Lately I’ve been hearing some stories of people wanting to give away their pet rabbit. It’s really sad but I wasn’t surprised. Many people who see rabbits as “cute little bunnies” don’t initially know how much work taking care of them requires.
I didn’t even know until I first got Pup, but I didn’t give up on him. I read a lot of rabbit care books and went on many helpful web sites.
So that being said, I decided to create a list of the things that people who want a rabbit should know before getting one.
Before you even consider a pet you need to look into your financial situation. Rabbits are expensive! I can’t stress that enough. Vet costs (certain procedures are high like you wouldn’t believe), food, pellets, bedding, hay, cage, toys, cleaning supplies–it all adds up! A big chunk of money from my bank account goes towards my rabbits. I frequent the grocery store to buy organic veggies and the pet store to buy bedding and hay. All of the above I mentioned are imperative for rabbits to live a quality life! This is not an area to be stingy in!
Rabbits are messy. Not physically messy, they are actually very clean and often groom themselves endlessly, but they enjoy making a mess. Now that I have 2 rabbits living in my room with me, I have to vacuum at least 3x a week. There is hay and bedding constantly being scattered around my bedroom carpet. Poop often gets flown from their cages and onto my carpet as well when they are burrowing and digging around. Sometimes there will be urine accidents and they are tough to get out if not cleaned right away (rabbit urine ranges from dark orange, red, and yellow depending on the current diet).
Rabbits destroy things. My rabbits try to eat everything in sight. Never leave anything out that is harmful, because they will find a way to eat it. [True story: I absent-mindedly left a tube of toothpaste on my desk and went downstairs to the bathroom for no more then 1 or 2 minutes. I came back up and Pup was on top of my desk eating some tooth paste. I freaked out because there are ingredients (such as xylitol) that can kill a rabbit. I was on the phone with Animal Poison Control telling them everything I knew and listening to every instruction on what to do. I ended up having to pay a $75 fee! Pup ended up being fine but it was still scary as h3*&.] They like chewing on electrical cords, paper, wood, carpet, cardboard, fabric–you name it! My carpet is shredded and has pulls in many areas because Pup and Luna are both biting and digging into it. [Another true story: Pup bit the cord from my lamp that was plugged into the outlet and he got zapped. The part where he bit turned black and started smoking. Thankfully he wasn’t harmed (maybe a little shocked) but it taught me a a huge lesson and now I have cord protectors covering all wires.]
Rabbits can jump high. Very high. Those big feet have a purpose. They will jump up on your bed, dresser, desk, chairs, and tables. Be careful. They can get hurt.
Rabbits are silent animals. Aside from the digging and banging on cages when they feel like being pests, they don’t make much noise. They grunt when mad and scream when scared or in pain. Let me warn you: you never want to hear a rabbit scream. It is horrifying and upsetting. Pup is a screamer at the vet. He doesn’t like being picked up (like all rabbits) and prodded at. It is an ear-piercing high-pitched sound. The first time I took Pup to the vet I didn’t even know where the noise came from. So always keep a careful eye and ear out.
Rabbits are animals of prey. That being said, they do not like being picked up, especially high off the ground. They feel threatened easily. They are very light sleepers. They will wake up at the slightest sound. They get scared very easily. Heart attacks can be caused by loud noises (nearby construction, loud music, yelling). If there is construction on or near your house, you may want to board your rabbit(s) for a few days or have someone who knows how to take care of rabbits pet-sit for you. It may seem silly at first, but it can save their life.
Rabbits have personalities and behaviors. Different ones at that. Pup is aggressive but has his sweet moments. He is also hilarious. Just watching him run around the room, play, move things with his nose, and jump make me smile and laugh. Luna is a scaredy-cat. One slight move in her direction and she will dart away from you. She is slowly slowly slowly getting braver now though. She is also very very sweet. She looves running and jumping multiple times in a row around my room. Pup is a biter, Luna has never bitten me. Rabbit bites (not nips) hurt very bad! Their teeth are razor sharp–they are constantly growing (hence the constant chewing they do).
Rabbits do love carrots, but they should be fed as a snack. They have lots of sugar and sugar can give a rabbit diarrhea (which is deadly). Their diet should consist of hay, more hay, and green vegetables. Fruit is considered a snack due to the high sugar content as well.
Rabbits should be neutered/spayed. If a female rabbit is not spayed she has a great risk of developing uterine cancer, which is almost always incurable. Male rabbits should be neutered because their behaviors tend to calm down and become easier to manage (not in Pup’s case). That goes for female rabbits as well. We have their raging hormones to thank for that behavior.
Rabbits should be taken to the vet for annual checkups just like you and a dog or cat should be. Unfortunately they are susceptible to many illnesses. Vets will examine them, take their temperature, clip their nails, and feel around for health problems which can be hard to tell by solely our own judgement.
The above facts are just a few of the many important things one should know about rabbits. To get the full 411 I suggest visiting the websites of The House Rabbit Society as well as My House Rabbit. They are both an excellent source of vital information. Facts were written from my own knowledge [based on my experiences and what I have learned from owning 2 rabbits] but I have linked helpful information from MyHouseRabbit.com that pertain to certain facts.