November 24, 2022
Can you keep a wild rabbit as a pet

Can you keep a wild Rabbit as a pet?

Can you keep a wild Rabbit as a pet: Majority of people prefer rabbits as pets. They are adorable and innocent. But the majority of us don’t know what to do when we find a wild rabbit. According to a survey, less than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive longer than a week. It is shocking but true. So if you ever find a lost wild rabbit, you need to take swift action to save them.

Baby bunnies coming from the wild aren’t a good choice for a pet. It is because their natural survival instinct prevents them from being docile pets. The wild rabbits are used to open spaces and extensive grounds; thus, adjusting to small hutches becomes a traumatizing experience for them.

Their diet is also affected because of imparting from their natural habitat, which ultimately affects their health. It becomes complicated for wild rabbits to adjust their living according to captivity.

They are also dangerous for the health of other rabbits and pets. The wild rabbits can spread dangerous diseases to them. Wild rabbits can also affect the health of humans. They don’t transmit the disease directly to humans, but they carry fleas that work as vectors and infect humans.

Now another challenge of domesticating a wild rabbit is that it can be illegal in your state. So it would be safe to cross-check whether it is legal before adopting or fancy picking a wild rabbit. If it’s illegal in your state, then you have to face the consequences.

Is it legal to keep a wild Rabbit?

 Taming a wild rabbit without a license is illegal in the majority of US states. In the majority of US states, you need to have a license from your state’s Department of Environmental protection. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t help a wild rabbit. Taming a wild rabbit and helping a wild rabbit are two different things. Let me explain them to you.

If you are thinking of capturing a wild rabbit and making it your pet, you need to have a license from your state’s Department of Environmental Protection. On the other hand, if you see a sick or severely injured wild rabbit, you can help the wild rabbit and inform your nearest wildlife rehabilitators.

When you find an injured wild rabbit, you should first inform the nearest wildlife rehabilitators. It is the best solution in such a typical situation. Wildlife rehabilitators have fully trained staff that will help the rabbit in recovery. And once the rabbit is completely healthy, they will send it back to the wild.

And if you are thinking of taming a wild rabbit, you must be ready to pay severe fines once the law gets a hand on you.

You must be thinking about why it is illegal to domesticate a wild rabbit.

The reason behind that is separating wild rabbits from their natural habitat will get them into stress and depression. It will ultimately affect their health. As I said above, the instinct of wild rabbits doesn’t allow them to become used to captivity; even if they survive in captivity, they will always try to escape from their hutch or cage. So, if you want a rabbit as your pet, you should stick to domesticated rabbits. Domesticated rabbits can quickly adapt to their surroundings.

Can you tame a wild Rabbit?

Taming a wild rabbit is very hard. For Wild rabbits, humans are predators. It is impossible to catch a wild rabbit until they are sick or injured because the rabbits have a 360-degree vision. It means that they can sense danger from any angle. So if you try to catch them, they will see you and run to a safer place.

So it is tough to tame a wild rabbit. Taming a wild rabbit baby is also ethically incorrect. A wild baby needs mother’s milk until eight weeks. If you separate the wild baby bunny from the mother, the baby rabbit will get deprived of all the essential nutrients required for development. Thus taming a wild baby rabbit can affect the health of the rabbit. Separating the wild baby rabbit will not only affect the baby but doe too. The mother can get traumatized by the separation from the baby and can develop health issues.

Challenges you face while taming wild Rabbit

You will face certain challenges while taming a wild rabbit; some of them are as follows:-


Wild rabbits can cause dangerous diseases to other rabbits or pets. As per the instructions of VCA hospitals, wild rabbits can spread two primary infectious diseases and viruses. They are as follows: –

1) Myxomatosis: – It is also known as Myxoma. It’s a very harmful disease that transmits to other rabbits very quickly. The infected rabbit can die within two weeks of developing symptoms of Myxoma. This disease is commonly found in wild rabbits, so you should vaccinate other rabbits beforehand if you bring a wild rabbit into your home.

2) Viral hemorrhagic disease: – It is a fatal disease that affects wild animals. Viral hemorrhagic is a highly infectious disease that affects rabbits and other domestic pets like cats and dogs. This disease can get transmitted to other pets by two mediums: direct contact and dropping of the infected rabbit.

If a rabbit is infected, the bonding partner sharing the same hutch will also get infected. So before bringing a wild rabbit home, get him to a vet and make sure that he gets all the necessary vaccinations. Once the vet declares the wild rabbit completely healthy, you can bring that cute little creature home. But if there are any health issues, you should keep the other animals in isolation.

Time taking process

You need to spare a lot of time in taking care of a wild rabbit. Domestication of the wild rabbit is very time taking. You need to groom the rabbit once a week and ensure the rabbit is getting all the required nutrients in his diet. You need to spare time for grooming every week and take care of minor things. Apart from this, you need to spare extra time to create an emotional bond and comfort the rabbit.

Wild Rabbits are not so friendly

Wild rabbits are not so friendly with other rabbits. If you already have pet rabbits, you need to separate them from wild rabbits because they can harbor fatal diseases. It is difficult for wild rabbits to infiltrate an existing group of rabbits. Wild rabbits are very protective of their food and haven’t been spayed. Apart from this, they see other creatures as predators that will harm them.

According to Maryland Cooperative Extension, Eastern Cottontail rabbits have a 75% to 85% mortality rate and 3-4 litters a year. And due to these strong mating instincts, wild bunnies will attempt to mate with only tame rabbits. So the babies will automatically inherit the parent’s wild instincts, and controlling them will be difficult for pet owners.

The co-existence of wild rabbits with other rabbits is very hard and can trouble both rabbits and the owner. Not only this, but the wild rabbit will also have temperament issues with domesticated rabbits. Though both are calm and no one is likely to initiate a fight, their differences will create misunderstandings.

Trust issues

The wild rabbit will never be able to trust as domestic rabbits do. Wild rabbits will always see you as predators; for them, you are like a fox, snake, and other wild predators who want to harm them. You will never be able to create a strong bond with your rabbit. It is because your rabbit will never trust you. For them, you are simply a caretaker; that’s it. The instincts of wild rabbits are too strong to forge an emotional bond.

They will escape the hutch

Wild rabbits don’t like to live in a hutch because they are used to open grounds and the sky. Living in a hutch can distress them, and they can also cause self-harm because of their mental condition. Irrespective of care and love, wild rabbits will always try to escape from their hutch and find a way back to the wild.

Honestly, it is not fair to treat someone like this. If you have successfully rescued an injured or sick rabbit, you should drop the wild rabbit back to the wild. Nature is the only guardian angel they have, so it’s better to leave them back in their natural habitat.

Remember that you should drop the wild rabbit at the same place where you find him. Rabbits don’t change their habitat and roam around the small area near their nest throughout their lives.

How to domesticate a wild Rabbit?

It would be best if you never capture a wild rabbit that doesn’t need human assistance. If the wild rabbit cannot survive without human assistance, then only you should domesticate a wild bunny. Once the rabbit is entirely healthy, you should return the wild rabbit to the forest. If there are no chances of surviving a wild rabbit without human assistance, then only you should domesticate it.

Get the wild Rabbit use to of you

You need to give the rabbit some time so that it gets used to your smell and environment. It is challenging to form a strong bond with wild rabbits as they see everyone as a predator. But giving them some time to absorb your essence will help them know that you are not a danger to them.

Always maintain a calm relationship with the rabbit. Don’t force a wild rabbit for cuddling you, and never run behind a wild rabbit as you will only scare the wild rabbit by doing this. And yes, like other rabbits, wild rabbits also don’t like handling, so never lift a wild rabbit.

Interact with the wild Rabbit in sitting posture

For a wild rabbit, you are just a giant predator trying to threaten him. So if you want the rabbit to get comfortable in your presence, you should try interacting with a rabbit in a sitting position so that you don’t look like a giant monster. Allow the rabbit to sniff you and get a sense of your body smell. Don’t move your body or don’t do any sudden movements, and allow the rabbit to move at its own pace.

Let Rabbit run

If the rabbit doesn’t feel comfortable around you, let him run. Stopping him from running can cause a heart attack. The wild rabbit can also get into shock and have a disease like GI stasis. You should also have a hiding place for the rabbit if they want to hide from you.

Wear washed clothes

Prefer wearing newly washed clothes while interacting with your wild rabbit. You should never wear clothes that smell like another pet. Because if you are wearing clothes, that smells like another pet, your rabbit will think that you are a predator and will never come close to you. And never forget to remove the outside smell from your hands. So always wash your hands before interacting with your rabbit.

Use a tasty treat as a trail for your Rabbit

You can use the tasty treats as a trail that leads in your direction. By doing this, the rabbit will come near to you. Remember that you don’t need to touch or pet the wild rabbit while they come near you. If the rabbit comes near to you, allow the wild rabbit to sit around you. Let the rabbit absorb your essence. By doing this rabbit will understand that you don’t want to hurt the rabbit. You have to repeat the process and be patient.

