Emergency Set Ups

If you happen to be in a situation where you can rescue a rabbit in need, here are some great tips on how to set up an appropriate area for them until you can either find their Family, get them to a rescue, the SPCA or make a permanent set up for them and foster/adopt them.

Remember, rabbits must be held for 7 days before rehoming them to give their family time to find them.

You must take them to a vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip.

Saving one Rabbit won't change the world, but the world will certainly change for that Rabbit.

What kind of set ups are appropriate in emergencies?

In emergencies, our number one priority is that the rabbit is safe and healthy. Enrichment and flooring is not a priority and can be looked at later. The rabbit will most likely just want to eat, sleep and decompress.

Checklist for essentials

Litter box

You can use any kind of cat litter box. You can also use low storage containers as big as cat litter boxes. If you don't have any and no way to make one, then you will need to place a puppy pad/ piece of newspaper down and place their food here as rabbits like to poop where they eat.


You can layer this with woodfire pellets, paper cat litter or just use cut up newspaper. if you don't have any, just layer with Hay/ grass but using a layer helps with mess, cleaning and prevents a smell. Do not use crystal cat litter.


You will need to ensure they have an unlimited amount of hay or long grass - this is essential! If you can get your hands on rabbit pellets, having a bowl available would be great. A lot of rescues are not used to hay so it is important to try give them a variety. If you have some vegetables in the house, you can give them a little bit (1/2 cup). Please check our Bunny Nutrition page for some guidance on vegetables. 

The next day, its really important you find good quality pellets and hay. We are happy to give you some if you are near by to tie you over until you can get the rabbit to the SPCA. 

Hay holder

As you can see in the photos above, you can use a countdown bag or similar to make a hay feeder. So easy! Just tie it up for them and cut a hole out so they have easy access to hay.


Using a ceramic bowl that they cannot knock over is best. They may be very thirsty so use a big one to last overnight. Please do not give a water bottle as these are not recommended for rabbits.

Hiding place

It is important to ensure that the rabbit has somewhere to hide with two exits available to them so they feel they have an escape route, remember they are prey animals. You can use a box and cut out two exits or if you have a cat tunnel that would also work well. 


It is best to layer the floor with towel's or blankets as most rabbits aren't comfortable on slippery floors.

Is this bunny healthy?

Assuming there are no physical injuries in which case the rabbit needs to go to Emergency immediately, the most important thing to do after you rescue a rabbit is to ensure they're eating. If they are not, they may be in gut stasis, please read about this here -> Gut Stasis - Dr. Kezia.

If they are not eating immediately and no signs of poops, I would recommend leaving them alone for an hour or two, but no longer.

When you return, If they have still not eaten and no poops, then I would take them to the Emergency as you don't know how long they have not been eating for prior to you rescuing them.

The only Emergency we recommend in Auckland is The ARC -Albany , this is for many reasons. The ARC is used to rabbits and know what is needed to stabilize a rabbit. If you don't want to take medical responsibility for the rabbit then you will need to surrender the rabbit and leave it there. The SPCA will be notified by the ARC.


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