Bunny As A Pet – Everything You Need To Know
Rabbits are big-eared and fast-moving animals. They are famous for their adorable features and loving nature. Another reason for the popularity of rabbits is they being very social, loving, and cuddling creatures. If you are going to include a bunny in your family, learn everything out about them, from their lifestyle to breed and care. This article will help you skim through the most critical information you need to know before owning a pet bunny.
Habitat Of Rabbits
Rabbits originally came from Europe and Africa. However, their ability to adapt to multiple environments helped them spread throughout the world. Now, rabbits are literally found everywhere, including swamps, forests, prairies, deserts, grasslands, and marshes. This worldwide distribution also called for advanced environment regulation for their little bodies to protect them from hypothermia or heat exhaustion.
Wild rabbits manage by burrowing deep into the ground. These burrows or tunnesl are usually called warrens with multiple entrances. These are the places for rabbits to rest, cuddle and breed. According to Young People's Trust For Environment, typically, warrens are 3 feet deep. This gives you a highlight about making a home for your rabbit close to the natural environment to make it feel cozier.
Habit Of Rabbits
Rabbits are very social and friendly creatures. In the wild, they live in groups usually called colonies. Domesticated rabbits may develop depression if their owner does not give them proper attention. Rabbits do not hibernate in winters but rest in their burrows for most of the time. The most important time of the day for the rabbit is dawn and dusk, in which they go in search of food. Potential predators of rabbits include eagles, owls, wild dogs, falcons, feral cats, hawks, and ground squirrels.
Anatomy Of A Rabbit
Rabbit has evolved in terms of its features which help it stay alert from predators and increase life expectancy. They have long ears and powerful limbs which not only help them to flee but also dig deep burrows.
An adult rabbit is usually 1-2 feet in length.
Rabbits vary a lot depending on their breed. Not only do the physical features vary, but also their health and lifespan of the bunny vary with a change in the breed. A smaller rabbit is usually more active and healthy than that a larger one. Therefore always have a deeper look into breeds before selecting a bunny for you. If we have a worldwide estimation, we have more than 300 breeds, the rest aside from the mixed ones. If you select a rare breed, make sure to know entirely about the diet and care variations to have a healthy relationship with your bunny.
Caring For Your Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are one of the most beautiful and easy to groom pets. However, this does not mean you can get ignorant of their needs. Rabbits need appropriate care in terms of housing, socialization, diet, and exercise to stay healthy. Moreover, you also need to follow a proper vaccination schedule to prevent it from life threatening myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease.
Rabbits need proper housing, and the needs vary a lot with the season, especially you have to focus on properly caring for your rabbits in winter. Moreover, winters are also the breeding season for rabbits, so pay extra attention to the diet of your bunny. Also, focus on taking a step ahead in taking care of the pregnant rabbit. Always learn about all the requirements and needs of a rabbit before getting one for you.
You also need to regularly trim your bunny teeth before they grow to the extent that they become husks. Long haired rabbits need extra care than short haired ones. Regular hair cuts and baths are on of the most essential arts of grooming a bunny.
Feeding Your Rabbit
Rabbits are strictly herbivores, so they can only feed on plant derived material. There must be a balanced combination of all the macros in the diet of your bunny.
- A significant portion of the diet is fiber which keeps the gut moving and your bunny healthy. It includes alfalfa hay, timothy grass hay, and so on.
- Others are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins, which need to be well balanced in the diet chart of your bunny.
- Finally, there are rabbit pellets.
- Fresh and cool supply of water 24/7 is a must for rabbits.
For your simplicity, we can say the rabbit diet can be
The greens may include leafy vegetables in recommended proportion, including celery, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, etc. However, remember greens contain too low fiber to meet rabbit's daily intake of fiber. Therefore, make sure your rabbit has a constant supply of grass hay all the time of the day. Moreover, you can also feed fruits occasionally to your rabbit as a delicious treat, e.g., tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, banana, and so on. Always look into the safe dose and frequency of feeding if you are going to bless a delicious treat to your bunny. Diet products high in fats and sugars must always be consumed in a controlled amount.
