What would your ideal pet be like? One that you can hold and cuddle all the time, one that won’t poop outside it’s litter box and won’t cause too much destruction around the house?
Well, you’re obviously not in the market for a bunny rabbit then.
When people get rabbits, they expect fluffy, docile herbivores that they can just keep in a cage all day and take out when they need some cuddling. Imagine when they find out that ball of fluff actually has quite a personality and doesn’t think too much of sitting in a cage all day.
The problem is , when people get rabbits, they expect them to either be very simple, easy to manage, dumb animals, or, they expect them to be like cats or dogs, animals that they can somewhat relate to. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that they rarely talk. Cats meow to voice their hunger or distrust, or contentment, or whatever it is that cats feel, and dogs bark to voice pretty much any emotion. Friendly barks, angry barks, oh-you’re-back-home-i-missed-you barks.
Rabbit only growl and grunt, and that’s usually to express displeasure. They also possess the ability to scream, but that’s only when experiencing acute pain and it is the most horrifying, blood-curdling sound you never want to hear. So for the most part in their daily lives, rabbits are quiet. But this does not imply that they do not have personalities. They’re generally friendly, companionable, and like human company, but don’t treat them as you would a cat or a dog, because they’re nothing alike.
To address the most pressing issue, you might love picking the rabbit up and hugging it, but it finds the experience very distressing. If you must, make sure you’re supporting it’s rear with one hand, rabbit backbones can be hurt easily. Also, if it tries to wriggle out of your arms and jump, let it go, do not offer too much resistance. If you do, you will get an armful of scratches, whether it intended them or not, by you rabbit using your arms to propel itself.
If i have hampered you bunny-cuddling plans, do not be alarmed. They don’t like being picked up, but they do love a good head scratching. Every bunny has a unique spot that they like to be scratched or pet on. Try behind the ears, under the chin, or between the ears. Once you figure out what it likes, it’ll demand scratches from you, coming up to you and gently nudging your hand with it’s nose till it gets what it wants. Sometimes they just close their eyes as if they’re asleep as you’re doing it, which shows they really trust you.
Since they can’t speak, you have to study their behaviour and moods to make sure you know exactly what they need. That nose nudge we just mentioned? Yeah, sometimes they just want that limb out of their way, and you better do just that, or little nibbles from their sharp teeth will follow to make sure that you got the message. Which brings us to another facet of the rabbit personality. They’re explorers by nature. They want to get into every nook and cranny and sniff everything. Behind or beneath every piece of furniture you own, every little gap they can stick their heads into, every human in their way needs to be nudged and poked and studied. Sometimes they scratch their chins against things or people, that’s their way of marking it as theirs.
Oh and they eat everything. Everything. No wire, cable, bag or random piece of cloth must be left undamaged. Make sure you’ve bunny proofed your electronics by putting all the cables out of their reach, or you’re soon going to discover that the sneaky little rodent has caused quite a bit of damage. This is also the main reason you can’t just leave them unsupervised as you would another house pet, because your headphones aren’t the only things in danger. There is a very real possibility that your bunny might accidentally electrocute itself, or ingest toxic materials in the process.
If you think the solution is to keep it in a cage all the time, you’re going t have a very unhappy rabbit on your hands. Ever seen documentaries about rabbits in the wild? They run, leap chase each other around and that’s how they’re meant to be. You need to make sure your rabbit get let out of the cage to run about for a few hours every day, and that it has enough space to jump around and stretch itself properly. Even if it doesn’t, and prefers to just sit, let it do that. Being let out of the cage keeps them happy. Use their curiosity to engage them in games to make sure they get enough exercise, or they get fat very easily.
A lot of people assume that they just poop inside their cages or all over the place all the time, but they can actually be trained to use a litter box. But since they poop basically all the time, it’s not going to work as well as it does with cats. On the positive side, rabbit pellets are comparatively easier and less yucky to clean. They also have assigned spots that they frequent for the purpose, so rest assured, you’re not going to have poop pellets strewn all over your house.
In conclusions, rabbits are more work than most people assume, but they also make the most wonderful, loving pets, and if those are the qualities you seek in your ideal pets, then rabbits are certainly a sure bet.