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7 Tips on how to take care of Bunny Rabbits

Posted on March 27 2018

Nothing says Easter more than bunnies! The iconic symbol of this festive time of the year is known around the world. Beautiful, white, fluffy bunny rabits in lush gardens surrounded by colourful eggs, hidden for children to find - what a beautiful image!  

However, it is also the time of the year where many bunnies are gifted and subsequently end up needing to be rehomed. So before adding a rabbit into your home, here are some tips about bunny ownership and their unique needs. 

  1. Bunnies are not ideal pets for young children. Kids tend to move quickly and make noise which can stress bunnies quite easily. Bunnies also need to be held in a way that supports their strong hind legs to prevent injury. It’s best for children to always be supervised when interacting with bunnies. 

  1. Bunnies follow a herbivorous diet – they also eat a lot! Typical food types that are great for bunnies are hay, rabbit pellets and fresh vegetables like well-rinsed cabbage. Bunnies require this high fibre diet to keep them healthy. Things like proteins and grains are a no-no. Be ready to stock up on the right foods because rabbits need to be munching and grazing pretty much all day.  

  1. Bunnies need attention and training. Now you’d think that bunnies would be different from dogs or cats when it comes to training? Bunnies can be skittish and highly stung so they need to be well socialized and given plenty of positive attention to get them accustomed to being around humans and being held. They can be positively rewarded and can learn over time to enjoy time with their owners. 

  1. Bunnies chew everything! Yes, everything! A home will need to be kept bunny-proof if you’d like to avoid damage. Bunnies especially love electrical cables and wiring – from TV’s or laptops for example. So if your bunny spend times in your house then keep those well packed away and have some chew proof toys around for your bunny to focus his attention on instead. 

  1. Bunnies poop a lot - because they are always eating it means that in turn they are always pooping. This means that the bunny hutch will need to be cleaned regularly and kept dry. Furthermore, if your bunny hangs out in your home then be aware of carpeted areas or soft furnishings that may need to be cleaned more regularly to keep spaces hygenic for both bunnies and humans. 

  1. Bunnies need to see the vet regularly – just like cats and dogs, bunnies need regular medical care. They require annual check-ups, spaying and neutering and having their stool checked for parasites. If a bunny stops eating at any point then this is cause for concern as dehydration and GI stasis can set in which is very serious. Find a vet with proper bunny experience and knowledge who you can develop a relationship with over time. 

  1. Bunnies are nocturnal animals. So, if you’d like to get some sleep its best to have a hutch for your bunnies to hang out in at night. Many owners have a day time area and a night time area that allows for the bunny to be cool and restful in the day and then have space to chew and move around in at night. Remember to keep the hutch clean and dry and use paper-based bedding that is not harmful if ingested. 
     
    So, if you are considering getting a rabbit this Easter, read up as much as you can before taking the leap. The bunny community is a vibrant one here in SA so chat to other bunny owners for some real first-hand advice.  After you’ve educated yourself, if you feel you can be a responsible bunny owner, then go for it. If not, maybe just enjoy a chocolate one.