Rabbit Care Guide: Basic Bunny Facts For New Owners
If you're considering getting a pet rabbit, then you'll need these basic bunny facts up front. These are by no means a comprehensive guide, but they do give a brief overview of a bunny's needs. This article is designed to give you an idea of what you'd be getting yourself into if you were to get a pet rabbit, or what you may have already gotten into if you are new to rabbit keeping.
Contrary to popular opinion, rabbits are not low maintenance pets. You will need to spend time socializing your rabbit, petting it, and allowing it to run free in a safe and confined space every now and then. Rabbits are very intelligent, highly active animals that need exercise and crave attention.
Depending on the breed of rabbit, bunnies range from about minis that come in at about, 3 ½ pounds, 'normal sized' rabbits, which can be around 9 to 12 pounds, and giant rabbits which can come in at 22 pounds or more and be bigger than a dog. A smaller rabbit may take up less space, but it may also be high energy and need to be allowed more exercise.
Rabbits generally thrive on a diet of pellets, an unlimited supply of hay (they should be allowed to free feed), and treats of fresh foods such as carrot, and apple. These last foods should not be given in large amounts as they carry high amounts of sugar and starch, which can make your bunny sick. Hay and pellets are the key ingredients to a healthy bunny diet. The pellets should not be filled with nuts, fruit and seeds. While this may look pretty, they are not part of a bunny's natural diet, and can cause health problems and icky fecal messes.
Rabbit CANNOT be fed lettuce, as it can kill them. Niether should they be fed broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, or similar gas causing vegetables. Rabbits cannot pass gas.
Rabbits can nip and bite, especially if time is not taken to socialize them well.
Rabbits also need to be groomed. Long hair rabbits may need daily grooming, and even short haired rabbits will need their nails clipped regularly to prevent them from over growing.
Rabbits should be spayed, as it can cut down on unwanted litters, and in does, reduce the chances of cancer considerably. Over 80% of unspayed does are likely to develop cancer within 4 years. Save your rabbit this painful and early death and get her spayed. Male rabbits should also be fixed as it improves their temperament and reduces marking behavior.
Rabbits are house pets and can be toilet trained. They have a strong natural instinct to go in one spot, which they establish fairly early on. Establish this spot as being in their cage, and they will return to their cage to go potty instead of going on your carpet.
Rabbits are huge chewers, so your home will need to be rabbit proofed. Houseplants and cords are two bunny favorites that can cause inconvenience, sickness, and death if chewed on, so make sure that these are not in the bunny's way.
You will need bunny toys for your bunny to play with. They delight in chewing, ripping things up, and tossing things around. A bored bunny is a bad bunny, and will take its instincts out on your furniture and fixtures.
Rabbis can be very mischievous and delight in doing things you don't want them to do. Like any pet, they demand care and attention. They are quite similar to cats in many ways, and rabbits are known to form strong bonds with their owners.
More by this Author
Rabbits, whilst being incredibly cute, playful, fun little individuals, also have some tendencies that may be somewhat surprising to the uninitiated. Though they are prey animals, they can have a somewhat vicious streak...
What foods you can feed your rabbit, and what is not safe.
Just because your rabbit will eat it doesn't mean it's good. Read on for a list of no-nos and things to avoid when feeding your bunny.