Losing a rabbit is one of the most worrying experiences that you’ll endure. Nobody likes the idea of their pet being lost and alone. Unfortunately, rabbits can be master escapologists. The curious nature of a rabbit sometimes results in unsanctioned explorations outside of the home.
Do not rely on your rabbit having a good sense of direction. Instead, appeal to her emotional memories. Play music that she is familiar with and lay down her favorite food. This will attract your pet’s attention and draw her home.
Never assume that your rabbit will find her own way home. A rabbit has a less finely honed sense of direction than other animals. Search for your missing pet, leaving her hutch open for a possible return. The sooner you find your pet, the better. Domesticated rabbits won’t survive in the wild.
My Rabbit Has Run Away
A rabbit escaping home is always a worrying time. There are several reasons why this happens:
- Curious. Rabbits live for new experiences. Your pet will always wonder what lies beyond a garden fence. This means that she will constantly look for an escape route.
- Frightened. If a rabbit is spooked, she’ll flee from potential danger without a second thought.
- Unhappy. Rabbits are sensitive animals. If you are not meeting her needs, she will likely run away. Stress, boredom, or loneliness could result in a runaway rabbit.
How Did My Rabbit Escape?
- Your rabbit may have chewed through the wire on her hutch door. If the hutch lacks entertainment and she does not get enough exercise, this becomes likelier.
- Once the rabbit chews a hole in her hutch, she can slip through it. Rabbits can squeeze through spaces that look impossibly small to the human eye.
- The next obstacle is a garden fence. A strong, healthy rabbit can clear a low wooden fence from a standing jump. Rabbits are also natural diggers. Your pet may dig under the fence, gradually tunneling her way through,
- If you have a chain-link fence, this will be even easier for your pet to scale. She will climb the fence, using the holes as leverage, or chew through it.
If your rabbit runs away, stay calm. The truth is, she is unlikely to have got far. In fact, there is every chance that she is still in your yard. Rabbits are mischievous. Your pet may find it hilarious to watch you search for her.
If your rabbit has left your property, it’s a more serious concern. Domesticated rabbits are not equipped to survive in the wild. With luck, she will quickly return of her own accord. You should attempt to recover your pet as well, though.
Will My Lost Rabbit Return Home?
Once a rabbit escapes, the reality of her situation quickly sets in. Your pet will realize that she is not equipped for life in the wild. The outside world is a terrifying place for a domesticated rabbit.
The rabbit will not necessarily know her way home by direction. A rabbit’s memory is strong when it comes to essential matters. Your pet will be afraid, though. She is unlikely to be taking in her surroundings while hopping.
This is especially likely if your rabbit was spooked and ran away. She may cover a great deal of ground before she calms down and stops. As a result, she will not have any idea where she is. With no familiar landmarks, she’ll grow confused.
Thankfully, this is comparatively unlikely. When a rabbit enters new, uncharted territory, she’ll usually proceed with caution. Rabbits do not like to feel exposed. Your rabbit will make small, considered movements, taking in her surroundings.
This means that you’ll likely find a pet rabbit close to your home. She may be hiding under a car for shelter. Alternatively, she may approach greenery for food and familiarity. Check the first few blocks around your home first.
To tempt your rabbit into returning home, appeal to her senses of smell and hearing. Rabbits rely on these senses more than eyesight. Play familiar music and use food. Place a trail of treats for your rabbit to follow.
These will forge a memory in your rabbit’s mind. She will recognize familiar smells and sounds, and follow them. This will create an emotional connection in the mind of your rabbit. She will quickly seek the comfort of the familiar.
The only exception to this rule is if your rabbit was severely mistreated. This will mean that the emotional connection to your home is negative. Your rabbit will run in the opposite direction.
How Long Should I Wait for My Rabbit Before Starting to Search?
Never rely exclusively on your rabbit making her own way home. She may do so. Leave somebody at home to greet her in case this happens. It’s more likely that she’ll struggle to find her own way, though.
Stay calm, but start searching for your pet almost immediately. Start by checking your yard, and even in your house. The rabbit may be hiding in plain sight.
If you’re adamant that your pet has left the premises, launch an immediate search campaign. Paw Maw offers a handy diagram that summarizes what you should do in this instance.
- Search high and low in your local area. Look under cars. Check bushes and shrubs. Ask your neighbors to check yards, garages, and sheds. Investigate local parks, fields, and prairies.
- If you have a second, bonded rabbit, add this animal to the search party. The rabbit will need to be housed in a carrier. The scent of a friend will attract your missing pet’s attention, though.
- Let the world know about your missing rabbit. Put up flyers and post on social media. The more people know about your missing pet, the more people will look.
- Call all local vet surgeries and animal shelters. A stranger does not know which vet you are registered with. If a rabbit is found, somebody may just drop it at the closest surgery.
Above all, do not give up hope. Rabbits can sometimes return home after days. Always leave your pet’s hutch open at night, and keep it well stocked with food and water.
Also, remember the hours that rabbits prefer to keep. Your pet will be most active at dawn until mid-morning, then early evening until late at night. This is when she is most likely to return. At other times, she’ll likely be sleeping.
Can a Baby Rabbit Find Its Way Home?
A baby rabbit is less likely to find her own way home. This is because she hasn’t yet forged an emotional bond with her owners. This, in turn, means she is unlikely to respond to smells or sounds.
It takes time to earn the trust and love of a rabbit. A young pet will likely still view you with suspicion. You should take particular effort to keep baby rabbits secure.
Baby rabbits are also particularly vulnerable. A young pet that escapes is even less equipped for the outside world than an adult. This makes her chances of survival even slimmer.
Do not assume that a rabbit’s mother will find her babies, either. This bond is not strong in rabbits. A mother may not even notice that her baby is missing.
What Dangers Will a Lost Rabbit Face?
Much depends on where you live. If you live in the city, busy streets pose many dangers to a rabbit. In the countryside, there is no shortage of wild predators. Some hazards are universal. These include:
- Roads and Traffic. All rabbits lack road sense. Domesticated pets will struggle even more. Your rabbit will never have crossed a road before. She will not understand the dangers of cars.
- Predators. Rural territories tend to have more predators. Snakes, coyotes, and wild cats may all seek to snack on a lost rabbit. Even cities host foxes and similar dangers, though.
- Hunger and Thirst. Does your rabbit understand how to sustain herself? Your pet may have grown used to being fed. She may struggle to find safe food and water sources.
- Weather. Rabbits are largely immune to the cold. If it is particular freezing, though, your pet may suffer. Likewise, if it’s hot, your rabbit may suffer from heatstroke.
A rabbit is capable of making her way home when lost. Just do not rely on her to do so. The longer a rabbit is missing, the more danger she finds herself in.
Do not assume that a lost rabbit is enjoying her freedom, either. Your pet will be frightened and confused. She’ll want to come home as much as you want her back. Do whatever you can to make this happen as soon as you notice that she’s missing.