Rabbits are in the lagomorph order along with hares. Lagomorphs are unique in that all of their teeth are open rooted, meaning all of their teeth are continuously growing (unlike rodents, whose incisors are the only teeth that continuously grow). Rabbits range in size depending on breed, but most live 8 to 12 years in captivity.
Rabbits are herbivores that need a high fiber content to keep their teeth healthy and for proper digestive function. They should always have access to a high quality hay such as Timothy or Orchard (Alfalfa can be given occasionally as a treat but is not ideal for their main hay source); hay should comprise at least 70-80% of their diet. A small amount a hay pellets can be fed (1/4-1/2c per day depending on the size of the animal). Fresh veggies such as dark greens, parsley/basil/cilantro, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini can be fed in small amounts daily as treats. While there are many fruits that rabbits can safely eat, they should be fed very sparingly because of their high sugar content. Rabbits should eat regularly, not eating or defecating for more than 12hr is considered an emergency in rabbits.
Rabbits should have a minimum of 3ft d x 3ft w x 2ft h cage with a solid floor bottom to protect their delicate feet. Rabbits like to chew, so anything their cage is made of and anything in their cage should be non-toxic and without sharp edges. Bedding materials can include recycled paper products, newspaper, or aspen shavings (NEVER cedar shavings), and should be scooped daily. Some rabbits can learn to use a corner litter box (with newspaper pellets, never regular cat litter) to make clean up easier. A nest box should always be available to provide a sense of security. Rabbits should be provided with enriching toys such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, paper bags, willow balls and chewing baskets, and wooden toys to prevent boredom. They should be allowed out of their cage daily to run around and exercise. If a rabbit is housed outside, it should be brought in if the temperature drops below 40oF or rises about 90oF.
Rabbits can be very social, friendly animals in a comfortable environment. They can even be trained to do tricks using positive reinforcement. However, they can be very shy and skittish if not properly socialized from a young age or if improperly handled. It is important to always watch your rabbit for signs of distress including thumping their back feet, changes in ear position, and hiding. Rabbits have very strong hind limbs, and if not held properly (always supporting the back end) they can hurt their back if they kick while being held.
Just like dogs and cats, rabbits should have yearly wellness exams by your veterinarian to check for illness. Common health problems include overgrown teeth and dental abscesses, back injuries, hairballs, gastrointestinal stasis (called ileus), urinary tract infections and bladder stones, and respiratory disease. Some rabbits may also need regular nail and teeth trims or grooming to remove matts.