A pet rabbit is one of the cutest animals you can adopt; they’re always quiet by nature, affectionate, and generally like personal grooming. You can easily litter train your bunny and are usually comfortable in small or large enclosures.
So what does it take to have this adorable fluffy animal? Well, there are many things you have to factor in before adopting a bunny. In this article, we’re going to look into some of the fundamentals you have to consider not only to keep your rabbit healthy but also mentally stimulated.
Misconceptions before adopting rabbits as pets
There are many misconceptions about pet rabbit that leads individuals to make uninformed choices when purchasing these adorable animals. This misinformation is a major contributing factor to most rabbits ending up in shelters or in the wild (mostly a death sentence for these domesticated bunnies). Below are some of the rabbit misconceptions before or during adoption.
All rabbit breeds are excellent companions for children.
Most owners tend to adopt rabbits thinking that they will bond well and provide great companionship for their children, which is usually somewhat true. We typically have different types of rabbits breed, each having a distinct personality. You might find that one particular rabbit is social and engaging while another breed is calm or easily gets frightened.
Rabbits require less maintenance.
Most people usually perceive that rabbits are relatively easy to maintain than other pets such as dogs, which is untrue. Although you may not necessarily have to take your bunnies for daily walks, rabbits need attention and daily supervision.
Bunnies usually need a clean environment and at least an hour to exercise and stretch. When it comes to feeding them, always ensure that you provide and give them fresh water daily.
Lastly, just like other pets, rabbits often develop chronic diseases, and it’s usually advisable to have regular veterinary checks when symptoms develop.
Rabbits like to cuddle
Most owners usually think that a pet rabbit loves to cuddle with them, which is the exact opposite. Although a few rabbits like this, most rabbits prefer having their feet firmly on the ground. Rabbits are instinctively prey animals, and elevating them into the air typically makes them nervous. The best position a bunny feels safe in is when it’s on all fours.
Rabbits that lack companionship end up being great pets
Another misconception about rabbits is that having a single rabbit is ideal compared to having a pair or a bunch of them. This idea is usually further from the truth; rabbits are instinctively social animals, hence why they like to live in groups in the wild.
Although rabbits can live alone, it will be unnatural to them, and you’ll also be obliged to give them extra attention in terms of grooming, playing, company, etc. that it lacks by not having a partner. All in all, it’s usually advisable to pair your bunnies when keeping them as pets.
Factors to consider before adopting a pet rabbit
Adequate spacious hutch
Always ensure that you have an enclosure spacious enough to enable your bunny to hop around easily. Pet rabbits also usually need mental stimulation hence creating ramps and shelves closer to where their habitat is vital, as it keeps them active and preoccupied when hopping.
The other factor you need to consider when creating housing is the size of your pet rabbit. Always do a background check on that particular type of rabbit you intend to adopt as some rabbit breeds have giant genes while others have dwarf genes.
A bunny that weighs between 5 to 6 pounds requires a hutch that’s 30’’x 30″ x 24″, also containing a food bowl, litter box, water bowl, and a set of toys. Lastly, keep the hutch well ventilated by avoiding solid-walled enclosures. Poorly ventilated hutches trap the ammonia in a rabbits’ urine, causing a buildup that may lead to respiratory diseases through prolonged inhalation.
The overall cost for maintaining a healthy bunny
Rabbit adoption is one thing, while its maintenance is another. Rabbits, just like other pets, need adequate care and attention. It’s always essential to have a rough estimate of a rabbit’s expenditure for things like the cost of building a proper housing facility, a healthy diet menu, veterinary costs for annual checkups, etc.
Lastly, since rabbits are relatively social animals, it’s always advisable to pair them with a partner or a smaller group to keep themselves company.
Readiness and willingness to give them proper care and attention
Rabbits are animals that have a hands-on approach when it comes to care and attention. Always dedicate a few hours per day to check up on your bunnies. Ensure that they get a few hours of exercise, grooming when necessary, and regular cleaning and maintenance of their habitat.
When it comes to food, rabbits need a balanced diet consisting of fresh hay, vegetables, and fruits. When handling rabbits or when they’re around children, it’s always unwise to leave them unattended, especially around children. Gentleness and care are needed when holding or handling them.
Put into consideration the nature of your other pets.
Despite rabbits being adorable, quiet, and docile, most people might think they usually get along with all pets. Sometimes this might be far from the truth. In some cases, you might find that certain pets such as cats or dog breeds usually tend to have that prey instinct in them.
Therefore, always monitor your pets’ interaction, especially when in the company of other pets or new rabbits. Unsupervised interactions can sometimes end in tragedy.
Rabbits are quite playful.
Bunnies are quite intelligent animals and also quickly get bored. For them to be happy, they need to have mental stimulation. For instance, building them tunnels is ideal as they usually love going through them, as they typically mimic a warren.
The other alternative is to get toys that your rabbit can roll or toss. Placing their meals in egg boxes helps keep them active by working hard to chew or throw the egg boxes to get to their food. When it comes to litter boxes, you can always fill them with sand to make it more enjoyable for them to sit there since digging is usually intuitive.
Bunnies need neutering
Neutering is something you must consider before purchasing your rabbit, even when you’re keeping those of a similar gender. Doe’s are prone to uterine cancer, which can be fatal if not treated earlier.
Female rabbits can also be territorial or not neutered, leading to aggression and fights amongst them. On the other hand, unneutered bucks will regularly spray urine and engage in frequent mating with the does, which can go out of hand, leading to numerous kittens breeding.
Rabbits poop a lot
Bunnies’ digestive systems are quite different from that of dogs and cats. They need to eat as often as possible to enable their guts to function fully. Therefore, expect to do some cage cleaning chores afterward. On the flip side, you can always litter train your rabbits, if you want to exempt yourself from cleaning poop everywhere.
Rabbits can be destructive in the house.
If you want a full-time interaction with your furry friend and you’re thinking of keeping it indoors, then you might consider rabbit-proofing your entire house. Rabbits usually like to chew stuff, and hence for the rabbit’s safety and personal belongings, rabbit-proof your home.
If possible, try having a separate rabbit room that’s rabbit-proofed and only allowing them to hop around other areas of the house under great supervision. Always get rid of any wires or have them protected and keep house plants away from your bunnies to avoid them getting nibbled.
Adopting a pet rabbit is great after you’ve factored in all the above things. I hope this article has helped in providing you with preliminary information before adopting a rabbit.
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