Metro Pets

By Sharon Gomes Thomas

Not all of us are dog, cat or even lizard people. Some of us might want a pet that is a pure ball of fluff like a bunny. Before you go out and get a rabbit, be sure you know what’s in store for you. Contrary to popular belief, having a rabbit as a pet is not low maintenance at all. As with all pets, they require time, patience, money and education. And if you are allergic to a dog or cat, it’s likely you’ll be sneezer with a rabbit too. Here are a few pointers if you’re thinking of a rabbit (not the chocolate kind) this Easter.

Rabbits, like all social creatures, get bored if left with nothing to do, so you must provide them with bunny safe toys. These may include baby rattles (not the teething type), cardboard rolls, balls, untreated wicker baskets stuffed with hay and apple twigs. Chewing is necessary for rabbits as their teeth grow continuously so they need to be provided with bunny safe wooden chews at all times. Or else you can say goodbye to your cherished antique table that Grandma gave you. Your rabbit will chew on other items such as furniture, electrical cords (very dangerous obviously!) and just about anything left in its path, so be sure to bunny proof and not to leave anything on the floor you do not want chewed. For toys, food and other rabbit supplies, go to the comprehensive online pet store Doctors Foster and Smith and Ph: 909-591-7200. The site also has a library of rabbit information articles.

Rabbits do much better in pairs and with the proper introduction they will bond for life. Rabbits are very territorial and bonding rabbits must be done very carefully in a neutral territory for about 10 minutes a day. Make sure your rabbits are spayed or neutered before starting the bonding process. You know the popular saying “…like rabbits”! So do the responsible thing.

Rabbits are not quiet creatures! They will grunt (when scared or happy), purr or even grind their teeth (this usually means they are in discomfort). They also binky (twist and jump in the air), periscope and even tiptoe! For more explanations on bunny behavior, seek out answers at Fuzzy Rabbit

Like cats, rabbits will easily train themselves to use a litter box. Just provide a large litter box with rabbit safe litter, and pile hay on top. Rabbits like to graze and poop at the same time! So keeping hay in the litter box gets them to use it and to eat more hay!

A rabbit’s diet should be made up of unlimited grass type hay, fresh veggies and limited pellets. Hay should be fed unlimited on a daily basis, one of the most important parts of a rabbit’s diet, and their digestion. Make sure your rabbit is eating lots of hay.

Rabbits should live inside your house with you, as part of the family. Rabbits should never be kept in a cage as most cages are too small for a rabbit to live in. Keep in mind that rabbits need just as much exercise as a cat or dog and must have room to run around. Some rabbits live free in the house but it must be rabbit proofed meaning all cords covered or out of reach, no poisonous plants, no animals or children that can harm them and no way to get out. Keep in mind that a smallest space a rabbit can live in is 4ftx4ft square. Small rabbits need just as much room to run around as large rabbits do.

For more info on rabbit care, go Bunny Bunch a no-kill non-profit rescue organization Ph: 909-591-7200.

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Originally published April 2009
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