Keeping animals as pets is very common. Some people do it to have company or for their protection. While some others find that keeping dogs are cats are already very common for their liking, they find other animals to take care in their household. One of the other options for pets is bunnies or rabbits.
Some people who have not taken care of any bunny would wonder, what is so different about them? Some people would even ask, why would someone want to have a bunny as a pet when all they do is eat, poop and sleep? In reality, bunnies are very unique and likeable pets.
Pet owners find that rabbits are easy to take care of and they are not as demanding as other pets. Rabbits are very tranquil pets. And once, they get acquainted with your presence, they can be really sociable and interactive.
History Behind Keeping Rabbits as Pets
In 1981, Sandy Crook wrote a book called “Your French Lop” and in this book, a pet rabbit was featured. The following years after that, she shared her own experiences of living with a pet rabbit which reinforced the confirmation of a bond between humans and indoor rabbits. It was in 1983 when she was invited as a special guest for the American Family Pet Show that happened in Anaheim, California. She shared experiences about her very own pet bunnies to the 35,000 participants of the event. In the early 80s, litter-box trained house bunnies had become very common.
In 1988, a foundation called House Rabbit Society was established. The organization was meant to provide education and guidelines to house pet owners which include a firm belief of having pet rabbits to be spayed or neutered if they are to be kept domesticated.
Over time, rabbits had become known to be one of the very social and loving pet animals. In fact, they like having some time to interact and play with their humans. Although toys can be used to help them get over boredom, they can get very depressed and lonely if they do not get enough human interaction, in some cases, having another pet bunny in the house helps.
Pet rabbits are described to be a little bit of cats and a little bit of dogs, but completely unique. They can be very similar to cats since they can be trained to do potty in litter box while they can be very similar to dogs because they can get very excited when they see you come home.
Another characteristic that makes rabbits unique as pets is they typically do not like being picked up. If you want to spend time with them, you will have to be sitting on the floor, let them get used to your presence and when they sit next to you, and then you can start petting them. Rabbits are classified as predatory animals and they can compare the act of picking them up is very similar to a huge animal preying on them. However, if you really want to hold the rabbit, you can carefully pick them up properly. To do this, put one hand around the rib cage while your other hand scooping the rabbit’s bottom. This will protect both of you from getting hurt.
Lastly, it is very important that they are neutered and spayed, to trim down actions that is motivate by hormones such as spraying, lunging, boxing and mounting. In addition, spaying lowers the risk of uterine cancer among female bunnies.
Can you Keep Pet Rabbit Indoors?
Pets are the most loyal and loving companions one can have. Many people are now seeing the fun and companionship that comes with owning a pet. Usually, people own puppies, kittens, and birds. The more bizarre choices include reptiles, spiders, and pigs. Some of you may not have the inclination to these animals and would like a fluffy and cute bunny instead but you’re wondering whether you can actually keep them inside your house without any problems.
Here are some good reminders and pointers you would want to consider if you plan on owning an indoor rabbit:
Nature of Rabbits
Rabbits are intelligent and social animals capable of human companionship. They are often cautious and timid in nature. In their natural habitat, they live in groups; usually within burrows. Rabbits are most active in dawn and dusk and live on the average of 9-12 years. They can hardly stay still and are very active. They chew on almost anything to be preoccupied. Furthermore, a rabbit has fragile bones in the back and needs proper support when handling. The owner needs to know the proper handling methods if he/she plans to take care of one. Often, rabbits can display aggression if threatened. They bite but usually not with enough force to inflict wounds. These can be corrected by behavioural tools and winning the creature’s trust. They also need regular physical and mental exercise to stay healthy.
Housing Your Rabbit
Rabbits can either be kept in the backyard or indoors. Some practice putting out the rabbit outside during the day in good weather to roam free and placed indoors for the night. This will give the rabbit daylight and space to exercise. However, they may fall prey to stray animals and other predators that can wander your yard. Some owners prefer to keep their rabbits indoor to roam free. This is not achieved without proper training and precautions. Rabbits often chew on anything they can and you need to keep chords away from sight or reach of the animal to avoid electrocution. If you want to minimize them from chewing on your furniture then it is wise to give them toys to play with and a lot of attention to keep them preoccupied. If you do not have the time to spare in training the animals, then you might want to keep them in a cage. There are a lot of types you can choose from depending on your preference and needs.
- Custom Enclosures – These are fenced or boxed areas where a bunny can freely roam. You can build these with wood, metal, or repurposed furniture. However, never use chicken wires since they can chew on them and get hurt.
- Cages – design the cage according to your living arrangements but be sure it’s not too small. Do not keep your bunny locked up in the cage the whole day and bring them out to exercise for at least two hours. Some prefer cages with wire bottoms to facilitate cleaning but be sure that you place a piece of wood or platform where the bunny can lie or stand on to avoid damaging its paws.
What are The Basics of Having a Pet Rabbit?
Rabbits have always been a popular choice as pets all over the world. This might have something to with its cuddly body and the soulful eyes that these bunnies have. There are also many kids and even adults who are enamored with the rabbits that are featured in various storybooks as well as animated films or shows resulting to their decision to get bunnies as their pets. Rabbits are cute and nobody would argue about that but there are also some things that those who would like to get the bunnies as pets would have to be aware of. There are some basics that they have to learn about keeping rabbits as pets.
Choosing the Pet Rabbit
Rabbits come in various breeds and the first thing to do would be to determine which ones they would like to have. Getting the right ones is recommended such having an angora rabbit if they want rabbits with longer and softer furs while the Rex rabbit would be more suitable for those who would like to have ones whose furs are velvety but short. Those who prefer to have the ones with long and floppy ears that are often similar to those found in the stuffed toy bunnies can have the lop rabbits.
Making the Rabbits Feel at Home
Once the rabbits are chosen and these are brought home there should be a cage or a hutch for them to live in. Since they do not have burrows to go to in the house then the hutch would be a good alternative for them. It is suggested that their hutch should be divided into two with ones serving as the sleeping area and the other as the living area where the food, water and other things are placed. It is important that these are kept clean and secure. The temperature of the hutch should also be more temperate – not too cold nor too hot. The rabbits though can tolerate lower temperature much better than the higher one. The beddings of the rabbit can be made using clean straw or wood shavings. Avoid using hay or grass as beddings because the rabbits may eat it even if these are not that clean anymore.
Feeding and Caring for the Rabbits
Just like any other creatures, rabbits need sustenance in order for them to survive. A healthy and balanced diet should also be provided to them. There are prepared rabbit foods that are available in pet stores and these are often recommended because it can answer the nutritional needs of the pet rabbit. Make sure that these foods though have plenty of fiber such as alfalfa. The protein level though should be controlled because it might affect the rabbit’s respiratory tract. A regular rabbit which weighs around 6 to 8 pounds would usually require about 100 grams of food daily. Their meal time should also be regular. They should also have exercise so that their body condition is better. Their grooming can be done once a week by combing their hair in the same direction.
What Kind of Rabbit is Most Commonly Found at a Pet Store?
Rabbits make quite the great pets. They’re vivacious, cuddly, and quiet for an animal that’s known for their energy. With that said, it is tough asking pet stores what breeds they’re selling, because many of their owners don’t know all that much about the rabbits themselves. If you want a rabbit, they’ll just give you one. They’re not like dogs where every last breed is classified.
Breeds of Rabbits and Where to Buy Them
You should consult with an expert, like someone with a Department of Agriculture license, in order to classify and give you the different rabbit breeds available out there. There are quite a lot of stores that don’t care about the rules in taking care of a rabbit, even if they’re simple rules like informing that a bunny lives for about a decade or more. It’s important to know as much as possible about breeds, because some rabbits become bigger than other rabbits despite having virtually the same look as babies at first glance. Therefore, knowing breeds isn’t simply for the sake of picking a bunny of a certain color.
It’s best to buy rabbits from breeders instead of pet stores because the latter have more respect and take more care in dealing with these silent pets. They’re living beings that should be taken care as carefully as possible. These breeder folk know all there is to know about their bunnies, from their medical history to their health. There are, for example, the lop breeds, and the mini-lop happens to be the second most common breed sold by breeders or pet stores. They can grow to about six pounds.
More Information about Bunny Breeds and Choosing a Rabbit
For their weight, rabbits can be quite large. They can grow to about the size of a small cat. As for the most common breeds sold in stores and by breeders, they’re the straight-ear, “Bugs Bunny” variety of rabbits. They’re an American breed and they’re mostly used as meat rabbits that are culled and sold to pet shops. Unlike the lop-eared bunnies, these bunnies can grow all the way upwards from 10 to 12 pounds, which is heavier than the heaviest Shih Tzu. At any rate, those are just the general breeds. The more specific types of rabbits will not only vary in size and ear type, but also in fur, color, and body type.
Some hares have lean bodies, while others are more rounded and soft like those stuffed toys. A rabbit can even go as low as two pounds to upwards of 20 pounds in weight, although the established average is nine pounds. The best rabbit breeds, like the best dog breeds, have striking appearances, so they’re commonly displayed in pet stores so that they could reel in buyers through their good looks. Also, like canines, the lupus species also have mixed breeds available that have offbeat charm of their own. Just as a mutt with no distinct parentage can appeal to people, so too can mixed breeds with characteristics deemed by breeders as faults.
What Things Will I Need to Buy for a Pet Rabbit?
Before getting your own pet rabbit, there are several things you need to know about them, chief among them what you need to buy for it. First and foremost, you must prepare the materials required for the quiet, cute, cuddly, and furry mammal’s living area. They’d never live or survive in cages because rabbits are known for their activeness. They’ll be hopping all over the place normally, so you need a wide open area for them to do the thing they do without outright buying a ranch and a farm for them. You should offer these gregarious, active animals a lot of leeway for exploration, such as two-tier or three-tier rabbit “condos”.
Your Bunny Might Require an Entire Room
If you live in an apartment, it might be a good idea to simply use a room for your bunny to stay at since having a whole room works and provides him all the space he’d ever want. Of course, you shouldn’t simply empty a room and presume that everything will be fine. You need to rabbit-proof it first so that your bunny won’t end up escaping and whatnot. You want him to freely move around, yes, but he shouldn’t be too free to put in poop pellets all over your pristine house. You can use part of your kitchen, your family room, or your bedroom as the rabbit’s abode.
The best rabbit pens are dog or puppy exercise pens, because they’re useful and wide. Your pen should at least be 32 to 36 inches tall to ensure that those hoppers don’t end up hopping out of their home and into the rest of your house. Anything shorter will enable the rabbit to go over it like it was a hurdle at track and field. With that said, you should realize that rabbits won’t be spending all their time in that pen. They need something or someplace else to spend time at.
Appropriate Litter, Water Bottle, and Hay
Feline pine products are great for rabbits. As for what you should put in your litter box, you should buy Carefresh and Yesterday’s News, because they’re made of paper products or recycled newspapers. Clay cat litter is a no-no for rabbits because they can cause problems for these poor sensitive bunnies. You can line your litter box with flat or shredded newspaper with hay on top. As for the hay that’s part of your rabbit’s diet (they don’t just eat carrots), it should be grass or timothy hay.
You also require a water bottle or heavy water crock to keep your rabbit hydrated. A bowl or crock is where rabbits drink the most, although water bottles are also acceptable. The thing with bottles is that you need to take a few precautions. For example, you should check the bottle daily in order to make sure that it’s not clogged in any way. What’s more, you can’t let water lay stagnant in the bottle; you should instead empty and refill it every day to make sure that your bunny is acquiring fresh liquid every time.