Rabbits are popular pets. There are about four dozen domestic breeds to select from. Each breed has its own distinct characteristics. Rabbits range in size from 2-pound dwarfs to more than 20-pound gentle giants as some people like to describe them.
Owners of rabbits love to brag about how intelligent their pet is; just like any pet owner once they start sharing stories about their pet, they can’t be stopped. Many rabbits will respond to their name when called. Some recognize other words too. They are easy to litter box train; easier than cats rabbit owners will boast. Using repetition, rabbits can learn to do various things at their owner’s command (sounds like a trick performing rabbit).
Just like cats and dogs, rabbits come in a variety of fur types and colors. There are mixed breed rabbits too. These have very individual looks which might be why their owner fell in love with them. As they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” A mixed breed rabbit might have one ear up and one ear down. Others might have both ears out to the side. They must bring a cheery smile to their owner’s face each morning; how could they not?
For the safety of the pet rabbit (and the contents of the house) they need to have a cage or caged area in the home. But, to have a happy rabbit, it cannot stay in a cage all the time. All rabbits, no matter what their size, have lots of energy and need running room. They are quickly bored and must have things to entertain them or they will find a way to entertain themselves. For example, they like to chew and if not provided with ample toys they will chew on items their owner will not appreciate (table legs, shoes). Owners do not have to spend a lot of money on toys for their pet. Rabbits are happy with a simple cardboard carton or paper towel roll. Inexpensive baby toys, like plastic keys on a ring, will keep them busy for hours. Straw door mats that have not been treated with chemicals are a good purchase. Old towels or fabric will keep them occupied as well.
Each rabbit has its own personality. They can be aggressive, independent, or playful. Some just like to sit quietly and enjoy getting attention. Whatever the rabbit’s personality, they all require daily social interaction. One way to ensure they get this is to place their cage where people congregate.
Certain things will cause a rabbit to become highly stressed. One thing they don’t like is change. They do not want to be in unfamiliar surroundings so joining their owner on vacation is out of the question. They are definitely home-bodies! Small children can cause a rabbit stress also. When a small child reaches to grab a rabbit, the rabbit might become frightened and feel insecure. Seeing those outstretched arms coming at it, an alert goes up and the child is viewed as a predator. For this reason, it is important for adults to teach children the correct way to pick up a rabbit and carry it (specific instructions are on the web). If not, the rabbit could be seriously injured. The child also could be injured because a scared rabbit, acting in self-defense, might scratch or even bite this small human predator. With adult supervision though, children can learn how to lovingly treat a rabbit. As the child gets older, it will have a bunny-buddy for life.