5 rabbit necessities that no one tells you about.

I got my first rabbit, Ellis, from SaveABunny one year ago this month.  We’ve had many adventures together, and some misadventures. And some boring days spent sitting around, reading and chewing on books. I’ve learned about litterboxes, bonding, finding a vet, traveling, housing, bunny-proofing, and grooming. The bunnies themselves have taught me things I’d never read about, and other SaveABunny volunteers like Mai and Carly have shared what they’ve learned, too. But even browsing a year’s worth of blog entries, and scouring the thorough information on the SaveABunny website, there are some things that have been left out.

1. Vigilance. Even when you think everything is fine, even when you give your bunnies a grooming session twice a month, even when you’ve bunny-proofed everything and pamper them and love them, things can go wrong. It’s all too easy to give them too many treats and let them get overweight, or not notice them sneaking into dangerous places you wouldn’t even have thought they would venture, like the cat box, or to accidentally give them some greens that might kill them.

2. The Internet. Obviously, if you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet, and if you’re anything like me you spend entirely too much time on it. But having a connection handy should not be taken for granted. It’s kept my bunnies out of some serious trouble more than once. Most recently, I bought some greens at the farmers market that I assumed were safe – an Asian mint with leaves that were purple on the bottom – and when I was rinsing them off to give to the bunnies, I gave them a sniff. Not minty. Wondering if they would even like it, and just generally having a suspicious feeling, I googled a description. Results: “potent respiratory toxin most commonly affecting horses and cattle.” Yummy side dish for humans, deadly for herbivores.

3. A plan. And I don’t mean, “Get rabbit, live happily ever after.” At SaveABunny, we get rabbits returned to us way more often than we’d like. Someone gets knocked up? Rabbit goes. Someone gets married? Rabbit goes. Someone starts dating a jerkoff who hates animals? Rabbit goes. Someone gets cancer and has to do chemo? Rabbit goes. Someone gets laid off and loses their house? Rabbit goes. Now obviously some of these are more valid than others, but before you get a rabbit (or any pet, really), ask yourself what your priorities are. What happens to the rabbit when the unexpected happens? If you find the love of your life and everything changes, make sure he or she fully understands rabbits and the challenges of having them from the very beginning.

4. A big rug. I really, really, really wanted to think that I could have both rabbits and hardwood floors. I love hardwood. We all love hardwood. Except bunnies. Bunnies hate hardwood. Their little feet slip and slide on it and if they’re forced to live on it they eventually develop orthopedic problems and probably sore hocks – especially if they’re larger bunnies or if you’ve fed them too many treats. I tried getting a bamboo rug with more traction, but it’s just not enough, and the hard surface did indeed result in sore hocks after a couple of months. Get a rug if you don’t have a carpet, and make sure it’s big enough for them to run on. 5′ x 8′ or larger, preferably cotton and preferably washable. And make sure they don’t eat it.

5. Sunshine. Bunnies, like people, don’t produce their own vitamin D. You can’t keep them back in a windowless laundry room. Plus, there are few things more satisfying and adorable than seeing your bunny looking out the window, waiting for you, when you get home.

3 Responses to “5 rabbit necessities that no one tells you about.”

  1. 'alice' Says:

    hmmm….i guess i don’t understand the hardwood floor problem. i always have to turn places down with carpet. i don’t understand how you’d keep it really clean other wise. i’ve moved ten times at least with my three bunnies over the last 7 years, all cageless by the way and also all of them love to be held too. anyway whenever we first move somewhere there is always a little pee incident somewhere on the floor until i figure out exactly where they want their new litterbox set up to be….i have probably 15 litter boxes and i set them up all over the place to see which corners they prefer, but my hard floor solution is to get little cotton rugs and put them everywhere. super easy to clean and super cheap and super comfy for the buns. i have never had a sore foot problem and i can even set the little rugs up strategically for bells and nuage and know that they wont venture off of them….ie protect my cords simply by not putting a rug anywhere near an outlet. now fats on the other hand could give a rats ass about a rug and although he prefers to run on the rugs he wants to sleep o the hardwood floors, dont ask me why, he always has. also even thoguh he prefers to run on the rugs he’ll still go wherever whenever he wants. bells likes it soft so i layer blankets under the rugs for him.

    some of my rugs are 2 feet by three feet and some are bigger but they are an absolute staple to my bunny free range household and although i’m not crazy about hte big chai stores like walmart i’ve purchased small cotton rugs there for a few dollars a piece. you can also get the braided cotton rugs at yard sales for cheap and when in a pinch i throw i few towels down if all my rugs are soiled due to some weird ‘digestion’ problem. nuage has a soft stomach and from time to time he let’s loose as they say. these rugs, they are all easy to clean and easy to lift up and shake out and lay right back down. so if you love hard wood floors, personally i can’t imagine life without them….go ahead and go for it!

  2. Diana Savras Says:

    Awww, I absolutely adored that last sentence!
    Im getting a bunny in 2 days and am sooooo happy!
    We took him out for a walk, and I out him down, he took two hops away from me, looked back and hopped back to me! He’s just gorgeous. Thanks for all the information.
    much appreciated. :)

  3. rhanie Says:

    Great information. I have a carpet. I’m single with no kids. A man would just have to deal or so long. I would think a chemo patient would keep a bunny for relaxation. All the other ideas…are you kidding, give me a break., these are just cop out excuses from bad owners.

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