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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.

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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.

12

Imagine this:

I take you from your home and fly you across the world to a place you have never been. Everyone around you looks different than you, and there are quite a few people who want to kill you. There is no authorities around to prevent it either. So you take off running and find a place to hide. You have no idea how to get food here because there are no supermarkets or packaged foods. The people here are much leaner than you are and have signs of illness that you have never seen.

How long do you think you would survive in this scenario? Your rabbit lacks your reasoning abilities that have allowed your species to become the top predator despite not being any where near the most physically gifted. So while you could potentially plan a strategy for survival your rabbit can't. Your rabbit, assuming it survives, will spend its time in fear, hungry, and thirsty. Chances are if a predator does not find it and put it out of its misery, then your rabbit will die from hunger, disease, stress, or dehydration with in a month. Is that really what you want for your pet?

If you really can not keep your rabbit, there are rescue places that will allow you to surrender your rabbit. There are also places that will humanely euthanize your rabbit and use them as feed in zoos. But do not release them to the wild.

  • 4
    I like this answer, but wonder if the tone is bit to harsh. I completely get it, but will the target audience stop reading before finishing it? – James Jenkins Dec 6 '13 at 15:52
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    If you think its harsh feel free to be kidnapped and dropped off in the ivory coast... see how harsh that is. – user9 Dec 7 '13 at 22:45
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Pets should NEVER be released into the wild.

There are countless reasons for this. Your pet might not be native to the area you live in. It can cause harm to the environment. It may carry a disease that the local wildlife do not have a resistance to. It doesnt have the survival instincts its wild cousins have. Pets are physically different than their wild counterparts, it may not have the right muscle, fat, size, teeth, whatever to survive in that area. The list goes on and on.

If you no longer wish to care for your pet, find someone who does. Or look for a rescue or shelter to take the animal in.

protected by Community May 3 '15 at 2:42

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