Rabbits are active animals so they need to be able to hop, run, jump, dig, stand fully upright on their back legs, and stretch out fully when lying down. They need regular and frequent opportunities to exercise every day to stay fit and healthy, as well as an appropriate place to go to the toilet.
Rabbits must be able to hide from things that scare them and, as they are a prey species, they need to be able to hide in a secure place, away from the sight and smell of predators such as foxes, cats, dogs, ferrets and birds of prey. They are intelligent; if they are bored and do not have enough to do, rabbits may suffer.
As they are inquisitive animals, if there are hazards within their environment they may easily injure themselves, so their home should be safe, secure and free from hazards.
Living in a draughty, damp, hot, poorly ventilated or dirty environment can cause rabbits to suffer and become ill. Providing housing that meets rabbits’ complex environmental and behavioural needs is an important part of responsible ownership. A traditional small hutch must not be the sole and permanent home of any rabbit as it will not meet his/her need for exercise and stimulation and could cause health and behaviour problems.
You should provide both a large escape-proof living enclosure where rabbits can exercise and behave normally and a secure main shelter where your rabbits feel safe and can rest together if they chose to. Make sure that all areas of your rabbits’ home are well ventilated, dry and draught-free and that they are protected from predators and extremes of weather and temperature.
Rabbits must have constant access to additional safe hiding places where they can escape if they feel afraid, as well as platforms from which they can scan their environment for threats.