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Choosing a Pet Bunny

Updated on December 9, 2008
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Sunshine is a wife, mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and author.


Choosing the right rabbit for your family can be a wonderful experience. There are currently over 40 breeds of rabbit. Dwarf breeds can be as small as two pounds, and the larger breeds can weigh more than 16. All breeds come in a variety of colors. Some breeds, such as the Mini Rex, have fur so soft, it's like a slice of heaven. Others, such as the Angora, need constant grooming, because their fur grows long, thick, and can mat easily. The best way to choose the right rabbit for your family is to attend a rabbit show in your area. There, you can speak to many breeders about the breed they specialize in. Not only that, you can see all of the colors up close, and feel all of the different furs as well. Choose whether you want a buck (male) or doe (female), and if you want a baby or adult. After playing with different kinds of rabbits, you can choose which one will best fit your family.

If you have another pet, such as a cat or dog, introduce them slowly. Most cats and dogs love bunny friends, but some can't get past the hunting instinct. If you have a cat or dog that wants to chew on your bunny, make sure you keep it in a room that isn't accessible to your little hunter.

  • Habitat

Housing your rabbit is another decision you have to make before you purchase your bunny. Do you want a hutch outside? Do you want a cage inside? Do you need a cage? Where do you start? Whether you have them inside or outside, they need to be in a cage with a wire bottom, so their poop can fall through, and they don't have to walk in their waste. Rabbits can become extremely ill very quickly if they have to spend any time in their own waste. Keep a water bottle attached to the side at all times.

If you choose not to have a cage, make sure you give them a private place to hide, such as an animal carrier. Make sure they have water accessible at all times, they have a litter box, and that their area is safe for them. Rabbits are chewers and explorers, so if you don't want it nibbled on, keep it where your bunny can't get to it.

Don't use carpets or cardboard on the wire. This can make your bunny very sick. If you're worried about their feet, cage companies sell special floor mats just for bunnies. The only breed that has issues with the wire bottom of cages is Mini Rex, because they have a joint in their leg that is different, so if you choose one, be sure to get a floor mat, but wash it regularly. If you choose not to have a floor mat, you can prevent arthritis by giving your bunny floor time every day.

If you choose an outside hutch, make sure it's high enough off the ground to keep predators from getting them. Also, make sure a raccoon can't open the latch, because their hands are very dexterous, and you don't want to loose your bun to one of them. Should you choose an indoor cage, make sure you put it in a place where they can't easily bounce around and make the cage fall over. Make sure to clean the cage often. Give them chew toys to play with. The best cages for rabbits have removable trays underneath to make cleaning easier. Don't use pine bedding for your rabbit. It can promote respiratory infections. Bedding is not needed, but if you must, use straw which can be purchased at feed stores.


  • Handling

Handle your bunny often. Remember, they are prey animals, so they will be skittish for a while. If you work with them, they can be easily litter trained, and will quickly become a love. The more you love them, the more they'll love you. Remember to clip their nails often, because even if they aren't trying to get away from you, unclipped claws can really hurt. If you have a long haired bunny, keep them groomed so they don't mat up. Rabbits can also be leash trained, so you can take them to the park, or out for walks. Be aware that dogs and cats naturally want to chase bunnies, so if you see a dog headed your way, scoop up your bunny so he doesn't become lunch.

  • Feeding

Feed your rabbit pellets that you can purchase at the pet or feed store. Alfalfa should be available all the time. Limit veggies and fruit to one or two times per week because of high calorie content, and some vegetables accumulate in their bodies and become toxic. Make sure you give your rabbit a salt wheel, and attach it to the side of the cage so it doesn't get covered in waste. Don't ever let your bunny run out of water.

Make sure to have your pet spayed or neutered, especially if you plan to have more than one, and you don't want any little baby bunnies every month. When you make the commitment to have a rabbit in your life, make sure you're willing to foot the bill if they need to go to the vet, because they deserve it. When you choose to make a bunny part of the family, you will soon learn how fulfilling they can be. Their funny personalities and big hearts make them wonderful pets for anyone from kids to adults.

To learn more about different breeds of bunnies, go to


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      Bunnylover 5 years ago

      Thank you, that was really helpful, radgirl.

      I got a baby girl rabbit a few days ago and I'm not sure what to name it.....any ideas?

      Thx :)

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      lilgirl 7 years ago

      yes it did help with my bunny nice details

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      lilgirl 7 years ago

      nice bunnies

    • radgirl profile image

      radgirl 8 years ago from Somewhere in outer space

      Rabbits make great house pets as long as you aren't going to be bothered by finding little pellets around the house, and you give them their own area as a 'home base'. Most people have a cage for this, and put their litter box in the cage, and during times when you aren't home, or at night, the rabbit should stay in its cage. Otherwise, you will end up with things chewed up that you didn't want chewed up.

      I would not take your rabbit with you on weekend trips, because they get spooked very easily, and if they are in unfamiliar surroundings, they can really freak out and get away from you.

      If you're looking for a good travel companion, I would suggest a dog. Rabbits really need their surroundings to feel safe, and they don't like change once they are settled in.

      I hope this helps!

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      Dana 8 years ago

      I'm really thinking about getting a rabbit. I have few questions: Are bunnies good pets to let roam in the house? Are they okay to travel? Could I take my rabbit with me on a weekend trip after it is housetrained?

    • radgirl profile image

      radgirl 8 years ago from Somewhere in outer space

      Shawn, they can get sore hocks from being in wire cages if you do not provide them with something to rest on, such as an EZ mat or a piece of wood. There are pros and cons for wood too, because you don't want it to get soiled, and some rabbits use wood as a place to potty. Wood can hold bacteria that can give them infections if they are keen to using the wood as a toilet. The pros of wood is that they can chew on it, keeping their teeth from growing too long.

      It's up to you and your rabbit's habits what you use.

      Also, many people keep their rabbits outside. Isolation only occurs if you don't spend any time with your rabbit, such as taking it in the house to play, putting it in an enclosure to run in the grass on nice days. Beware that direct sun is bad for them, so keep them in a shady area where they can get little bits of sun but can return to the shade any time. Also, many rabbits who run in the yard can contract distemper or other diseases from other animals that may run with them. Make sure you have a safe place where they won't get sick.

      Rabbits are not community animals. Other than caring for young, they do not live with other rabbits. It is their way. On the other hand, they love affection, so you have to figure out how to balance them both.

      Weather is another factor that should help determine where you house your pet. If you live somewhere with subzero temps, don't house your rabbit outside in the winter. Use common sense as far as that's concerned, and you'll be fine.

      They can be potty trained, and it's easier than potty training a dog. They can live in your house, but make sure they have their own enclosure to go to if they feel scared or crabby. Also, they are infamous for chewing wires, so make sure your wires are not somewhere that your rabbit can get them, or you'll have trouble. They love to chew, so always keep an eye on them if you let them run free. It's best to have a designated place in your house that's "bunny proof" so that they can't destroy anything or hurt themselves.

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      Shawn 8 years ago

      So far on a variety of sites and a book I've read about bunnies the concensus is that bunnies are NOT supposed to be in wire cages as that is hurtful to their feet. They can be trained to go in a litter box. Also, the book suggests they not just be left outside as that is isolating for them...

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      lane 8 years ago

      i love the bunnys you have they are so cute i cant wait to get 1 my mom is karen

    • radgirl profile image

      radgirl 9 years ago from Somewhere in outer space

      If you love them, they won't nip or bite unless they feel they are in danger. Some breeds are more loving than others, so do your research before you choose which one. You'll need to think about the size it will be as an adult, what size of cage you will need to accomidate it, how much it will need to eat, and how much time you'll have for grooming.

      Hybrid German/English angoras make wonderful pets, they have a sweet disposition, but they need to be groomed more than something like a Mini Rex, which for the most part, grooms its self.

      Go to a rabbit show and check out the breeds to make sure you know what you want. Next, purchase a "pet quality" bunny from a breeder, or from your local Animal Control. Just remember that bunnies from breeders are already spoiled rotten and sweet, and you don't know what situation a bunny from Animal Control came from, so you don't know if it will really be a super sweet bunny or not.

      If you go to Animal Control, spend some time with the bunny before you purchase it, because you want to get to know it first and make sure it's not a mean bunny. Ask to speak to the people who actually cared for the bunny while it was there, and ask them about the bunny's situation and attitude.

      Hope this helps!

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      Bunny wanter 9 years ago

      I really want to get a bunny, my parents say they WILL let me and my sister each get our own bunnies. I was wondering if bunnies tend to nip, or bite, when they are younger. If they do, whatshoild me and my sister do to help prevent this from ahppening?

    • radgirl profile image

      radgirl 10 years ago from Somewhere in outer space

      The top bunny is Nikki, I think, and the brown one is ours too. Nikki's gonna make beautiful babies.

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      nammy 10 years ago

      Is the top picture Nicki? Is the brown bunny yours too? They are soooo cute. I told Angela that under no cicumstances is she to let me adopt one of her babies when they arrive cuz I'm a big sucker for animals, especially cute furry ones. Two dogs, two cats, two rats and a hampster are quite enough for now.