THINKING OF A PET BUNNY?
By JULIE McCORMICK
There are over forty recognized breeds of rabbits ranging from twenty pound giants to two pound dwarfs. Rabbits come in a variety of sizes, colors and personalities. They are warm, gentle creatures that require time, commitment and care. The more affection you lavish on your bunny, the friendlier it will become. If you're patient, gentle, loving and kind, a bunny just might be the pet for you.
Rabbits make wonderful companions for the right people:
Basic Bunny Facts
- Are you patient?
- Have a sense of humor?
- Do you enjoy watching the movements and learning the language of another species?
- Does your schedule include plenty of time at home?
- Are you comfortable spending a lot of time on the floor?
- Are you not overly fussy with your furniture?
There are serveral places you might go to find your new pet:
- Rabbits can be litterbox trained
- They can live to be 7-10 years old
- Rabbits are inquisitive, sociable animals.
- They make wonderful indoor companions.
- Rabbits can purr when contented.
- Like cats and dogs, rabbits need to be spayed or neutered to improve health and behavior .
- Most rabbits do not like to be held? They prefer to sit beside you.
- Rabbits like to play with toys, such as cardboard boxes, wire cat balls, hard plastic baby keys, untreated willow baskets.
- Rabbits need to have things of their own to chew on (or they might nibble on your stuff).
- Rabbits need to be protected from predators, poisons, temperature extremes, electrical cords, and rough handling.
- Local Animal Shelter - Too many bunnies end up here after an "impulse buyer" desides that it's just too much work to care for a bunny. This is where "Easter" rabbits, given as cute little bunnies, often end up later.
- Local Pet Store
- Local 4-H Club - These youngsters are learning about animal husbandry and are usually quite proud and eager to share their knowledge with you.
- Local Breeder/Rabbit Clubs - There might be more in your area than you realize. Contact the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) for information on breeders and rabbit clubs in your area.
- Local Rabbit Shows/County & State Fairs - This is a great place to view the tremendous diversity of rabbits out there.
- House Rabbit Society - Here is an on-line site where abandoned bunnies are looking for warm and loving homes.
Wherever you end up getting your bunny, here are some things you should keep in mind as you look:
- Teeth - look for clean, even teeth that meet in the front. Malocclusion is a genetic condition where the teeth do not grow properly, though at times malocclusion may be caused temporarily from a broken tooth. Rabbits have "ever growing" incisors and it is very important that these teet come together and wear properly.
- Ears - look for clean ears. If the ears contain dirt and residue, it could be a sign of parasites such as ear mites.
- Eyes - look for clear, bright eyes. Eyes that weep or are matted could be a sign of disease or infection.
- Nose - look for a clean nose. Discharge and matted fur can be signs of disease and infection.
- Fur - look for a bright, shiny coat. The coat reflects the overall condition of the rabbit.
Before you go off and actually get your new bunny, you should make sure that you think ahead as to what your new pet will need.
Your new bunny is going to need a place to call home and it is your responsibility to make sure your new pet has a clean, secure place to live. There are a wide variety of rabbit cages on the market. Make sure your bunny has plenty of room to move around in. The cage should have a removable tray that catches droppings and urine and can easily be cleaned.
Here is some additional reading on housing your bunny:
This is a topic of debate among many bunny owners. Some people believe in strictly adhering to a pellet-only diet, while others will only feed fresh food. Whichever way you go, you should be prepared with food for when your new bunny arrives. Check with whoever you are purchasing your bunny from and get the same food that your bunny has been eating. Changes in diet should be gradual, not sudden. If you find that a certain food causes diarrhea, discontinue feeding that food immediately.
Whether you feed your bunny pellets, fresh foods or a mixture of the two, you should always make sure that your bunny has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
- Pellets and Fresh Food - here is an excellent article on pellets and fresh food from the Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital.
- Food & Diet - from the House Rabbit Society.
This brief article in no way covers everything you will need to learn. Please, take the time to read up on owning a rabbit. There are some very good books available in your local libraries and bookstores. The House Rabbit Handbook is a good place to begin. The time you take now will help you later, when you finally have your furry little friend safe at home. Good luck!
Bunny owners and breeders... tell us about your pets. E-mail email@example.com
Return to Medley Library Menu
Return to Medley Main Menu