Aside from the breed, there are two classifications of rabbits; domesticated and wild bunnies. They are the same species, but we will understand how they differ in different aspects in this blog. Domesticated rabbits are ones that people have in their homes and are called indoor or pet bunnies. They are accustomed to living with owners or humans.
On the other hand, wild rabbits live in the wild and aren't trained like house pets. The domesticated rabbit is quite different from its wild cousin!
Wild rabbits live in burrows, small underground homes that they dig out. They are often seen in the woods or forests. Female wild bunnies dig underground to put their kits under, keeping them safe and warm unless it rains hard; that would be difficult for them if they don't dig deeper.
The life of a wild bunny is more challenging because it has to do everything to survive outside. They are also intelligent bunnies because they are good at making tunnels with different exits or holes only they know. This helps them to escape quickly from predators.
On the other hand, domesticated rabbits live in a human home, but sadly, some pet bunnies live in cages. Like most cats, their owners can train them to use a litter box. That's why they can live in the house free-roamed.
If wild rabbits are challenged by predators and other factors affecting their lives, domesticated bunnies challenge their owners with bunny-proofing skills because they chew different things. We need to protect our human habitats, too!
Wild and domestic rabbits eat greens and vegetables; however, wild rabbits eat grasses and herbs or whatever is available that they can eat in the wild. Domesticated rabbits tend to be fed with fresh hays and commercial pellets. Rabbits need access to a diet high in fiber, low in fat, and enough protein.
Regarding drinking, wild rabbits can access low-water sources like rivers, streams, or creeks. Wild rabbits are immune to the food and water they can get in the wild. Unline domesticated bunnies that are cared for inside a home; need fresh water daily to avoid sickness or dehydration. Sometimes, pet bunnies are picky with what they drink; they are more sensitive to taste or smell.
Domesticated bunnies tend to be very social and enjoy human interaction, especially handling. Because of their tameness, domestic rabbits can be easily handled for routine care such as grooming, nail trimming, and vet visits.
Since wild rabbits live in large groups, they sometimes fight with each other over food sources or nesting sites. It is natural for rabbits to be territorial but because it's not easy to live in the wild, they have to be tough to meet their needs.
Domesticated rabbits are often neutered or spayed, so there's no need to worry about having so many kits. But in the wild, rabbits can have four litters in a year. They can breed four times yearly because of their short gestation, but some kits in a litter don't survive before they reach their first birthday.
Wild rabbits can live for 1- 2 years or only months after birth. Many factors are present that's why they live short; habitat loss, accident, or predators.
While domesticated rabbits can live for 8-12 years when handled and cared for properly by owners.
Can Pet Bunnies Live in the Wild?
In contrast, a wild rabbit is naturally equipped to survive in the wild and faster than domesticated rabbits, allowing them to escape predators more easily. Domestic rabbits are not trained to survive in the wild because they lack the traits that make their wild counterparts so successful in this environment.
As you can see from the word attached to their names, they are indoor/pet bunnies meant to live in a home because they are used to that and not in the wild.
Disclaimer: We are not professional veterinarians or medical doctors. We created this blog based on our experiences with pet rabbits, volunteered hours in the rabbit shelter, extensive pet product research, and experienced peers. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about properly taking care of rabbits. Please know that it is still best to visit the vet regularly. For medical emergencies, contact a rabbit-savvy vet. Always observe your rabbits around new products or environmental changes.
Final Thoughts on Wild Vs. Domesticated Rabbits
Here are the differences between a domesticated and a wild rabbit. You cannot do things to your pet bunny that only wild bunnies can do. They still have the same instinct but the environment they're trained to live in is the opposite.