A couple who bought four sex-crazed rabbits in 2008 have found themselves with over 160 furry creatures hopping around their home. The couple failed to neuter the rabbits, leading to their incessant breeding. The RSPCA had to rescue the animals after a pet-sitter found a dead rabbit in the couple’s garage and another one eating its own faeces. Although the owners have not been prosecuted, the RSPCA rescued the creatures and health checked them before rehoming them. The RSPCA said the couple simply “allowed the situation to escalate”.
There was no indication that the rabbits were bred for commercial purposes, but the couple’s failure to neuter them led to the overwhelming scale of rabbit breeding. Footage by the RSPCA showed the rabbits crammed into cages or hopping on the dirty garage floor. The majority of the rescued rabbits have been rehomed, although a few are still waiting for adoption.
Leicester-based rabbits contributed to up to 48% of the increase in rabbits arriving at RSPCA centers in 2021. The charity’s rabbit welfare expert, Dr Jane Tyson, highlighted the importance of suitable care, including correct rabbit sexing and neutering. Anyone unsure of the sex of their rabbits should seek advice from their veterinary doctor and discuss neutering options.
Such a case is an alarming reminder for all hare-lovers of the importance of neutering rabbits. Female rabbits tend to mature sexually when they turn 3-6 months old, while male rabbits may mature sexually by as early as three months. Rabbits reach sexual maturity faster than cats or dogs and require special care. In addition, rabbits are social animals but may suffer from territorial issues when forced to share their living space with unrelated rabbits. It is important for rabbit owners to seek veterinary help and encourage good hygiene around the home.