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
Rescue - this rabbit rescue serves Ontario, Canada and has
some great links and information to learn about caring for a
Rabbit Society - this is great resource for learning about
rabbits. Tons of articles on everything from care to
Rabbit Education Organization - this site has lots of
information and some neat ideas too!
to Care for Rabbits - a basic introduction from the Humane
Society of the United States.
& 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.
Overload - check out the bunny category for some really
adorable pictures. They update with new ones periodically.
or Neuter my Rabbit - by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.
Everything you ever wanted to know about
rabbits but were afraid to ask ...