As if we needed more reasons to love rabbits, February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, giving us all the more reason to pay some extra attention to our furry little companions.
If you are considering the idea of bringing a cottontail friend to your humble abode, this may be the perfect time to do so.
Most of us know rabbits for their adorable hops but many people don’t realize how much fun a bunny can be beyond their appearance or movements. Most rabbits truly love human companionship. In fact, there are plenty of rabbits looking for homes in adoption centers around the world. According to East Coast Rabbit Rescue, rabbits are the third most surrendered pet at shelters.
Given the fact that they are inexpensive pets and do not require a ton of maintenance, it only makes sense to adopt a bunny if you want an adorable friend to cozy up with.
While some of the most popular pet choices are puppies and cats, a rabbit can bring you the best of both worlds. They are as playful and energetic as a dog but also have the curiosity of a cat.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the ins and outs of getting a pet rabbit for yourself and why you should adopt one instead of buying from a pet store.
Learn Before You Make the Leap: What to Know Before Adopting a Rabbit
Thanks to their absolutely adorable appearance, people often buy or adopt rabbits without giving the action any prior thought. They are not aware of what to expect from the animal and what is expected of them which leads to them buying a bunny for all the wrong reasons.
Rabbits are also cheaper to buy, typically costing anywhere from $10 to $30. This further encourages impulse buys. They are also famous for being a low-maintenance pet, or a great “starter pet.”
These factors translate into uninformed buyers or owners buying a rabbit on a whim, only to realize that the care and maintenance that is required is too much for them. Unfortunately, the care a rabbit needs become overwhelming for many of these people and the little animal often ends up in a shelter.
As mentioned earlier, rabbits are not high-maintenance animals. However, they still require a certain commitment and care – something that should be taken seriously if you want your pet to be healthy. Before you adopt a rabbit, ensure that you are aware of the responsibilities that come with owning one.
Internet sources like this article are a great choice to close the knowledge gap. However, it is good practice to go a step further and get up close and personal with a rabbit in a shelter. Play around with them and interact with the species to get to know them a little better.
It is also important that you choose a rabbit species that is right for you. There are over four dozen breeds of domesticated rabbits. While all of them are cute, the differences lie in size, color, body and ear type, and fur.
Instead of going for one that is the “cutest”, it is better to first interact with the different rabbits and see which one you vibe with. All animals are special and their appearance should not be the reason why you reject or accept them.
Opt to Adopt: Why Adopting a Bunny is Better Than Buying One
In the spirit of Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, it is important to learn the difference between adopting a rabbit and buying one.
Everyone loves a nice little bunny for themselves which often results in people rushing to their nearest pet store and buying one. The problems with buying a rabbit, instead of adopting one, are many. I have mentioned a few of the most prominent issues below.
They Live in Terrible Conditions in Pet Stores
Unaware buyers may not realize this, but getting their rabbits from a pet store is not as innocent as it seems to be.
Sadly, rabbits that are present in pet stores often come from breeding mills. The conditions at these breeding mills are terrible for the animal. Here, rabbits are bred too often and kept in tight spaces, cramped up together. Not much is spent in way of providing care for these rabbits, which is part of the reason why they are sold at very low prices.
Similar to humans, animals require certain social and environmental conditions to thrive. Unfortunately for rabbits in pet stores, these conditions are often not met.
No socialization, attention, or care is given to a rabbit in a breeding mill. This results in bunnies who develop socialization problems when they didn’t have any, to begin with. Furthermore, the poor animals also suffer from various health problems that lead to a poorer quality of life and a shorter lifespan.
If that wasn’t bad enough, pet shops often buy rabbits when they are about four weeks old. This is too young an age for a rabbit to be separated from its mother. As heartbreaking as that is, what’s worse is that these young rabbits often die en route to the pet store.
All animals deserve a cruelty-free life. Sadly, buying from a pet store does not give you that guarantee. Thus, you should aim to adopt.
Adopting Saves a Bunny’s Life
Millions of bunnies end up in a shelter because their previous owners failed to take care of them or simply decided that they did not want them anymore.
Living in a shelter is often extremely stressful for any animal, let alone rabbits, who are fairly social.
By adopting a rabbit, you save an abandoned and homeless animal that needs a caring home and provide them with a safe haven.
Plus, by adopting a rabbit, you not only save a bunny’s life, but you also make room for a second one to be taken into the shelter. That is akin to giving two fluffy hoppers a second chance at life!
