Can I release my pet rabbit in the wild?

  • I am aware the issues surrounding feral cats and I would never consider turning a dog loose to fend for it's self. But rabbits are not predators so would seem unlikely to have a negative impact on the ecosystem, also I see wild bunnies in the fields and woods around my house.

    I imagine that if I turned my rabbit loose it would go make friends and babies with the wild rabbits in the area. Is it alright to let my rabbit free?

    Note This question is posted to provide an opportunity for the answers to be posted and available. In my volunteer capacity I actually rescue domestic rabbits that have been set free.

  • Kate Paulk

    Kate Paulk Correct answer

    8 years ago

    The short answer is no.

    The longer answer:

    Your pet rabbit is probably a different breed than the wild rabbits you see around. It's been bred from tame/domesticated rabbits for generations. It doesn't smell like them, and it doesn't know how anything about living wild. If you let it go free, it will almost certainly be killed or eaten.

    If you are in an area where rabbits are not a natural species, your rabbit, if it survives, could cause immense damage (google "rabbits in Australia to get an eyeful of the damage introducing rabbits has caused there).

    Finally, any pet is for life - your life or its life. If you can't look after the rabbit any more, the responsible thing to do is find a shelter (preferably no-kill) and surrender it to them. Simply releasing any pet is cruel and a betrayal of trust. That pet, whether a rabbit or any other animal, looks to you to provide food, protection, and shelter.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM