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What Age of Rabbit is Right for You?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

What Age of Rabbit is Right for You?

How do you decide what age of rabbit to bring into your household? Sure, baby bunnies are adorable with their little wiggly noses and tiny fluff of a tail. But do you really want to go through the terrible teenage years? Although many people think it’s best to start out with a young rabbit in order to “bring it up” with the family. However, most people don’t realize that there is a lot that goes into raising a baby rabbit, including potty training, hormones, spaying/neutering, and re-potty training. Baby bunnies hit puberty a lot quicker than most people think (around 4 months of age), and once sexual maturity kicks in, things can get difficult!
What to expect from “teenage” rabbits
Teenage rabbits (3 mo. – 1 year) can be a handful! Since they have reached sexual maturity, many behaviors that you have not previously seen may arise. Male AND female rabbits may display mounting/humping behaviors (of you, of your other pets, of inanimate objects…anything!), urine spraying, increased territorial marking (with urine or feces), biting (it’s just a love nibble, they swear!), circling, and honking (a rabbit’s adorable, piggy-like mating call). Some of these behaviors can be seen as cute, but others are definitely not fun to deal with! And since you sometimes have to wait to get a rabbit altered, usually once the testicles have descended in males, and at around 6 months of age in females, these behaviors may be something you’ll have to grin and bear until it’s time for them to spayed or neutered.
Baby bunnies CAN be a good choice for you, if you have the time, energy, and patience to invest in them, and you adopt them from a reputable shelter or rescue. However, remember that baby bunnies grow up, and that having a house rabbit is truly a 10 -12 year commitment.

Grown buns need love too!
In a lot of situations, adult rabbits make a better fit, especially for first-time rabbit lovers! When you adopt an adult rabbit from a reputable shelter or rescue, they are already spayed or neutered. The shelter will have an idea of the adult rabbit’s personality, litter habits, and favorite things! They’ve already done most of the research for you, so you can find the perfect rabbit companion that will fit into your home and lifestyle. Sometimes older buns are more difficult to find homes for, but they can make wonderful family members!
Many times adult rabbits will be bonded to another rabbit, or even two (or three!). Bonds between spayed or neutered rabbits are very complex, but very enjoyable to observe – their friendships are deep and lasting, so these bonded bunnies need to be adopted together. So consider bringing a pair of bunnies into your home! Nothing is more precious than watching bunny cuddles or kisses between friends.
So if you think you would like a house rabbit but don’t want to deal with the ups and downs of baby bunnyhood, consider adopting an adult, altered rabbit (or two).
No matter if you decide to bring a baby bunny or adult rabbit into your home, please adopt from your local shelters and rescues, or find the perfect bun for you through resources like PetFinder. Your perfect bunny companion is out there waiting to be given a fabulous new home!
Hazel, my 3 year old bun, who I got as an adult!

Hazel, my 3 year old bun, who I got as an adult!

-Emily

SaveABunny Historic Holiday Postcards!

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Here at SaveABunny, we have been hard at work in many different areas — outreach, crafts, bunny care, RABBIT RESCUE (of course) and art history research.

Hold on, art history research? Yes, many of our volunteers are artistic and interested in the arts, and a few of us have even been researching the role of rabbits in art history. Here, we reveal the results of our research and debut some SaveABunny postcards!! Each image links to the postcard page; send one to all your friends! Without further ado:

SaveABunny art historians have found this original version of the Mona Lisa. The reason for her enigmatic smile is pretty clear.

On the first night of Hanukkah, the subject of Munch’s painting was chatting with his rabbit friend, Seth, and the subject of Seth’s neutering experience was raised. 8 Days of screaming ensued. (He felt better by the ninth day!)

SaveABunny’s meticulous art historians have unearthed the original version of Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy. The Blue Boy originally included his 3 best buds before the artist was forced by the court to create a more somber work.

When Grant Wood painted American Gothic, he found inspiration in the American Gothic House so he painted the house along with “the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.” SaveABunny art historians have found the original version of his painting, in wich he also painted the type of rabbit he fancied should live in that house, and the type of festivity they would have.

During the painting of this work, Whistler’s Mother often complained of a cold lap. Whistler’s clever solution was later edited out, to the detriment of the work.

Bunnies and Dogs – Can it be done?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

So, you’re a lover of all fuzzy creatures, and you imagine your home filled with singing birds and animal friendship a la scenes from Disney’s Cinderella. But can that actually happen? Well, fellow bunny-lovers, I’m here to give you some tips on how a great co-species friendship can evolve, specifically between rabbits and dogs. Read on and see the photos for actual proof that such a thing does exist!

Hazel is my 2 lb, 3 year old, spayed female Netherland Dwarf. She was an “only child” before I adopted Nola, an adorable Dachshund mix, special-needs puppy in April 2012. Nola was headed to a rescue organization from the animal shelter because she was born deaf, and with some other congenital abnormalities that go along with the “double merle” gene. Being the sappy veterinary student that I am, and a lifetime dog lover, I decided to adopt her. However, I realized that I needed to go about things carefully in introducing her to my bunny Hazel, as I wanted it to be a safe and positive experience for both of them.

Nola

Nola

Hazel

Hazel

Nola doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body, and Hazel is a very outgoing and social bun – it ended up making them a great match. When I first introduced them, Nola was only 5 pounds, and not too much bigger than Hazel. Hazel wasn’t afraid of Nola, so both of my girls just checked each other out, sniffing and following the other around. Hazel was somewhat miffed, and wasn’t as social for the first few weeks that Nola was at home, often hiding under the bed or leaving the room when she’d had enough exposure to puppy time. As time went on, Hazel grew bolder, and before you knew it, she was stealing dog food out of the dog dish at dinnertime, often while Nola was still eating! Of course, dog food isn’t a great choice for rabbits, and I had to shoo her away – but it was great that Hazel had no fear of Nola, and Nola didn’t have any issues with Hazel getting near her, her toys, or her food.

As time has passed, Nola and Hazel have only become more comfortable with each other. Hazel now sticks her head or entire body under Nola’s face, begging for groomies! Nola sometimes obliges, licking her face, nose, and back. Other times Nola isn’t in the licking mood, but Hazel sits patiently while Nola sniffs, sniffs, sniffs her. It’s adorable to watch. Recently Hazel thought Nola had been getting treats and she was feeling left out – so what did Hazel do? Got on her hind legs, put her front legs on Nola, and sniffed her face to see if she had anything yummy to share! Such a bossy little bun.

Playtime!

Playtime!

Couch-time and snuggling with mom!

Couch-time and snuggling with mom!

Waiting for treats

Waiting for treats

When Hazel has had enough, she can escape to her room, under the bed, or behind the furniture to get away from an annoying puppy. I always watch them closely to make sure that Nola isn’t being too rambunctious – there have been a few times where Nola has pawed Hazel, or tried to get her to engage with her toys; of course this is only in play, but it is important that your bun never gets hurt (or vice versa- bunny bites are bad!). I always discourage chasing or rough-housing of any kind from my puppy; it is absolutely not tolerated in my house. Also, Hazel makes the rules – if she has had enough interaction, I let her choose to go elsewhere, and do not let Nola continue to try to play or follow her. This has worked well, and as time has passed, the interactions between Nola and Hazel have become natural, friendly, and fun for both of them.

So here are some overall tips I would follow for INTRODUCING A PUPPY OR DOG TO YOUR BUNNY:

  1. ALWAYS make sure interactions are supervised, especially when first introducing your animals
  2. Put your puppy or dog on a leash when first doing an introduction
  3. It may be a good idea (if your dog is not well-trained) to take an obedience class first to get the basics of come, sit, down, stay, etc. It will make things safer in the long run.
  4. Put your bunny in an x-pen, and with your dog/puppy on leash, let him/ her approach the pen. Watch carefully for a fear response in your rabbit, or over-excitement in your dog. End the session if you feel things aren’t calm or positive.
  5. Once your dog can behave calmly around your bunny in his/her pen, let your bunny out of the pen. KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH, AND MAKE him/her SIT QUIETLY AND CALMLY. Let the bunny approach. Again, watch your dog for hyper-excitability or aggression, and quickly end the session. Reward your dog for good behavior around the bunny, and vice versa. You want both the dog and the rabbit to enjoy the interaction.
  6. Repeat these interactions in different rooms of the house, or where your bunny might roam naturally. Keep your dog on leash during these times, and always let your bun approach. Keep the situation calm and quiet, and give plenty of rewards for good behavior!
  7. Once you feel comfortable with your dog’s behavior around you bun (which could take MONTHS), you may want to see how the interaction goes off leash. That is up to you, and only you will know when the time is right. It is always risky to take this step, so make sure the environment is stable, quiet, and safe. Supervise at all times.
  8. Recognize that your dog may never accept a rabbit; some dogs have a high prey drive, or are naturally aggressive toward small animals. However, I would not say that one breed, age, or sex is more predisposed than another. I think that a dog-bunny relationship is entirely on an individual basis, and each animal is different. Some people say that introducing a puppy to a rabbit is a bad idea; however, it worked for me because I had the right combination of personalities. It is up to you to decide and do what is best for your animals.
  9. Hopefully your dog and bunny will accept each other, and enjoy each other’s company. This will take time, but if both are willing and the interaction is safe, it can be very rewarding! Don’t push, and take your time – safety is of the essence!
  10. If your dog becomes too rambunctious, wants to chase, or play too rough with your bunny, stop the interaction immediately and separate the animals. Let your dog know that this is unacceptable.You may also want to make sure your dog’s and bunny’s nails are trimmed to avoid any scratching injuries, purposeful or accidental.
  11. Let your bunny make the rules – if your bunny is outgoing or territorial, it will let the dog know when enough is enough. Your dog needs to learn that. But don’t let things get out of hand, and keep things safe for everyone!
  12. NEVER leave your dog and rabbit out home alone together – before I run to the store and when I go to school, I put Nola in the kitchen, separated from the rest of the house by an xpen. Hazel can still visit through the bars, but it’s good to know that everyone is safe and happy while I’m away.

I can’t stress enough that safety is of the highest importance when introducing a dog and a rabbit. But if done properly, bunnies and dogs can get along well! I know of many people who have rabbits and dogs that live together in the same home that do excellently. I love having a dog-bunny friendship in my house, and it makes life a little less stressful when my animals don’t have to always be separated. So good luck to you, everyone! And keep us posted on your journey to a dog-bunny bond!

Twilight of the Bunnies

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

The following is a guest post from Christopher St. John, foster dad to Anastasia and Freddie Mercury. We welcome guest posts from SaveABunny supporters and love to hear from you!

In my work as an advertising creative director, I often take part in anxiety festivals that last from morning til night. So it’s always wonderful to come home to my two bunnies, and sit with them for a few minutes in the gathering dusk, with a big plate of Italian parsley, pea pods and dill next to me.

Feeding the Buns

Feeding the Buns

Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are most active around dawn and dusk. I usually miss the dawn frolics, alas, but the twilight friskiness is something I look forward to all day. As soon as I arrive with the greens, I can see Anastasia perk up. Apparently, she can hear the sound of broccoli slices being carried down the hallway.

I sit down, and she bounds towards me, because I’m the candyman: Purveyor of fresh cilantro and, on special days, the watercress from Whole Foods. She lays into the leafage with a will, and even with my impaired hearing, I can hear her crunching. Freddie comes out a bit later. He doesn’t rush, but lollops over with a kind of careful insouciance. (A curious thing about words is that only when writing about rabbits do you have occasion to use the word “lollops.”)

A chin bump from Anastasia

A chin bump from Anastasia

The silence is marvelous. In my work, I’m beavering about all day, figuring out ways to convince Americans that they don’t have enough, and that they need more. Even while unemployment stays stubbornly high, and American jobs drift away to other lands. This kind of work is done by hyper-verbal people with fervid imaginations, and the high-speed yak can go on for hours without stopping. Of course, I’m the yakker in chief. Often, by the end of the day, I sick of listening to myself most of all.

The buns are silent. Whether feeling fearful or frolicsome, they are almost soundless. A happy rabbit is something you see, but you will listen in vain for a rabbit to cry “Yowza!” at the end of a great piece of endive. And with the studied dignity and stoicism of a prey animal, they would never tell you if they are hurt. A lion with a thorn in its paw may lay by the side of the road making a great play for sympathy while keeping an eye out for Androcles, but no rabbit would ever do such a thing. Crying is an indulgence for predators and traders at JP Morgan Chase. It is hard to be bold if you are a prey animal, but every day, they are brave.