Don’t lift a wild Rabbit

Rabbits don’t like when someone handles them, and in the case of wild rabbits, they get super conscious if someone tries to touch them. If you try to lift a rabbit, they will get panic. The wild rabbit will consider it as an attack as they are not used to it. The rabbit may go into shock, so don’t lift a wild rabbit. If you try to lift a wild rabbit by force, they may bite, kick or scratch you to get free from your grip –

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How to get a wild rabbit to trust you?

A. For winning the trust of a wild rabbit, you can use the below-given methods:-

  1. Treat your bunny the right way: – If you want a rabbit, especially a wild rabbit, trust you; you need to treat them right away.
  2. Don’t chase your bunny: – Running behind a rabbit only terrifies him. If you want to win the trust of a wild rabbit, you need to let the rabbit do things at his own pace.
  3. Tasty treats: – Rabbits love sugar, and wild rabbits are no exception. Giving tasty treats will make them feel happy when you are around them.
  4. Don’t lift your bunny: – Majority of bunnies are not huge fans of handling. Rabbits don’t like when someone tries to lift them. If your bunny squirms wildly when you try to lift the rabbit, it shows apparent disagreement, and you should leave the rabbit.
  5. Quite environment is essential: – When you are trying to bond with your rabbit, try to be in a silent or less noisy place. The reason behind choosing a quiet place for bonding activity with your rabbit is that your rabbit will concentrate more on you in a less noisy place. Noise can attract the attention of rabbits. You need a quiet environment so that the wild rabbit can focus on you.
  6. Use soothing voice while communicating: – When you communicate with your rabbit, don’t use a hard or shrilled voice; it will terrify them. Rabbits pay a lot of attention to the voice and smell of their owners. It is better to use soothing voice while communicating with rabbits, especially with a wild rabbit. Communicating with your rabbit in a very stern voice can threaten him badly.

Q. Do baby Bunnies have diseases?

A. If this question is centric to a rabbit then, baby bunnies should be healthy. They don’t have any disease. But in some cases, if the mother or father of the rabbit is not healthy, there is a high probability that the bunny can have that genetic disease. Other than that, there are no chances of a baby bunny having a disease.

If the baby bunny is not taken care properly, then it may get a disease. So, to ensure that your rabbit is healthy, you should take care of him properly. Apart from this, I highly recommend you to pay regular visits to the vet to ensure the rabbit’s good health.

And if the above question is centric to humans, then no, you won’t get a disease from rabbits. Rabbits don’t transmit disease to humans, but yes, they may carry some fleas that work as vectors and can infect you. Wild rabbits can also transmit diseases to other rabbits or pets if they are infected.

Q. How do you befriend a wild rabbit?

A. For being friends with the wild rabbit, you need to make him feel comfortable with your presence and your habitat. You need to understand that wild rabbits don’t get to see people in the forest.

Interacting with humans is difficult for them because of two reasons. One they are away from their habitat, i.e. forest and other is they have never interacted with any human before. So beings friends with wild rabbits, you need to wait until they get comfortable at your place.

Avoid touching wild rabbits; I am saying so because rabbits can get defensive and bite you or kick you. This behaviour is because they are not used to humans touching them or petting them, so it’s better to stay away rather than scare them.

Final Words

That was all about wild rabbits. I hope you got the satisfying answer of, “Can you keep a wild rabbit as a pet?” In my opinion, having a wild bunny is not a safe option for both you and the rabbit. The wild rabbits need more space, and it is challenging for them to survive in captivity.

If you are thinking of making a wild bunny your pet, you should first check whether it is legal. As I said above, in some states, it is illegal to domesticate a wild bunny. So before taking a stand, you should check its legitimization.

Apart from the legal point of view, rabbits need a bonding partner. Without a bonding partner, the rabbits get into depression, and depression can cause a lot of diseases to these cute creatures.

Making a wild rabbit your pet can also harm you. Wild rabbits can carry germs or diseases with them that can affect your health.

It is my personal opinion on the question, “Can you keep a wild rabbit as a pet?” Before finalizing your decision, I will recommend you to visit a lawyer. If you ever find a wild rabbit, you should take it to the vet to ensure that the bunny is healthy and doesn’t carry any disease.

Happy reading! I hope you find this article was helpful for you. For further improvement, kindly drop your feedback in the comment section. And for more informative articles, subscribe to the website.

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Peyton Taylor

Hey readers! My name is Peyton Taylor, and I help others to have a great experience with their pets. Nothing compares to the happiness of having a healthy and affectionate pet. My sole purpose is to assist newbies and experienced pet owners to learn more and more about the behavior and character of their pets.

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