could cause them to runoff from your home. Rabbits are not able to survive in the wild. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that your rabbit does not escape.

Some measures to ensure they don’t escape are:

  • Have their carrier as well as the outdoor area with treats to prevent them from wandering off too far.
  • Ensure their carrier is well closed and ventilated adequately with no holes that allow escape.
  • Have bonding time with them so that they don’t feel like they need affection and seek it elsewhere 
  • Ensure you be a well-fenced perimeter anchored by bricks since rabbits can dig through and escape
  • Make sure the exercise area is far away from the exit points if they attempt to escape retrieving them quickly but calmly.

Most domesticated rabbits that run off have a strong sense of smell and are longing for security; thus, they can find their way back home. It is advisable to leave food and water just in case the rabbit survived the wild.

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