The buns look at video of themselves on my iphone

The buns look at video of themselves on my iphone

Our rabbits look wild. Anastasia is a mottled brown, and Freddie a dappled grey. When you see them, you don’t think “hutch,” or “eight-year-old girl.” You think of them bounding away over the downs with Hazel and Fiver, looking for the perfect spot to found a new warren. * They don’t rush up to you, like a puppy, or expect to served by you, like a lordly feline. They are elusive. They keep their own counsel. When we first brought these creatures home, they ran from us. That they will guilelessly approach me now feels like a gift.

The dusk draws down towards night. My day of unique selling propositions and “More!” fades. The moment lingers and hangs. The shadows lengthen. The corners of the room disappear, and the quiet makes me sleepy.

Freddie and Anastasia tussle over a piece of parsley. “Hush, babies,” I tell them. “There’s enough for everyone.” And for a moment, in this tiny corner of America, there is.

Bunny Hospital - Nightly eardrops for Freddie

Bunny Hospital - Nightly eardrops for Freddie


* As I’m sure many readers already know, these are characters in the classic heroic fantasy novel, Watership Down, which chronicles the lives of a group of rabbits as they search for a new home. This is Penguin Books’ best-selling novel of all time.

5 things you can do with your rabbit instead of giving him back

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

With the holidays coming up, people are getting their travel plans together, and realizing – “Hey! What am I supposed to do with this rabbit while I’m gone??” Unfortunately this train of thought often leads people to simply return the rabbits to wherever they got them from. Like SaveABunny, for instance. This sucks for us because we don’t have a lot of space, and it sucks for the rabbit because he’s losing his home, his family, and everything he’s gotten used to and started caring about since he was adopted. And it especially sucks for the rabbits that we now can’t take in because we don’t have the space anymore.

So, in an effort to get you or someone you know thinking twice before returning a rabbit (or any pet, really,) here’s some alternatives:

1. Boarding. We offer boarding at SaveABunny. We have a lot of excellent resources on hand to spoil your bunny with while you’re away and all the funds go straight back into saving other bunnies. Learn more about our boarding services here. There are other pet boarding options out there, too, all you have to do is look.

2. Pet-sitting. My boyfriend and I have 2 cats and 2 rabbits, and we’re leaving them in the competent hands of Tales of the Kitty for ten days in January while we’re out of the country. The Bay Area is teeming with pet sitters, and many SaveABunny volunteers either offer a rabbit-sitting service themselves, or know someone who does. Send us an email if you’re curious. If you happen to offer pet-sitting, feel free to leave a post in the comments section so other readers can contact you.

3. Asking a friend. I know how hard this is for some people. No one wants to impose on their friends. But when the choice is asking a friend or giving up the rabbit, just take a second to remember that the space that rabbit takes up in the shelter could easily cost another rabbit her life if we don’t have room for her. Suck it up and ask around – you will probably be surprised about how eager a good friend will be to check in on your adorable bunny rabbit for a few days. Just make sure they know the basics and have the vet’s phone number on hand just in case.

4. Taking him with you. I’ll be honest, most rabbits hate traveling, and if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous for them. But that’s not an excuse to just give him back instead. How bad would it be if you brought an adorable fuzzy bunny home for the holidays? Who could possibly complain about that?

5. Not getting a pet in the first place. When you adopt an animal, you assume responsibility for it’s care. Until it dies. Please think carefully about this before adopting any pet from anyone, ever. If you have doubts about your ability to give a rabbit long-term care, you can donate, foster, volunteer, or sponsor a rabbit instead.

Thanks for listening, and if you do have it in you to foster or adopt this holiday season, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Spanky are just three of our adorable new rabbits that desperately need a home:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

We’re thankful for all the wonderful volunteers, fosterers, adopters and animal rescue partners we work with here at SaveABunny, as well as the bunnies themselves, who give us much and ask for remarkably little – even when they need it. We’re also thankful to Marcy Schaaf, the founder of SaveABunny, for her hard work every day, not just saving the lives of rabbits directly, but organizing events, maintaining contacts, attending conferences, and passionately working towards a more rabbit-friendly world. Thanks Marcy.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there, from all of us at SaveABunny!

