I'm in New Zealand and someone handed us a wild rabbit kit. I don't feel that we should keep a wild rabbit as a pet, so we intend to release it.

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with rabbits and don't know what to do

How do I give the rabbit the best chance of survival in release and how do we avoid the rabbit getting too reliant on humans?

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    Firstly - take a look at the tour and help. Secondly, you got downvoted because your 'question' is a link to another site. You need to ask your question here. I've edited the question to reflect what you're actually asking. I'm a bit unsure how "feral" domestic species and rehoming is topical here but the downvotes are entirely due to the question not being more than a link to reddit
    – Journeyman Geek
    Oct 3, 2022 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


Well - the advice would depend on the country but rabbits are not native to New Zealand, and rather than being 'wild', ought to be considered a feral animal. Through much of the region, they are considered a pest, and there's significant issues caused by them, and measures to control the population. Here's the advice given by the New Zealand government and it comes down to "they're bad for farms, they're bad for native ecosystems, and we're trying to eliminate them".

Releasing the rabbit into the wild is the worst thing you can do. Predators aside - many of which are 'pests' in their own right and also eat native wildlife, they face the risk of diseases, natural and spread for population control and hunting by various means including being hunted down by dogs.

Basically if you're paranoid about things happening to your rabbit, they might be true.

Now that I'm done with the scary parts, have you thought of contacting your local animal rescue, and specifically a rescue specialising in rabbits? They'd likely have knowledge about rabbits and be able to advice you on the right thing to do, or rehome the rabbit if you're over your head. Your rabbit will probably never be 'wild' and never has been, but that feels like the best chance for a healthy happy life for the critter.

  • Did you check which species of rabbit it is? European or white cotton tail? This affects the "pet" habits, because cotton tailes seem not able to domesticate and have as pet. Oct 3, 2022 at 5:38
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    @Allerleirauh shouldn't matter in NZ cause neither are native and are likely introduced. I don't think oceania has any native rodents
    – Journeyman Geek
    Oct 3, 2022 at 6:11
  • It is not important for the point "do not let it free" but european rabbits are nice pets, but cotton tails seem to be not. Oct 3, 2022 at 8:17
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    OP's original link (which I mostly paraphrased in my edit) indicates they are not familiar with rabbits, so I'm doubtful they can identify them - hence the suggestion of a rabbit rescue, who'd know what to do
    – Journeyman Geek
    Oct 3, 2022 at 8:30

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