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The Basics

A few things to consider before you get a bunny.

Bunnies have a need to chew.   They do this to grind their teeth down as they continue to grow.  So make sure your bunny has lots of chewable toys and mineral stones.  This may not stop him from chewing on the furniture, cable TV wires or baseboards but it can help.  If you get a bunny, just resolve yourself to the fact that your furniture, especially wooden, could get damaged.  We have a young son so much of our furniture has seen better days because of constant chocolate fingers, suckers stuck to carpets and couches, juice stains and whatnot.  Save yourself the grief and get a throw blanket to put over the bad spots, wash it when its dirty and get on with your day.  If you're really set on having a show place, hang a velvet rope across the living room and don't let any animals or young children in.  We don't mind the "lived-in" look ourselves, or at least we've become used to it having pets and a young child.

Bunnies are delicate and must be handled properly.  They have very strong leg muscles and if they struggle when not being held correctly or try to jump away and hit something on the way down, they can break bones or even their spine.  Always support their back ends which is where they carry much of their weight.  Their skin is paper thin and can tear easily.  Never let a young child hold a bunny, lift them under their arms or pick them up by their ears.  That is only for cartoons.

Spaying and neutering will help with behavioural issues as well as odour.  Unaltered bunnies are at higher risk for testicular or uterine cancer and generally do not live as long.  It is also essential to bonding the bunny to another.  Try a local Rabbit Rescue organization for referrals to bunny savvy vets in your area.  Often they will know of a vet that is not only experienced with exotic animals but will offer a discount for being referred by a rabbit rescue organization.  You'll need to keep a couple names of vets handy in case of emergency because you don't want to be frantically calling around for a vet at the last minute.  It happened to me and I ended up losing my first bunny, possibly because the vet I was able to get an emergency appointment with was not very experienced with rabbits and could not provide the proper treatment.

Above all, remember you are making an 8-10 year commitment when you get a bunny.  Do not get them for children, because you are the one that will ultimately be responsible for taking care of them.  Do not get them for special occasions like Easter or Christmas.  They are a living animal, not a cute gift idea.

Our foster bunnies come to us through Rabbit Rescue which operates in Ontario, Canada.  

There are many reasons bunnies come into the care of Rabbit Rescue.  The owners may give them up to animal shelters because of allergies, moving, or sometimes they "got tired" of taking care of them.  Some of the bunnies have been abused and sustain permanent physical damage.  They may be mal-nourished, have broken bones or even have ears cut off.  Many bunnies have been found outside.  I couldn't comment on releasing a bunny outside any better than  Dana Krempels, Ph.D*:

"Our domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are derived from an ancient line of the wild European rabbit. European rabbits live in warrens (a series of underground tunnels excavated by family groups) in an established territory. A domestic rabbit who has been abandoned in a park that looks inviting and safe to a human has been sentenced to a cruel death: s/he has no warren in which to hide from predators or from the elements; s/he has no family, and if there are resident feral rabbits in the area, s/he will most likely be attacked ferociously because she is not a member of the warren. If s/he survives the threat of predators, cars, humans running their dogs and other immediate dangers, s/he will soon succumb to parasites, disease and starvation. Turning a rabbit loose in a wild area is not much different from turning a human loose, naked, in the most dangerous neighborhood in town. Don't consign your rabbit friend to such a fate."


Rabbit Rescue - this rabbit rescue serves Ontario, Canada and has some great links and information to learn about caring for a bunny.

House Rabbit Society - this is great resource for learning about rabbits.  Tons of articles on everything from care to behaviour.

Ontario Rabbit Education Organization - this site has lots of information and some neat ideas too!

How to Care for Rabbits - a basic introduction from the Humane Society of the United States.

Charky & Ash's Website - lots of info there, in particular, check out the rabbit refs tab for a ton of links, including those of rabbit rescue organizations.

Cute Overload - check out the bunny category for some really adorable pictures.  They update with new ones periodically.

*Spay or Neuter my Rabbit - by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


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