What mommies do after everyone else has gone to bed.
With Easter hopping this way, you may have seen a few pop-up vendors at your local supermarket with fuzzy bunnies in tow. Rabbits are soft, playful, adorable creatures, and they make great pets, but is your family ready for the responsibility?
A healthy rabbit can be expected to live for eight years, though as with other animals it is not unusual for them to live longer. They primarily eat timothy hay, which you can find in almost any store that sells pet food and supplies. They can also be given pellets, but pellets should not take the place of hay in their diet. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits should not eat carrots exclusively, though it’s fine to give them as an occasional treat.
One great thing about rabbits is how easy it is to litter-train them. With our two rabbits, it was simply a matter of giving them a litter box. We still have to vacuum up some of their fecal pellets that miss the litter box, but we’ve never had to clean up any puddles.
Rabbits can be kept in a cage, but it is important to give them exercise time as well. You need to give your rabbit at least five hours of exercise time in a fairly large space (24 square feet for 1-2 rabbits, and more room if you have more bunnies.) They need to be entertained during this time to, or else you’ll end up with chewed wires and dug-up carpet. Give them boxes and cardboard tubes to hide in and run through, as well as some jingling toys they can push around.
Finding a vet for your rabbit can be difficult since they are considered exotic animals, but it is important that you have someone who knows about rabbits and whom you can trust. If you purchase a female rabbit and don’t intend to breed her, you need to get her spayed as this will decrease her risk of uterine cancer.
Owning two rabbits is just as simple as owning one, and most rabbit owners suggest that you buy a second one to keep the first one company. Rabbits are very social creatures, and even the most dedicated owner can’t give one all the social attention it needs. If you live near a House Rabbit Society chapter, you can adopt a pair that is friendly and house trained; in fact, most House Rabbit Societies won’t let you adopt a single rabbit because it will quickly become depressed.
If you do purchase rabbits for your family and later decide that you can’t adequately take care of them, please find another family to take them in, or ask the House Rabbit Society to put them up for adoption. Never release your rabbits into the wild. Domestic rabbits do not have the survival instincts that wild rabbits have, and often die soon after being released.
Rabbits make wonderful pets, but they do need quite a bit of care and attention in order to thrive. A great book to read on the subject is The House Rabbit Handbook, which not only offers great advice in the care and keeping of your rabbit, but also some tips on things such as building a fun enclosure for them. I would recommend it to anyone who is considering owning a bunny. If you decide that a real rabbit isn’t for your family this year, you could still give them a sweet toy bunny like these Moon Buns from Moon’s Creations on Etsy.