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Best type of carrier for rabbit transport



Esther van Praag, Ph.D. is funded solely by the generosity of donors.

Every donation, no matter what the size, is appreciated and will aid in the continuing research of medical care and health of rabbits.

Thank you  


Rabbits are easily stressed and their transport represents a challenge. Allergens, sunlight, car lights, noise, hot or cold temperatures, and being subjected to visual observation by people or other animals could potentially stress a rabbit in a carrier. The carrier used for transporting should, thus, be sturdy so as to protect the animal from exposure to the environment as much as possible and prevent escape.  The carrier should, furthermore, have a solid bottom, with no grid or holes that can cause injury.

Nylon or cloth pet carriers, as well as cardboard boxes, must be avoided since a rabbit can easily make holes in these materials. A rabbit that has escaped from the carrier in a car can lead to extremely dangerous situations. The rabbit can startle the driver by jumping onto his or her lap, thereby distracting the driver's attention and concentration away from the road, or the driver may need to locate the rabbit in the vehicle, all potential causes of accidents. A free roaming rabbit in a car can, moreover, be propelled through the windshield during a sudden unexpected stop.


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Adar, a Flemish giant rabbit travelling by train

Never take chances !!!

A rabbit should travel in a sturdy carrier that ensures a safe environment.

The waiting room at the veterinary clinic is a further source of stress for the rabbit. When removed from the safe environment of its carrier, it may panic, bite, and scratch in an attempt to escape

The carrier of choice has a front opening and a top opening:

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Front door

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Top opening

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The top opening is convenient for checking on the rabbit, petting, feeding, or giving fresh drinking water during a stop. The rabbit cannot get out and escape as easily as through the front. If the rabbit reaches up to the top opening, it can be gently pushed down in the carrier.


Escape through the front door is easy…

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A top opening requires some effort to escape

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A top opening is, furthermore, useful during a visit to the veterinarian. Rabbits tend to crawl into the back of their carrier when the surroundings are not familiar or when they hear strange noises or smell unusual odors. When approached from the front, they respond with aggression, biting and scratching the hands of the owner or veterinarian, thereby making it difficult to be removed from the carrier. When a rabbit sees hands approaching through the top opening, it has a tendency to crouch downward. Usually the rabbit can be picked up through the top opening without much trouble, with a firm hold to prevent escape, and support of the lower spine region and hips to prevent fracture. Care must, nevertheless, be taken that the rabbit does not charge out or escape through the top opening.

Usually, the rabbit can be picked up through the top opening without much trouble, with a firm hold to avoid escape, and support of the lower spine region and hip of the rabbit to avoid fracture.


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For safe carrying methods of a rabbit, see: “Safe carrying of a rabbit”

Padding of the transport carrier

The plastic bottom of carriers is slippery and does not give support and traction to the rabbit during transport, especially when unexpected motion occurs. The rabbit can hurt itself, fracture a limb or the spine, or luxate a shoulder or hip. For maximum safety the rabbit should be placed in a carrier padded with soft bedding, e.g., a cushion, towels, or a blanket to ensure safe transport. If the road is rough, or the rabbit suffers from health tilt or balance problems, the sides of the carrier can be padded with rolled towels.


Slippery floor

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Cushion providing a good hold

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Ventilation of the transport carrier

The carrier should have enough openings on all sides to enable proper flow of fresh air during transport. A cover or a towel will help protect the rabbit against drafts, cold winds, or freezing temperatures. 


Cover made of cotton cloth material

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Two zippers enable removal of the cover, opening of the top door, and easy lifting out of the rabbit

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Size of a carrier

Aside price and quality, the choice of carrier depends on the size and number of rabbits that will travel in it. It should not be oversized nor overcrowded. The carrier should provide comfort and allow lying down and stretching out.


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Different carriers used to transport one to two rabbits:

·           The smallest (left, 27*43 cm / 10.6*17.2’’, 30 cm / 12’’ high) can transport two dwarf rabbits or one small sized rabbit.

·           A mid-sized carrier (30*46 cm / 11.8*18.1’’, 36 cm / 14.1’’ high) can be used for one giant breed or two medium sized rabbits.

·           The folding carrier (right, 46*54 cm / 18.1*21.3’’, 35 cm / 13.8’’ high) was used to transport a giant Flemish giant and a medium sized rabbit.




A big special thanks to Duncan for his help and demonstration of his transport carrier.

Thank also to little Stampi and giant Adar.

Thanks to B. Salt and T. Saarony for their contribution.