Vegan bakesale to benefit our furry vegan friends Dec. 5th

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Join us to enjoy some delicious vegan treats and adorable vegan bunnies at 3506 16th St. on Saturday, December 5th. Vegansaurus! is hosting and also has this to say:

We badly need volunteers, eaters, bakers, paper plates, compostable to-go containers & flatware, and hella publicity to make this awesome so mobilize, vegan (pacifist) army and email laura@vegansaurus.com if you can/want to/feel obligated to pitch in! Let’s make this happen!!!

They’re very excited and we are too! Read the full details here.

RabbitVision 5000

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

How does a rabbit see the world? Is it blurry? Colorful? Packed with strangely carrot-shaped items? All excellent questions – and I found a great article that answers many of them. (Except the carrot one. Only rabbits will ever know that.) Here’s five facts about RabbitVision you may not have known:

1. Rabbits can’t see directly in front of them. In that picture of Malcolm up top, he’s not looking at the camera. He probably can’t even see the camera. Yet he seems interested in it – as rabbits often do when they seem to be looking at you face forward. What they’re actually doing is using their fine-tuned sense of smell to fulfill a chemical curiosity – not a visual one.

2. Rabbits have basically no depth perception. That’s part of the reason they hate being picked up, and why they’re so tentative about jumping on to/of off new places. The anatomical reason is the same as number 1 – the field of vision in both eyes barely overlaps, because each eye is on the opposite side of the head.

3. Rabbits can see above their heads. Imagine walking down the street and being able to take in a whole skyscraper without straining your neck. That’s basically how your rabbit looks at you from the floor.

4. Rabbits probably can’t see the color red. They seem to only have the receptors to tell blue and green apart. Great for picking out parsley – bad for, um, driving and getting dressed in the morning.

5. Rabbits can’t see fine details as well as you can. That means they mostly identify you by shape, smell, and movement. So when you stumble home on a Sunday afternoon carrying a tweed suitcase and smelling like watered-down airplane vodka, don’t be surprised when he scurries away as soon as you come over to cuddle.

Handsome Himalayans

Monday, October 12th, 2009

This post is dedicated to a special breed of rabbit known as the Himalayan – or, in Europe, the Russian. These white rabbits with dark ears, nose, paws, and tails probably originated in neither the Himalayas nor Russia. Despite the mystery surrounding the origin of the breed, we do know these things for certain: Himalayans are typically gentle, calm, and love attention. Because of this, they’ve become popular laboratory and meat rabbits. Which makes us sad, because they make fantastic, caring companions – a fact I can vouch for personally.

Also, they’ve been genetically enhanced by generations of rabbit breeders for extra handsomeness. We’re swooning over several at SaveABunny right now:

Borat

Borat

Ilona

Ilona

McDreamy, a rare lionhead Himalayan

McDreamy, a rare lionhead Himalayan

ShyAnne

ShyAnne

And, of course, Phoenix. Although its hard to tell on him.

And, of course, Phoenix. Although it's hard to tell on him.

You can come visit our Himalayans in person, or donate to help us take care of them.

Come fly with me. Away from the litterbox.

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

(Just to let you know in advance, this post is about poo. And flies.)

You know how a cat box will sometimes attract those big fat houseflies that love eating cat poo? Yummy. Anyway, rabbit boxes will sometimes attract cute little fruit flies, because rabbits are cute little vegetarians and have cute little poo. (What, they do.) Of course, fruit flies are still annoying and probably bad for the rabbits to be around, so here’s a rabbit- and environment-safe way to get rid of them:

“At the Oakland shelter, we have used fly traps near the litterboxes (but out
of rabbits’ reach) to control the fruit fly population in the rabbit room.

Here’s a recipe for a very easy, non-toxic fruit fly trap that works (this
is what we use at the shelter):

- 1/4 cup of. Vinegar
- 1/4 cup of Sugar
- Water

Put first 2 ingredients in and put enough water in a jar to make it about
1/2 full and punch a couple holes in the lid.

Let us know if it works for you!”

Extra thanks to our volunteer Anne Martin for the great advice!

Other suggestions included replacing the whole bag of litter, and making sure there’s no composting vegetable matter laying around in house that they could be laying their eggs in. (We all know it happens.)

And to make up for ickyness, here’s Itsy and Bitsy: