Wild vs Domestic Rabbit: What’s the Difference? Complete Review

If a wild rabbit shows up near your house and you decide to take it home because you think it is the same as a domestic rabbit, take your time because there is a difference between a domestic rabbit and a wild rabbit.

In this article, we will understand the main differences between a pet rabbit and a wild rabbit and you will find out if a wild rabbit can be tamed.

What’s the Difference Between Wild vs Domestic Rabbits?
The difference between wild and domestic rabbits is that wild rabbits live in the wild and domestic rabbits live in captivity. Rabbits in a wild are typically smaller than domestic rabbits and have shorter lifespans. Domestic rabbits are bred to be larger and have longer lifespans.

Wild vs. Domestic Rabbits

When it comes to rabbits, there are two main types: wild and domestic. Though they may look similar, these two types of rabbits are actually quite different. Here’s a look at the key differences between wild and domestic rabbits:

  • Wild rabbits are typically much smaller than domestic rabbits.
  • Domestic rabbits have been bred to have a docile personality, while wild rabbits are more skittish and difficult to tame.
  • Wild rabbits are more active and have more energy than domestic rabbits.
  • Domestic rabbits typically live indoors, while wild rabbits live outdoors.
  • Domestic rabbits are fed a diet of pellets and vegetables, while wild rabbits eat a variety of plants and herbs.

big domestic rabbit in the wild

Rabbit Diets in the Wild

Rabbits are unpretentious in their choice of food and eat all plants available to them. After all, animals stay close to their holes during feeding, so their menu is not diverse. In the summertime, the diet of these fluffy creatures consists of green grass, grains, seeds, tubers, leaves, and roots.

The animals living near the fields do not miss the opportunity to eat carrots, cabbage, and lettuce. In winter, rabbits feed on dry grasses, bush branches, and tree bark, and dig edible root crops out of the ground.

The Diet of Domestic Rabbits

A diet of hay, pellets, and vegetables is usually recommended for domestic rabbits, there are a few other things to consider when planning your rabbit’s diet.

First, it’s important to know that rabbits are herbivores, meaning they only eat plant-based material. This means that their diet should be mostly hay, which provides the fiber they need to stay healthy. Pellets can also be given but should be limited as they are typically high in calories and can lead to weight gain.

As for vegetables, there is a wide variety of options that are safe for rabbits to eat. Some of the most popular include carrots, broccoli, and kale. It’s important to introduce new foods slowly, however, as too much change at once can lead to stomach upset.

In addition to the above, water should be available at all times and fresh fruit can be given as an occasional treat. If you have any questions about what to feed your rabbit, be sure to consult with a veterinarian for guidance.
fluffy rabbit eats grass

How to Tell if a Rabbit is Wild or Domestic?

Visual differences

Domestic rabbits come in many more shapes, sizes, and colors than wild rabbits. Wild rabbits are generally brown or gray in color, while domestic rabbits can be found in a wide range of colors, including black, white, blue, and even pink!

Physical traits of wild and domestic rabbits

Domestic rabbits can range in size from just a few pounds to over 20 pounds, while wild rabbits are typically much smaller, only weighing in at around 3-5 pounds.

When it comes to their physical appearance, wild rabbits have longer ears and legs than domestic rabbits.
They also have a longer tail, which they use to help balance themselves when they are running. Domestic rabbits, on the other hand, have shorter ears, legs, and tails.

How do I know if my rabbit is feral?

Feral rabbits are wild rabbits that have been born in the wild and have not been socialized with humans. They are typically afraid of humans and will run away when approached. If you are not sure if your rabbit is feral, you can try to approach it slowly and see if it allows you to pet it. If it does not, then it is likely feral.

The difference in behavior between wild and domestic rabbits

One of the most noticeable differences between wild and domestic rabbits is their behavior. Domestic rabbits are used to being around humans and are generally very tame. Wild rabbits, on the other hand, are very shy and will generally try to avoid contact with people.
If you’re not sure whether a rabbit is wild or domestic, there are a few key things to look for. First, check to see if the rabbit has a collar or any other type of identification. If not, try to approach the rabbit cautiously and see if it allows you to pet it. If the rabbit seems skittish or scared, it’s likely wild. Domestic rabbits are usually more socialized and less afraid of humans.
white and brown rabbits in nature

Can Domestic Rabbits Survive in the Wild?

If you were to release a domestic rabbit into the wild, the rabbit would likely not survive for very long. Domestic rabbits are not accustomed to living in the wild and would not know how to find food or shelter.

