Rabbits can make great pets, they can also make lousy pets!
If you don’t have a rabbit yet then you’ve come to the right place – “Stop, look and listen!”.
Fluffy baby bunnies look and are cute but before you decide on a rabbit as a pet you need to know that they are sociable creatures who enjoy the company of their own kind (and human kind) and who experience being locked up on their own in a hutch the size of a prison cell much the same as you or I would!
That cute baby rabbit is going to grow
The size of a baby rabbit is no indication that the pet shop bought hutch will be big enough for him as an adult.
There are also a number of other preconceptions that need to be debunked.
Rabbits don’t actually like to be picked up, carried around and held. They learn to tolerate it and will dance circles round your ankles to get your attention by way of petting, but remember they are prey animals in the wild and a massive human towering above them and grabbing them from above is not much fun.
The hind claws of a rabbit can inflict a nasty row of scratches so adults need to be particularly responsible when teaching children how to handle a rabbit.
Rabbits are intelligent and affectionate – well they like mutual grooming. Intelligence means they get bored.
Much of their waking time in the wild would be spent eating copious amounts of high fibre grass.
Tucking into a bowl of coloured biscuits and flakes which is gone in 5 minutes just isn’t the same!
They need ad lib good quality hay, both to keep their digestive system healthy and to stave off boredom.
Relatively easy to house train, they make good indoor pets.
House rabbits are increasing in popularity which means there is a lot of information out there for prospective owners as well as an abundance of housing, toys and treats.
You will, of course, have to be prepared to ‘bunny proof’ any rooms your rabbit has access to. Electric cables resemble roots with carpet and underlay challenging turf and table legs just waiting to have the bark stripped off of them!
Rescue a rabbit!
Rabbit rescues across the land are overflowing with unwanted and abandoned rabbits. For an understanding of what it is like for the rescues, check out Bobtails News or Animal Lifeline’s site (Click on the Sad but True button).
Often bought on impulse ‘for the children’ from pet superstores by people who had no idea what keeping a rabbit entailed. It is not at all uncommon for two ‘girl’ rabbits to be abandoned together with the litter of baby bunnies they’ve produced.
Pet superstores even have a disclaimer saying they cannot guarantee the sex of your pet! If you can’t trust them to know what one end of a rabbit looks like do you really want their advice on what to feed it or house it in? Let alone giving them your money for the privilege….
Spay and neuter
Current veterinary recommendation is that pet rabbits should be spayed or neutered. the females (does) to avoid uterine problems and the males (bucks) to avoid aggression in addition to the obvious goal of preventing unwanted litters from opposite sex pairs.
Rescue rabbits are often spayed/neutered and paired up before re-homing. Any health problems they suffer from will already be known. As well as giving a good forever home to an abandoned rabbit, you’ll have been saved from two of the major worries about pet rabbits – compatibility and the risks of elective surgery.
This site is devoted to the proper care of rabbits. An understanding of the rabbit’s natural behaviour in the wild, its natural diet and physiology and housing requirements will help you keep your rabbit in the best possible health.