Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rabbits: A Classic Story of What NOT To Do

As a child, I had two bunnies that I loved very much but knew absolutely nothing about. All I knew was that they were cute and fluffy and fun to play with from time to time. Little did I know that I was an incredibly irresponsible rabbit owner. My story is a classic case of everything a rabbit owner should NOT do.

My second grade teacher lived on a farm and bred various animals, including rabbits. She told the kids in her class when she had a litter of bunnies up for grabs and I, being a lover of all things furry, had to have at least one. I ended up getting two. I named one Snuffleupagus and my sister named the other Joshua. My father built a big wooden hutch for them, that we kept outside on the porch, with an outdoor area fenced with chicken wire, and an indoor area that we filled with sod.

The outdoor fencing of the hutch was not small enough to always keep the young bunnies inside and they frequently escaped. I remember running through the yard after one, finally cornering and catching him. As they grew, they could no longer escape, but often stuck their heads out through the wire, enticing our dog to lunge for them. The always escaped the dog's jaws but only by a hair.

Joshua was a rather sweet bunny that I often picked up and cuddled but Snuffleupagus was, well, vicious. He bit every finger that crossed his path, and I could only handle him, wearing thick gloves. Neither of the rabbits was neutered and, looking back on it, I guess we were lucky that Joshua was as sweet as he was, considering.

The bunnies were also very messy, I didn't know you could litter train them but I didn't know that they should be neutered, either. Cage cleaning duty fell on my patient father who ended up with scars all over his fingers from Snuffleupagus' teeth.

The mess spread into the house, too. We often let them out in the living room to romp, much to my mother's dismay, and they would leave droppings with each hop and chew the back of the sofa, chairs and anything else that looked chewable.

Eventually, Snuffleupagus died. Then when we moved from Maine to Virginia, I gave Joshua to a friend and never saw him again.

Why do I share this story with you now? Not to open myself up to critique or stone-throwing, rather to educate people like me who simply don't understand what it means to care for a rabbit.


Spay or neuter you rabbit
Give them a litter pan
Keep their cage inside, away from danger
Make sure that they cannot escape from their cage
Give them plenty of safe toys to nibble on
Line their cage with plain paper (shredded paper or care fresh, never cedar shavings)
Give them love and attention
Let them roam around the house in rabbit-proofed areas for some extra exercise
Teach your children about proper rabbit care and handling
Feed them appropriate rabbit food and veggies
Adopt a rabbit forever


Allow your second-grader's teacher to offer rabbits to him or her without consulting you, first
Leave your rabbit outside
Allow the dog or any other animal easy access to your rabbit
Corner a rabbit, you could frighten it to death
Breed rabbits, there are far too many homeless rabbits today
Give a rabbit as an Easter gift

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More about bunny care.