Additionally, predators would view the domestic rabbit as an easy target. Without the help of humans, a domestic rabbit released into the wild would not stand a chance.

What Happens if You Catch a Wild Rabbit?

If you catch a wild rabbit, it is best to take it to a local wildlife rehabilitation center. There, professional caretakers will assess the rabbit’s health and determine if it can be released back into the wild. If the rabbit is sick or injured, it will receive the necessary medical treatment.

Can Wild and Domestic Rabbits Live Together?

Yes, wild and domestic rabbits can live together, but they may not get along.

Can a Wild Rabbit Be Tamed?

While it is certainly possible to tame a wild rabbit, it is not recommended. Wild rabbits are not accustomed to being around humans and may be fearful or even aggressive.

They also require a lot of space to roam and explore and may become stressed in a domestic environment. If you are considering taming a wild rabbit, be prepared to commit a lot of time and patience.

What do wild rabbits look like?

Wild rabbits typically have brown fur, although the exact shade can vary depending on the specific species. They also have long ears and big hind legs in comparison to their bodies.
Grey wild rabbit in the wild

What To Do If You Find a Lost Domesticated Rabbit?

If you find a lost domesticated rabbit, the best thing to do is to take it to a local animal shelter or rescue organization. If you are not able to take the rabbit to a shelter, you can try to find the owner yourself. Here are some tips for finding the owner of a lost domesticated rabbit:

  1. Check for a collar and ID tag. If the rabbit has a collar and ID tag, this is the best way to find the owner. The ID tag should have the owner’s name and contact information.
  2. Check for flyers in the area. If the rabbit was lost, the owner may have posted flyers in the area.
  3. Check online lost and found pet databases. There are many online databases that list lost and found pets.
  4. Ask your neighbors. If the rabbit was lost, someone in the neighborhood may have seen it and can help you find the owner.

If you are not able to find the owner of the lost rabbit, the best thing to do is to take it to a local animal shelter or rescue organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions.

How to check the health of an escaped pet rabbit?

If your pet rabbit has escaped, the first thing you should do is check its health. Make sure they are not injured and that they have access to food and water. If your rabbit is injured, take them to the vet immediately.

Can wild rabbits be pets?

There is no definitive answer, as some people have successfully kept wild rabbits as pets while others have not. It is generally advisable to avoid keeping wild rabbits as pets, as they can be more difficult to care for than domestic rabbits and may carry diseases. It is better not to keep a wild rabbit as a pet.

How to reunite an escaped pet rabbit with the owner?

There are a few things you can do to reunite an escaped pet rabbit with the owner. The first thing you should do is check with your local animal shelters to see if the owner has reported the rabbit missing.

If the owner has not reported the rabbit missing, you can try posting flyers in your neighborhood or online. You can also try contacting local rabbit rescue organizations to see if they have any information on the owner.

Сan wild rabbits breed with domestic?

Yes, wild rabbits can breed with domestic rabbits, but the offspring may not be as healthy as rabbits that are bred specifically for domestication.

Is it OK to touch a wild rabbit?

It is not recommended to touch a wild rabbit as it may carry diseases.

Can wild rabbits be black and white?

Yes, wild rabbits can be black and white. According to The Spruce Pets, black and white rabbits are actually quite common in the wild. In fact, black and white rabbits make up about 10 percent of the wild rabbit population.

Can a domestic rabbit survive outside?

A domestic rabbit can live outside for a short time if the temperature is not too hot or too cold, there is enough food and water, and there is shelter from predators. But it will not be able to feed because it is not used to getting food.


There are a few key differences between wild and domestic rabbits. For one, domestic rabbits have been bred to be docile and trusting of humans, while wild rabbits are naturally skittish and will flee at the first sign of a human.

Domestic rabbits also tend to be much larger than their wild cousins, due to generations of breeding for these traits. Finally, domestic rabbits typically live indoors, while wild rabbits live outdoors in burrows.

If you find a rabbit and are in doubt about whether it is wild or domestic, before you bring it home and leave it, you should take it to the vet.
I hope this article has helped you understand the differences between domestic and wild rabbits. If you still have questions, you can ask them in the comments.

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Mary Ostin
About Mary Ostin

Hello, my name is Mary. I run this site with my husband Danielle. We got a pet rabbit a few years ago and now we want to share with you our experiences with feeding, caring for, and playing with our rabbit. As responsible owners, we visit the vet regularly and also keep a close eye on what our rabbit eats, how he sleeps, and what toys he plays with.

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