Moreover, remember to give small frequent meals to your rabbit instead of big meals. It will help in better digestion and keep your bunny active and away from obesity. Make sure not to include fermentable fibers such as lawn clippings in the diet of your bunny, as it will cause a severe gut upset. There are also multiple plant products that are poisonous for rabbits, and you need to avoid them in any case. So, before getting a rabbit, search deep into the rabbit's diet and lifestyle.
Housing A Rabbit:
Rabbits need a hutch to live that must be at a place that is safe from the sight of predators. The primary cause of early deaths in pet rabbits is the attack of predators. Moreover, make sure the hutch has enough space to walk and exercise and it meets weather demands. Also, the hutch must be waterproof and have a system to allow in light and air.
While building a hutch, make sure to build a toileting area, too, so all the bedding material may not go wet due to urination. The best material for making a hutch is wood and cardboard. You may then cover it up with a blanket to keep it warm in winter. Also, make sure the floor is suitable for the delicate feet of your bunny. The length of the hutch must be at least 4times the length of you bunny when it stretches and more than twice the width of your bunny. If you have a baby bunny, make sure to have a hutch considering its adult size.
Also, you need to take care of the cleaning of the hutch and make sure the bedding is dry. Learn how to Litter train your bunny to keep the bedding safe.
Breeding Your Rabbit
Rabbits are one of the most social animals and always live in groups. They usually breed in winters. A female rabbit can produce up to a dozen of rabbits after one pregnancy of 31 days. If you do not wish to breed your rabbit, desexing is the best option. Desexing a rabbit will improve toilet and nesting behavior. For male rabbits, the procedure is simple; however, the operations can be a bit complicated for the female bunny. However, never go for desexing without consulting with your vet. And never ever try it at home.
Rabbits are one of the most playful animals that love to live in pairs. Environmental enrichment is one of the essential steps in keeping your bunny healthy. Rabbits are more active at dawn and dusk, making it the best time for you to play with you, little friend. Rabbits produce scents to communicate with each other.
It is entirely normal for rabbits
- To hide when sense fear
- Chew random things
- Play with objects
- Thump their hind legs
However, you need to focus when you bunny is
- Excessively hiding
- Excessively chewing
- Aggressive on handling
- Show changes in toilet and feeding behaviors
- Over drinking or under drinking
- Circle the hutch repeatedly.
In any such case, contact your vet and discuss the case.
Rabbits are on the risk of multiple infections. With proper diet and lifestyle, you can make sure your rabbit do not fall a prey to most commonly occurring diseases to rabbits. These include:
- Ear Mites
- Heat Stroke
- GI Stasis
- Sore Hocks
- Head Tilt
- Red Urine
- Uterine cancer
- Overgrown Incisors
- Sore Hocks
- Rabbit Calicivirus (RCD)
- Viral Hemorrhagic Disease
There is a vaccine to prevent Calicivirus, Myxomatosis, Viral Hemorrhagic Disease. So, make sure you follow the schedule regularly for the welfare of your rabbit.
Handling Your Rabbit
Rabbits are one of the most social pets. However, they are very fragile so should not be handled by children. Squeezing a rabbit too tightly or dropping it may cause severe injury to it. Make sure you do not aggravate your rabbit while handling it. Protect yourself from any bite or scratch from your pet. Always use your both hands while holding your rabbit. Holding them close to your chest or in your lap always makes it comfortable for your bunny, developing a positive relationship with your pet.
Exercising Your Rabbit
Rabbits need both physical and mental activity daily to stay healthy. You may let your rabbit hop on the lawn while keeping a strict eye for predators. Moreover, there are multiple toys in the market for bunnies that help rabbits to stay active.
Rabbits With Other Pets
Rabbits are no doubt one of the great addition to one's home. However, if you have other pets, make sure to consider the natural relationship between both. If you already have a cat or dog(even if well behaved and docile ones), never add a rabbit to your family. As these are innate predators of rabbits, even if they don't harm your bunny, there will be a constant tense environment between both, and rabbits will always stay in fear. Even barking of a dog or meowing of the cat will keep the rabbit under stress. If you plan to have one, make sure they are out of the sight of your dog or cat. However, for other docile animals as reptiles and birds, rabbits live friendly.
Rabbits become of the most wonderful pets among the whole pet world. However, before getting a rabbit, you have complete knowledge about the breed, care, and suspected diseases of your bunny. You may connect to other articles on our blog from the same series to have detailed information about having a bunny at your home.