As Easter rolls around, people cannot resist the adorableness of a baby bunny and impulsively buy one as a gift for the holiday. Upon realizing (rather quickly) the immense amount of work it is to be a bunny owner, these bunnies are then abandoned at shelters or are sent out into the wild to fend for themselves, which, unfortunately, rarely ends well.
I can understand the impulse to buy a bunny, as writing this article was more of an excuse to research and look at pictures of lovable, fluffy bunnies all day. So, unless you are prepared for all the responsibility that comes along with owning a pet rabbit, looking at pictures of tiny, cuddly bunnies is probably as far as you should go. (And don’t worry, I’ve combed through the interwebs looking for the fluffiest and cutest ones for you to enjoy.)
The facts and information I learned researching for this article surprised me. One being, that owning a rabbit is more akin to having a dog or cat rather than a guinea pig, and another, that rabbits are technically considered exotic pets that need specific care.
Most owners don’t realize when purchasing their first bunny that they are a long-term commitment and need a lot of attention and care. This is why potential bunny owners are encouraged to do plenty of research before they decide to give a rabbit as a gift or adopt one for themselves. So I’m here to help with some basic bunny facts and to provide you with other easy ways to get involved without the long-term commitment.
Rabbits have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years.
Most are surprised at the length of a rabbit’s life. I certainly was. A rabbit owner needs to be prepared for the long haul. Bunnies each have distinct personalities and are rather fragile creatures that grow quickly from their tiny form requiring vet check-ups, grooming, and frequent attention.
Bunnies shouldn’t be kept in cages.
Rabbits are not cage animals. You should treat them more like a dog or cat as they need plenty of space, running time, and exercise. Of course you can have a pen for your pet rabbit, but it should be at least a 4 X 4 enclosure with plenty of space for a litter box, food, toys, and for them to hop around.
Bunnies thrive with companionship.
Bunnies do much better with a playmate. Rabbits are not meant for solitude and interestingly, can become part of a bonded pair with another rabbit and feel distressed if separated. While they can do well on their own and bond with you, a bunny will be far happier, healthier, and get into less trouble with another bunny by its side.
Rabbits will probably chew on your belongings.
Like most animals, rabbits will happily explore your abode and most likely get into your possessions. Just as you would with a dog or cat, you’ll have to bunny-proof your home and hide wires and cables that your bunny might otherwise gnaw on.
Be gentle with your pet bunny.
Being a prey animal, rabbits are jumpy at loud noises and are naturally skittish. Of course you can snuggle and hold rabbits, however, you should be aware that rabbits’ bones are delicate and can break easily if dropped or cuddled too hard. (Think Lennie from Of Mice and Men). Rabbits are also ground-loving creatures meaning when you do hold them, make sure you hold them under their feet so they feel secure as if they have the ground beneath them.
Foster a bunny
Hopefully I haven’t turned you off completely from owning a pet bunny, but if you think that you’re not ready for the full commitment of rabbit ownership, you can start by fostering one. By fostering a rabbit you’ll be giving them a happy temporary home without the expense as the rescues will cover food, supplies, and medical care.
Here are few rescues that you can foster from: