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Behaviour and personality of pet rabbits and their interactions with their owners
  1. S. M. Mullan, BVMS, DWEL, MRCVS1 and
  2. D. C. J. Main, BVetMed, PhD, CertVR, DWEL, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU


The behaviour and personality of 102 pet rabbits and their interactions with their owners were assessed in their home environment. Information was obtained by interviews with the owner and by direct observation, and the owners were asked to describe the personality of their rabbit. A 10-minute assessment of the rabbit's behaviour in its normal environment was then carried out. Owners who were confident in handling their rabbit handled them more frequently and rabbits that were handled more frequently struggled less when they were being handled. Rabbits observed with a companion spent the largest proportion of their time engaged in social behaviour, and rabbits observed out of a hutch spent significantly more time grazing, hopping and playing. Owners used a wide range of adjectives to describe their rabbits' personalities with the most common term being ‘friendly’.

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