The Life of a Bunny
Rabbits come in all sizes, colors, and personalities. Many people think rabbits, or bunnies, are only gifts for Easter. True, they can be great pets but most don’t realize how hard a rabbit is to take care of until they get one. Rabbits require a great deal of care every day to be happy and healthy. They are social creatures so they should have plenty of interaction with family members; both people and other pets. Therefore they should live IN the house, not outside, in the garage, or in the basement. Contrary to what people think, bunnies actually rarely like to be held or carried around. Rabbits require a healthy diet of hay, fruits, vegetables and a limited amount of pellets. There is certain vegetation and fruit that rabbits cannot eat. Rabbits need to have branches and things to chew on in order to keep their teeth healthy and at a good length otherwise they will grow too long causing problems. Apple and Willow are the best options in our area. Providing enrichment to get them to use their brains and natural abilities is also very important to keep your bunny happy and healthy. Some great toys are boxes to tear apart, slinky toys, balls, tunnels, parrot toys, stuffing hay into different things to make them work or scavenge for their food. A rabbit can be trained to go to the bathroom in a litter box but you don’t use typical cat litter. You can use things like Aspen wood shavings. Let them run around the house once they are trained but make sure you ‘bunny proof’ your house! They will chew on anything, even cords! Get the largest cage you can get for the space you have. Dog crates with shelves built in are a great idea for a rabbit cage based on personal use. Rabbits are sensitive to many things such as loud sounds, certain fumes, being wet (don’t give a bunny a bath if you can avoid it) and stress. Rabbits need their nails trimmed and DO shed, in fact they can shed a lot. They can also get sick, so make sure you have a vet nearby that knows how to take care of rabbits. It would be a good idea to get your pet rabbit fixed (spayed or neutered). It makes them less likely to get cancer, it’s great for their disposition and it calms them down.
Although rabbits make great pets, they are also a lot of work. So if you choose to get a rabbit as a pet, be prepared that a house rabbit can live 8-10 years. Make sure to do plenty of research before you make a decision.
Choose to adopt instead of buy! Adoption is a fantastic way to get a pet for your family. There are many rescues and groups in our area that have bunnies available for adoption. Most are already fixed and the rescue group could help you find the best personality to fit into your household. I adopted my rabbit from Spring Farm Cares and he fits in great. He likes everyone in our house, kids, dogs and cats included! My rabbit, Toby, is a Mini Rex, who is very soft (softer than velvet) and LOVES carrots. I typically let him roam around the house, but he has to be under supervision so he doesn’t chew anything he’s not supposed to. Toby uses a litter box, which I clean almost every day (maybe every other day). I adopted Toby around April 2010-2011 and will live until 2017-2018. So, would you consider getting a rabbit?