History and appearance
The lionhead rabbit is said to be one of the newest breeds that were accepted by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) in 2002.
It was named as lionhead since it had the ‘mane’ of wool around its head which is like that of a lion. As rabbitmatters.com notes, “the slightly rounded and broadhead is set close to the body with short thick upright ears, 2″-3″ (5cm-7.5cm) in length, and a well-developed muzzle.”
On their personality, they are very friendly, lively, playful and well-natured bunnies with you will find very social.
They are a small bunny breed with a fully-grown weight of 1.13 kg and 1.70 kg.
Before we state the lifespan of a lionhead rabbit, we want to clarify that, there are many variables that will determine the lifespan including any other bunny breed. These aspects include care, diet, safety, whether wild or domestic and so on.
In general, a bunny will live longer if it is well cared for, otherwise, it may die faster. The average lifespan of most bunnies is between 5 years to 12 years and the lionhead rabbits lifespan is 7 to 10 years and it may live longer or shorter depending on the factors below.
Factors that determine a lionhead rabbit’s lifespan
There are various factors that affect any bunny’s lifespan apart from the attention and care they receive from their owners. They include:
Housing choices – indoor or outdoor?
How long do lionhead rabbits live outdoors and indoors? This is one of the questions that many of our readers have raised.
The answer, we will state that a lionhead bunny that is kept indoors tends to live longer when we compare them with the one that lives outdoors.
This is because those kept in outdoor hutches or sheds are vulnerable to predators, infections, adverse environmental conditions as well as diseases caused by rodents and rats that sneak into their hutches. This is because bunny cages and hutches may provide enough protection, especially at night.
However, those that are kept indoors are protected especially from adverse environmental conditions as well as the predators hence increasing their lifespan. Moreover, there are high chances of escape by outdoor lionhead bunnies or being stressed in case of attacks by a predator or sees it.
Note that domestic bunnies that have escaped do not have adaptive features that can increase their chances of survival in the wild. Most of them do not have colors that blend their background to prevent predators from noticing them, hence they are probable targets.
Animals.mom.me confirms that “Lionhead rabbits, because of their heavy coat, are more likely to succumb to the heat if kept outside during the summer months. Although housing a rabbit indoors presents its own set of challenges to keep a rabbit safe, it is a much safer alternative than keeping a rabbit outside.”
Bunnies that get a healthy and balanced diet live longer as compared to those getting poor nutrition. The lionhead rabbit’s diet should be well balanced because of their complex digestive systems.
Their diet must include good quality hay such as Timothy hay, pellets, unlimited fresh and clean water as well as fresh leafy greens and treats of rabbit fruits and vegetables.
The size of a lionhead bunny is essential in determining how long it may live. To be specific, the small bunnies always live longer than larger ones. This implies that dwarf lionhead rabbits are expected to live for more years as compared to normal size or large ones.
Also, sexual maturity in dwarf bunny is faster as compared to larger bunny breeds.
As far as grooming is concerned, lionhead needs more attention than those with a short coat. They brushed regularly to prevent matting and the risk of furballs. Unlike other cats and dogs, the bunnies are cannot cough out furballs (regurgitate) and thus if not properly groomed, they may suffer from furballs.
How Long wild do wild lionhead bunnies live
In general, wild bunnies are mostly exposed to various factors that cannot make them live longer. These include predation, adverse environmental conditions, and diseases among others, hence the survival of a wild rabbit is just by a probability.
Therefore, when compared to those kept as pets or in captivity, they will have a shorter lifespan. Understanding the meaning of animals living in captivity is very essential here. Any wild animal that is held by humans and prevented from escaping is referred to as an animal in captivity.
Sometimes, captivity generally refers to the keeping of domesticated animals. Therefore, lionhead rabbits in captivity tend to live longer than wild lionhead bunnies. This is because those in captivity tend to get much care and security than their counterparts in the wild.
How to make lionhead rabbits live longer
If you want to lengthen their lifespan, there are several things you could do which include the following:
Conducive living environment
They need a peaceful and quiet living environment. Where they live should be like a rest area, specifically in the daytime because they are generally nocturnal.
Maintain a favorable temperature especially lionhead rabbits. They do not need a lot of heat because of their heavy fur. Bunnies are homoeothermic animals (warm-blooded) this implies that they have a constant body temperature.
They control their body temperature through homeostatic processes that rely on how much they eat, the rate of breathing and their body position, therefore, the temperature should be maintained at a range of between 30-35℃ which is the optimal temperature.
Otherwise, a rise in temperature above the optimum level will pose a problem to them because of their inability to regulate their body temperature at that point i.e. 42℃. This may lead to a health complication called hyperthermia.
Keep the humidity level in their habitat constant as they are also sensitive to change in humidity. A change to the humidity below the favorable levels can lead to discomfort.
Where the bunnies live must also have proper air circulation to eliminate poisonous gases like carbon (iv) oxide as well as the excess heat they produce from their body. Avoid areas with the strong blowing wind.
Ensure that food is availed is regularly both in daytime and night time. Ensure the rabbit feeders including the hay feeders keep the food fresh (is not soiled).
Also, never give them pellets all the time since uncontrollably feeding on pellets can lead to obesity, liver as well as heart diseases, diarrheas and kidney diseases. This is due to the low fiber and higher carbohydrate contents in the pellets. Again, never overfeed your bunnies.
Ensure their food has a lot of fibers since it will help prevent constipation as well as help grind down their teeth. Also, give them an adequate amount of hay such as Kaytee Timothy Hay and other highly rated have enough fiber to keep these pets healthy.
Spraying or neutering
Neutering or spaying increases a rabbit’s lifespan. Unaltered bunnies are at risk of developing a testicular tumor (for bucks) or uterine tumor (for does) at the tender age of around 2 years which increases as it grows. The cancer is life-threatening.
Both these two types of cancers can be reduced by neutering your bucks and spaying your does unless you intend to breed them.
Also, make sure their foods are clean and are not contaminated. This would prevent your pet from being exposed to various health issues.
Groom them regularly to avoid matting and furballs. This will involve bushing them regularly and make their habitat very clean to avoid them being soiled that it will increase the chances of flystrike. Do not forget to check for overgrown teeth and nails.
Avail clean and freshwater
Support the hindquarters whenever you want to lift your furry friend up. Also, whenever you want to lift it, do it when near the floor to prevent far jump.
From the above discussion, with proper care, these rabbits can live somewhere between 7 and 10 years. However, this limit can go down or rise depending on the very many variables we’ve discussed above.