With their soft fur and cute faces, rabbits seem like the perfect petite pets for college students living in close quarters. Who wouldn’t want an adorable little companion to cuddle during stressful exam times? However, before hopping out to adopt a bunny, it’s important to look beyond the fluff and consider whether a rabbit is actually a good fit for your college lifestyle. Raising a healthy, happy rabbit requires more time, space, and effort than many students anticipate. Get the real scoop on campus bunnies with this in-depth look at the pros and cons of rabbits as pets for college students.
Why rabbits might not be the best pet for college students
Rabbits are adorable, fluffy little creatures that seem like they would make great pets for college students living in dorms or small apartments. However, there are several reasons why rabbits may not actually be the ideal pet for a busy college lifestyle.
1. Rabbits are not small cage-pets
While rabbits are certainly smaller than dogs or cats, they actually require a fair amount of space. Unlike hamsters or guinea pigs, rabbits should not be kept solely in cages. They need room to hop around and exercise. The minimum recommended space for a rabbit is an exercise pen or fenced area of at least 8 square feet, but larger is always better. This can be difficult to manage in a cramped dorm room.
2. Rabbits chew on everything
Rabbits love to chew – it’s how they keep their ever-growing teeth healthy. This means they will chew on furniture, books, wires, and anything else they can get their paws on. Rabbit-proofing areas takes time and dedication. Leaving rabbits alone in an area that is not 100% rabbit-proof is a recipe for disaster. College students who are constantly on the go may not be able to provide a safe chewing environment for a rabbit.
3. Rabbits can be messy
While rabbits can be litter box trained, it is an involved process that requires patience and vigilance. Rabbits leave behind stray fecal pellets that need to be cleaned up daily. They also kick litter out of the box, which scatters on the floor. Rabbits with unrestrained access to areas will mark their territory as well. Students living in close quarters with roommates may find the mess difficult to stay on top of.
4. Rabbits don’t like lots of noise
Dorms and shared housing are often busy, noisy places. With people coming and going at all hours, music playing, and frequent guests, a rabbit may become stressed by the commotion. Rabbits prefer calm, quiet environments. The hustle and bustle of college life may be too much for them.
5. Rabbits need a lot of attention
While rabbits are not high-maintenance pets, they do require daily attention and interaction. Rabbits are social animals that can become lonely and depressed if left by themselves for long periods. Busy students with erratic schedules may not be able provide a rabbit with adequate company and enrichment.
6. Rabbits can be expensive
Between housing, food, litter, vet bills, and toys, rabbit care adds up quickly. Emergency vet visits are not uncommon due to rabbits’ delicate digestive systems. Exotic vet care in particular can be costly. Caring for a rabbit on a student budget may prove challenging.
Why a rabbit might be right for you after all
While rabbits do have some drawbacks as pets for college students, they may still work well for the right person and living situation. Here are some things to consider if you think a rabbit might still be a good fit.
1. You live in a private space
Students lucky enough to live alone in a studio apartment or private dorm room will have an easier time managing the space and mess required for a pet rabbit. Without roommates or neighbors to worry about, you’ll have more flexibility in setting up housing and letting the rabbit roam while supervised.
2. You are quiet and studious
If you spend most of your time alone studying or working on projects, a rabbit may appreciate the calm environment you provide. Rabbits sleep during the day and are active at dawn and dusk, so they will not mind keeping you company while you hit the books.
3. You keep a consistent schedule
Rabbits thrive on consistency. If you have a regular daily routine with set times for classes, meals, and studying, a rabbit is likely to fall into the routine as well. A steady schedule means you’ll be home regularly to feed, clean up after, and interact with your rabbit.
4. You’re willing to learn about rabbit care and behavior
Caring for a rabbit takes dedication and education. If you are genuinely interested in learning all about proper rabbit handling, proofing, litter training, nutrition, and health, your rabbit will benefit. Taking the time to understand your rabbit’s needs and personality will help you form a close bond.
While there are certainly challenges to having a rabbit in college, they can still make good pets for the right students. As long as you are fully prepared for the responsibility and have the time and resources to devote to proper care, a rabbit can be a delightful companion during your college years.