Want to get a rabbit for your kids? Love those floppy ears, twitching nose, and fuzzy tails? You’re not alone. Rabbits are adorable and one of the most sought after pets for children. However, there are things to consider before getting a rabbit as a pet.
Let me dispel some of the myths about owning a rabbit.
Myth 1: Rabbits are great pets for children
Owning a rabbit is a lot of work. You have to commit a lot of time to taking care of your bunny. You can’t leave them in a cage all day. Make sure your children have the time and are willing to take care of them. Hell, I thought having a rabbit would be lots of fun and it would be easy to take care of, but NOOO!!!
Rabbits require constant care and even the slightest thing you miss can be fatal to them. They are social animals but that doesn’t mean they want to be poked, prodded or picked up all the time.
Myth 2: Rabbits love to be picked up
False. My rabbit, Mokona, HATES to be picked up. Some rabbits, when neutered/spayed are calmer and might let you pick them up, but generally they dislike being off the ground.
Why do rabbits dislike being picked up?
Rabbits are prey animals. When you pick them up without proper support they will struggle. Rabbits have delicate spines and can be injured during a struggle. If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to pick up your rabbit, my advice would be not to do it. Howcast has a great video with tips on on how to handle your pet rabbit.
Myth 3: Rabbits eat carrots all the time
Everyone has seen Bugs Bunny chomping on a carrot to the tune of “What’s up Doc?” every time he appears in Looney Toons. Rabbits L-O-V-E carrots! They will beg, give cute faces, and sometimes not eat in order to get this delicious vegetable. However, do not be fooled. Just like children, rabbits love sugar too. You’ll want to monitor the intake of carrots, fruits, and other treats that are high in sugars. Too much sugar can lead to an unhealthy/obese bunny.They should be handled as treats/rewards and only given 1-2 times a week.
Myth 4: Rabbits are nasty and smelly
Rabbits are fastidious groomers, i.e. they are very concerned about being clean and groom all the time. In fact, every time I look at Mokona he’s grooming.
Rabbits themselves do not smell, or at least mine doesn’t (yeah, I totally just smelled him). However, rabbit pee is a different issue. Holy, does it stink! Unneutered or unspayed rabbits like mine tend to have stronger smelling urine. I’ve been told by my vet that a neutered or spayed rabbit has milder smelling urine.
For me, since I’m used to it, this is easily fixed. I use a combination of unscented recycled newspaper cat litter and cardboard bedding. I change it every other day so there is no smell, other than when I’m cleaning it. Phew! Check out my post on litter training.
Myth 5: Rabbits are fine to be in cages all the time
Rabbits, like people, need exercise. Would you like to be kept in a confined space all day with no exercise? To all those who work in a cubicle for long hours, you know what I mean.
Rabbits need at least 3-4 hours of exercise per day. They are born to run and hop so being cooped up in a cage all the time is no fun. The out of the cage time can be used to bond and play with your bunny. Exercise also helps your bunny from getting overweight, which can lead to health problems later on. A rabbit that does not get enough time out of the cage is usually reluctant to go back in or becomes territorial when you try to clean up.
Rabbits are sensitive animals and require a lot of love and care. If you do not have the time to invest in its well-being, I’d say that a rabbit might not be for you.
This is my rabbit, Mokona, on his first day home.
That’s it for now! What rabbit myths have you encountered? Comment below and let me know.
Check back soon for my next post: Feeding your rabbit: So it lives