Rabbits Are Great Pets: Be Thoughtful and Never Impulsive


Here’s why I am favor laws limiting the sales of rabbits at pet stores: They’re still sold at Easter and people still buy real bunnies impulsively at Easter.  Rabbits are every bit a wonderful pet but also commitment, just like a dog or a cat. Too many purchase a rabbit without understanding what they’re getting and ultimately give up on their rabbit, relinquishing to a shelter or simply letting the rabbit outside, which is a certain death sentence.

Here are six rabbit realities, some people don’t know, but you ought to know and more, before bringing in a family member who will hopefully enjoy a lifespan from 10 to 14 years.

  1. This is what’s up doc: Rabbits do like carrots, as we may like candy. However, eating only candy would be a health concern in humans; the same is true for rabbits eating primarily candy. The primary diet should be hay and pellets.
  2. House rabbits should only be in the house. Obviously cold weather can cause illness which domestic rabbits (unlike their wild cousins) can’t deal with, but there are also pesticides and predators which range from coyotes to birds of prey. In yards, rabbits may accidently escape and are hit by cars or will certainly starve to death.
  3. Spay/neuter your rabbit. Uterine cancer rates are very high among rabbits. If not metastasized, there’s a high curative rate, but as rabbits age it’s more likely that cancer will be metastasized, which is then a likely death sentence. Females can be spayed at around 6 months. Male rabbits can be neutered as early as 8 to 12 weeks. By neutering, potential hormone-related behavior problems can be avoided. That’s important because these behavior problems are often a reason for people giving up their rabbits to shelters.
  4. Rabbits can be litter box trained. Get a litter that’s rabbit-safe, and a litter box that a rabbit can get excited about, and you’re in good shape. So, what kinds of boxes excite rabbits? One that is large enough so the rabbit has plenty of elbow room. Fill the box with a rabbit-friendly litter and then add hay.
  5. Rabbits are social and love having friends. Assuming a rabbit is spayed/neutered—so you don’t end up with more bunnies than you can handle—and there’s an appropriate introduction, you’ll have a happier rabbit if the rabbit approves of the new bunny friend. But, allow for speed dating first and place the bunnies side-by-side in cages at the start to test compatibility. Rabbits are picky about who their friends are. Don’t just push two strangers together.
  6. People often get bunnies for little kids, and while many rabbits adjust to small kids, most do not like the commotion or unpredictability. Small children should always be supervised around bunnies, who disdain being hugged, and have a fear of being picked up. If they squirm (and likely they might) and fall; injuries are common – if even the fall is a few feet off the ground.

One more thing – despite what the Easter bunny suggests, rabbits never lay eggs.

Learn more about proper rabbit care and husbandry HERE from the Rabbit.org Foundation.  Instead of a pet store purchase, always think about an adoption from a shelter or rescue.