Easter is around the corner and many will start thinking of adopting a rabbit. Like with adopting a dog or a cat; adopting a bunny is a big and life changing decision. Remember that this is a living creature you will need to care for, for the rest of its life. Rabbits are not a Holiday decoration and can actually be hard to care for if you are unprepared. They’re a prey animal so, if not properly socialized, are not going to want to play, but would rather run and hide.
So here’s the question: Do they “make good pets”? They make wonderful, intelligent companions for the right people!
Each rabbit has a different personality just like each person does. Rabbits are very loving, social animals, which means they not only love to spend time with their parents – they require it. Without human interaction, rabbits can get bored, even to the point of becoming lonely and depressed. While toys can alleviate some of their boredom, they still need human attention and interaction. Many rabbits also enjoy having another rabbit as a friend.
Many celebrities are parents to a bunny! One of the most committed to them being Amy Sedaris, proud parent of Dusty! Sedaris is also spokeswoman for the House Rabbit Society. Other famous bunny parents are Clint Eastwood and his wife Dina who adopted a rabbit at the SPCA of Monterey County; Hilary Swank, who got Luna, a huge bunny as birthday gift from ex-husband Chad; heiress Paris Hilton who saved 20 bunnies from a pet store when she learned that snake owners bought them to feed their reptiles; and writer Danielle Steel, along with 5 dogs, a parakeet and a pot-bellied pig!
Thinking about getting a pet bunny? Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets, with great personality! But before you decide to go to a shelter and adopt a long-eared furry friend, you have to make sure this is the right pet for you! Some people wonder if rabbits are more like cats or dogs. They’re like rabbits! Yours might use a litter box like a cat and get excited to see you like a dog, but really, rabbits are not quite like either of these animals.
Are you the right kind of person to live with a rabbit? Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I patient?
- Do I have a sense of humor?
- Do I enjoy watching the movements and learning the language of another species?
- Does my schedule include plenty of time at home?
- Am I comfortable spending a lot of time on the floor?
- Am I not overly fussy with your furniture?
Here are a few points to consider before adopting a bunny:
Breed: Keep in mind that there are many different breeds, make sure you don’t buy a cute baby bunny that turns out to be a Flemish Giant that gets as big as a small dog!
There are about 45 rabbit breeds officially recognized by the ARBA or American Rabbits Breeders Association. There are a few mixed breed rabbits but even these rabbits will probably have fairly recognizable ancestry. Most of the breeds were originally developed for one of four purposes meat, pelt, wools or show. But any of them can make a good pet. Given that any breed of rabbit can make a great pet there are two factors to take in consideration are the size of the rabbit and the amount of care it requires.
Housing: Bunnies don’t need a lot of space, but you still need to make some room for the cage. They are social animals, so it’s best to keep them in a room where they’re not completely secluded from the family but where they can also relax. Cages came in many colors and shapes. Make sure to get one that your bunny will not outgrow. Don’t forget the supplies: a drinking bottle, a dish for the food, a hideaway and a litter box.
Bunny proofing: Don’t let them chew on your important papers, cables and electric wires! They can get electrocuted. Never let your furry friend hop around unattended. The best way to let them exercise without risking any harm is to build them a playpen. You can find them in pet stores or build one with wire fence or cardboard. Be careful to make them high enough! Bunnies can jump high!
Finance: even if a bunny is not as costly as, say a horse, they still need to be fed, to have their litter changed and to be spayed/neutered! The first year will be the more costly, especially if you’re starting from scratches. You’ll need a cage, litter, food, dishes, a drinking bottle, and so on. Consider this before adopting one and make sure you can budget it.
Traveling: Rabbits are stressed little creatures and traveling or brutal changes of environment really don’t suit them. If you plan to travel a lot and don’t have anyone to look after your bunny, this is probably not the right pet for you!
Children: Healthy rabbits have rather long lifespan, up to 10 years! Too many children committed to take care of their bunny who ended up neglected in a corner of the house, dumped in a shelter or abandoned outside! Bunnies, like other pets, are no toys, and they need us to take care of them. Be certain the child is fully aware of the implications before offering him or her a pet rabbit!
How many bunnies? While there are some rabbits who prefer having their human all to themselves, most rabbits enjoy the company of other rabbits. If your bunny is going to be alone for eight hours or more a day, you should give serious consideration to adopting her a friend. It is extremely important that before you get your bunny a companion you have her spayed or him neutered if you don’t want to have multiple litters! Rabbits reproduce very quickly!
Enrichment: Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Leaving your bunny in a cage all day won’t do it. They need to go exercise and have fun! A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house.
Looking for ideas to spend some quality time with your bunny? Try the Kaninhop, a sport developed in Sweden in the 1970s! Kaninhop, or Rabbit show jumping, is pretty much like show jumping for horses – although of course the jumps are quite a bit smaller! There are many concerns about these competitions and the welfare of the animals involved, but there is no harm in trying some bunny jumping at home, if your pet enjoys it of course! Playing with your bunny is the perfect way to develop a special with it!
If you think a bunny would be a good addition to your house and have considered all that they require to live a happy life with you, consider rescuing a bunny! Sites like House Rabbit Society has lots of information on how to care and where to adopt a bunny in need of a good home!