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Owning a pet rabbit, part 2

Posted 10-08-2008 at 10:28 PM by Ethane
Welcome to part two, for all of you folks still hellbent on owning a rabbit.

Let's talk about where you're going to put your rabbit first. Rabbits have to have a caged enclosure, because you can't have them running around while you're asleep or gone because they'll destroy the place. The cages they sell at pet stores for rabbits are generally fine, but if you own a larger rabbit you're going to want it to have more space in its downtime. A larger playpen is good choice, if you have the room for it. If you have a carpet floor, be sure to put down a hard material like plywood for the floor, otherwise kiss your carpet goodbye.

As for bedding, don't ever use cedar. Cedar is bad mojo for rodents, and can eventually kill them. Rabbit fanatics prefer you only use aspen shavings or some other exotic bedding, but dust-free pine that you get from the store is fine. I've talked to enough rabbit owners and a vet around this area, which is a farming community, and they've had pet rabbits live long healthy lives using it. Also, if dust-free pine is so catastrophic for rabbits, I don't think they'd be able to get away with marketing and selling it for rabbits. (I can't wait for a rabbit nut to send me a caustic email me about that one)

Rabbits enjoy their freedom, but at the same time they consider their cage (and their corner of the house) to be theirs. They're particular about their cage and will keep an eye on you while you clean it out. Usually after cleaning, they'll go in there and re-arrange to suit themselves. It's really amusing to watch.

Make sure they have plenty of time out of the cage to play around. They're active little creatures who need space to run around in.

If you want to let them play outside, you're going to have to make sure they're still restricted and at the same time protected from the scroungy old alley cat who roams the neighborhood looking for a easy meal. Rabbits are natural digging machines and won't pass up a chance to make a burrow. They'll also level your mom's cute little flower patch like a tornado came through. You'll also have to keep them from chewing on any plants that could be potentially harmful or fatal.

When it comes time to call it a night, don't be afraid to pick the rabbit up and put it in the cage if you have to. Some owners claim this will distress the rabbit, but I'd rather the rabbit be distressed than me be late for work because I stayed up all night trying to sweet-talk a rodent into getting into its cage.

You'll be surprised how much food a rabbit can go through. Leviticus can't weigh more than two pounds, but she can annihilate a 5 pound bag of rabbit chow in a matter of weeks, so good thing the stuff is cheap. Rabbit chow is a balanced food that should be fine for the most part, but it's a good idea to give them store-bought, bagged hay or alfalfa. I wouldn't reccomend going out and grabbing hay from a field or if you don't know what you're doing, because mold in hay can be dangerous for livestock and no telling what it'll do to your bucktoothed little friend.

Rabbits love to eat the hell out of greens and veggies. Yes, they love carrots. Reccomendations from other owners can range from fresh veggies being a treat to the nutcases who set up a salad bar for the critters. Others stress that they should only eat dark green veggies, others even get so specific as to what type of lettuce they should be fed.

It kind of makes you wonder how them poor rabbits in the wild get by, doesn't it? Also, other pets like cats and dogs get by just fine without a wildly varied or controlled diet. Just use common sense and you'll be fine. Rabbit chow is fine for the bulk of their diet.

Just like cats and dogs, rabbits tend to calm down and become more manageable after being neutered and spayed. For females, this is very important because they're at a high risk for cancer if they don't get fixed. Once your little pal comes home, finding a vet to do this procedure should become a priority.

Your next priority is to rabbit-proof the area where you're going to let them run around. Rabbits that can reach an electrical cord will chew them up. If the cord is plugged in, the only consolation that I can give you is you now have a fully-cooked rabbit after the event. If you live in a farming or ranch community, you might be able to find sprays that discourage animals from gnawing by leaving a horrid taste in their mouths. I have this and use it, and it hasn't harmed Leviticus at all, but she sure appreciates quick access to her water bottle to wash the taste out.

Like I said in the first part, I don't know what specific breed Leviticus is, but for the picky, there's a lot ot choose from. Dwarf rabbits and lops (the droopy eared kind) tend to be the most popular in America now, mainly because they're so darned cute.

They're also the biggest assholes of the rabbit world. From everything I've read, they're the most tempermental, but over time they can become nice happy little adjusted fellows.

Also a lot of folks assume that the tiny little droopy eared (lop) rabbits are like their cartoon namesake, placid and relaxed. This is a myth, because they're generally the cracksmokers of the rabbit world. You could also get a laid-back potsmoking lop, too. It's assumed that the size of the rabbit dictates how much fight it has, with the smallest being like the little hyper guy at the bar whose head is darting around everywhere and the biggest rabbits being the gentle giants.

Rabbits, like cats and dogs, will pin their ears back when they're not too happy about something. When they hop around, shaking their head and kicking about, that means they're generally happy with their life (at the moment). Like cats, they will experience nitro injection and suddenly tear through the house at mach 10.

One thing Leviticus likes to do when she wants attention is to sit down on and stare directly at me. If I'm walking around, she'll run circles around my leg. If I'm laying on the couch reading a book, she will eventually jump on my chest and and nudge me until I give in and pet her. Like I said, I was lucky - my next rabbit could be a grumpy fart who wants to sit in the corner hating life. You never know when it comes to these creatures.

If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

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Comments

  1. Kudaranai's Avatar
    I've always wanted a hamster. :<

    /totally unrelated
    permalink
    Posted 10-08-2008 at 11:58 PM by Kudaranai Kudaranai is offline
  2. Ethane's Avatar
    I've always found hamsters to be ill-tempered, but that's just me
    permalink
    Posted 10-09-2008 at 12:38 AM by Ethane Ethane is offline
  3. PedroRomero's Avatar
    i never was a hamster fan myself. hamsters are escape artist aren't they? I know ppl who can never keep them in their cage over night...

    anyway thanks for such a good guide on rabbits. It only made me want one more. lol they seem nice. I guess it'll be something to look forward to when I move out.
    permalink
    Posted 10-09-2008 at 06:03 AM by PedroRomero PedroRomero is offline
  4. Torikakae's Avatar
    Can you provide links to the sites you've been to that has info about bunnies? I don't wanna wander through the internet only to find one of those bunny fanatic sites.
    permalink
    Posted 12-12-2008 at 06:39 PM by Torikakae Torikakae is offline
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