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Can domestic rabbits be released into the wild?

Can I release my domestic bunny outside in the wild? Well, if you care about the survival of your bunny, then no.

For the same reason, you cannot release your dog into the wild and expect it to survive/thrive on its own, you cannot release your domesticated rabbit. The major difference between the domestic bunny and the wild rabbit - they have been domesticated! They have been selectively bred for generations to be a pet! Their great, great, great, great, great grandparents were not even wild.

One major difference between domestic and wild rabbits is their coloring and markings. Remember survival of the fittest? Well, wild rabbits are often brown and blend into their environment helping them hide from predators. Remember, rabbits are prey animals, their predators include foxes, large birds, cats, and hunters to name a few. Many domesticated rabbits would stick out like a sore thumb making them an easy meal.

The average lifespan of a wild rabbit is less than one year while the average domesticated rabbit can live up to 10 years. Jack Rabbits and Domesticated Rabbits are an entirely different species; they are even unable to breed together. In fact, domestic rabbits are descendants of European Rabbits.

Alternatives to releasing your bunny into the wild:

  • Find a new, loving family

  • Locate a shelter or humane society that is accepting surrenders

  • Contact your local rabbit rescues to see if they have available fosters

Surrendering a rabbit instead of dumping them gives rescues the benefit because they will be more familiar with their health conditions and age.

By adopting an animal you are taking on the responsibility of taking care of that animal for its entire life. We understand circumstances may change financially or allergies may develop, but it is up to you to find that animal a home or rescue that will maintain a healthy standard of living.

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