Neuronal apoptosis is a common and critical pathology following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We investigated the anti-apoptotic property of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 after SAH in rats. A total of 289 rats underwent endovascular perforation to induce SAH or sham operation. Three dosages (3, 9, or 27 μg) of recombinant FGF-2 (rFGF-2) or vehicle was administered intranasally to rats 30 min after SAH induction. The pan-FGF receptor (FGFR) inhibitor PD173074 or vehicle was administered intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) 1 h before modeling, in addition to rFGF-2 treatment. Small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) for FGFR1 and FGFR3 or scrambled siRNA was administered i.c.v. 48 h before SAH induction in addition to rFGF-2 treatment. Anti-FGF-2 neutralizing antibody or normal mouse immunoglobulin G (IgG) was administered i.c.v. 1 h before SAH model. Neurobehavioral tests, SAH severity, brain water content, immunofluorescence, Fluoro-Jade C, TUNEL staining, and western blot were evaluated. The expression of FGF-2, FGFR1, and FGFR3 increased after SAH. FGFR1 and FGFR3 were expressed in the neurons. Nine micrograms of FGF-2 alleviated neurological impairments, brain edema, and neuronal apoptosis following SAH. A rFGF-2 treatment improved motor skill learning and spatial memory and increased the number of surviving neurons postinjury to 28 days after SAH. PD173074 abolished the anti-apoptotic effects of rFGF-2 via suppression of the expression of PI3k, phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt), and Bcl-2 leading to enhancement of the expression of Bax. FGFR3 siRNA worsened neurobehavioral function and suppressed the expression of PI3k, p-Akt, and Bcl-2 rather than FGFR1 siRNA in SAH rats treated with rFGF-2. Anti-FGF-2 neutralizing antibody suppressed the expression of PI3k and p-Akt after SAH. FGF-2 may be a promising therapy to reduce post-SAH neuronal apoptosis via activation of the FGFR3/PI3k/Akt signaling pathway.