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Monday, March 5, 2012

Care your Little Bunny

Rabbits are not Easter Toys

 
The linkage of rabbits to Easter must have something to do with fertility.  Or maybe it’s just the cute factor of putting a rabbit in a basket.  Either way it’s wrong to gift one to a kid on Easter.  We have a rabbit as our family pet.  He’s 6 pounds of furry cuteness, and he’s also a valued part of our family.   He does not live in a cage outside or otherwise get ignored like most rabbits who are misunderstood by their owners – owners who see them as simply cute play things to gawk at and not smart animals desiring affection.  No, our rabbit has free reign of the house and has a litter box where he does his business.  When we eat lunch and dinner Mr. B (that’s his name) comes hopping to the table, and we give him a small bowl of pellets and veggies to munch while we eat.  He comes when he’s called, and he’ll run around in circles when he’s happy – then he’ll plop down to be pet when he gets tired.  Rabbits have feelings and they’re smart (as animals go).  They shouldn’t be toys at Easter then set loose in the backyard when the kids get bored of abusing them.  
Domesticated Rabbits can’t Survive in the Wild:  
   
A domestic rabbit is not a wild rabbit.  They’re bred to be pets and wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving outside.  My friend found Mr. B three years ago hopping around in his yard near death because a neighbor didn’t want him anymore and set him free thinking (or perhaps not thinking at all) he’d be happier that way.  Mr. B didn’t know how to find food and he didn’t know how to hide from predators.  It was a miracle he made it.  When my friend found him he was missing most of his fur and he was nearly starved to death.  It took many trips to the vet and a lot of TLC to bring him back.  He’s one lucky bunny, and now he’s been given a second chance with us.  
Rabbits Live a Long Time:  
   
Rabbits can live up to 15 years (average between 8 and 11).  They require a commitment just like other long lived pets.  And they aren’t rodents so don’t start thinking they’re just like a rat or some other animal that can be left in a cage and forgotten.  Buying a rabbit because it’s Easter and it makes a nice decoration is extremely short sighted and ignorant.    
Rabbits are Social:  
   
Bunnies enjoy human interaction and to be a part of things.  Our rabbit, when he wants to be pet, will lick my hand.  That means I have to pet him.  After a few minutes I put my hand down and let him lick me some more.  It goes back and forth like that for 30 minutes or so before he hops away satisfied (it’s mutual grooming and it’s what bunnies do).  I’ve fallen asleep on the couch before and woken up to find Mr. B on my chest licking me.  Unlike most other small pets, rabbits actually seem to care about their owners and get satisfaction out of interacting with them.  Like I said before, they are genuine family pets.  We even take Mr. B on vacations with us (It’s really easy to sneak a rabbit into a hotel room).  
Rabbits are Fragile:  
It’s easy to kill a rabbit as they have weak necks and long backbones.  They are, after all, at the bottom of the food chain.  Their only two defenses are the art of concealment and evasion.  Thus, they’re extremely quiet animals, and most of their mass is in their butt for hopping away if need be (leaving their top halves weak). Caged bunnies can’t hide or hop away.  It leaves them completely vulnerable.  They’ll cower, or sometimes bite, if they see a hand come at them.  Rabbits are frequently under valued members of the family and not given the space to feel comfortable; thus they become mentally ill, misunderstood animals.  A caged and ignored bunny is a neurotic and unhappy bunny.  If you aren’t willing to make it a true family pet and teach the kids how to handle it gently then you shouldn’t have one at all.
Snuffy Bunny Song: 



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