Rabbits Need Homes Too
There is no shortage of rabbit shelters. This serves as an indication that there are just so many rabbits that are waiting for a safe home.
As mentioned earlier, rabbits are the third most abundantly adoptable animal, right after dogs and cats. This means millions of rabbits are in need of a home. Therefore, instead of buying a rabbit, you can help one that is in already in need.
Why Rabbits Make Wonderful Pets
Anyone who owns a rabbit will tell you the absolute delight they can be. They can be a terrific addition to your family in the right situations. Let’s have a look at why adopting a rabbit is one of the best decisions you will make.
- Rabbits are Quiet Animals
If you live in an apartment, a rabbit can potentially be the perfect pet for you. You don’t have to worry about your pet bunny making loud noises and giving your neighbors an earful because they make little to no noise. This fact also acts in your favor if you are a light sleeper and are easily woken up. Even if your rabbit somehow decides that they are a night owl, their nocturnal activity likely won’t wake you up.
- Bunnies Love Bonding with Their Owners
Rabbits are friendly animals and love creating a close bond with their owners. Similar to dogs, rabbits are super interactive. They can recognize you by your voice and sight. They also come running to you on their tiny feet on command and often jump up in your lap to exhibit affection and playfulness.
- Rabbits Require Less Space Compared to Other Pets
Thanks to their small size, rabbits can be kept in relatively smaller cages that don’t take up a lot of room in your apartment or house. The cage space just needs to be large enough for them to stretch out and have room for a litter pan along with a space to get fed hay and pellets. In addition, giving them a bunny-proof room to run around in is enough for these adorable pets to get their daily dose of exercise and fun.
- Rabbits Make Clean Pets
Rabbits don’t require the same upkeep as is typical with dogs and cats. They usually groom themselves quite often and tend to keep themselves clean. You don’t have to get them professionally groomed. However, their nails should be trimmed every few weeks. If you buy a long-haired rabbit breed, you should brush them weekly. Another factor that leads to a rabbit’s cleanliness is that they don’t need to be bathed often unless stool sticks to them.
- Rabbits have Long Lifespans
Bringing a rabbit into your household means having a long-term companion. Rabbits live a long life, with their typical age ranging between 8 to 12 years, or even more at times!
- Rabbits are Easily Trained
You may have come across rabbits running through obstacle courses and doing tricks on the T.V. or the internet. Yes, our bunny friends are quite the intelligent species! Rabbits can be easily trained to use a litterbox. A simple positive reinforcement training can go a long way in helping them learn certain behaviors. With only a few minutes of training daily, bunnies can be trained to do many basic tasks. In fact, you can use many dog training techniques on bunnies as well.
- And Most Importantly, Rabbits are Talented Comedians!
If you don’t know what binkies are, prepare to be pleasantly surprised! A binky is basically when a rabbit jumps straight up and then twists in the air. They usually do this when they are happy. In addition, owning a rabbit means you will be witness to cute bunny flops where they flop over and essentially play dead. Rabbits have many such quirky and adorable habits that will surely make them the comedian of the house!
Basic Care Tips for Rabbits
Many first-time pet owners rush into the process of purchasing a rabbit without giving it any thought. But, as with any new pet, you must do your homework before adopting one so that you don’t end up keeping the animal in subpar conditions.
Here is a list of a few basic care tips for your future bunny buddy:
- Rabbits need exercise to stay happy and healthy. Although they don’t need to be taken outside for a walk like dogs, bunnies do actually require time out of their cage to play around and get some exercise in. Daily exercise helps keep them healthy by preventing excessive weight gain. Moreover, getting involved in play helps ease the bunny’s mind, which keeps their mental health in check.
- You need to socialize with your bunny. Some bunnies are shy and tend to hide when they are first adopted. However, rabbits often open up pretty well with time and transition happily into their new home. When you bring in a new rabbit, make sure to handle it gently and carefully so that they feel secure and stay safe from injury.
- Rabbits need something to chew on. Rabbits’ teeth experience continuous growth. For this reason, it is necessary for them to have a large amount of hay as well as chew toys so that they can nibble on them to keep their teeth worn down. If you don’t provide your rabbit with something to chew on, they may bite your furniture, carpets, and other objects around the house.
- They require proper veterinary care. To make sure you are providing the best possible care to your rabbit, schedule regular checkups and fecal examinations with your vet. Remember that after 6 months, female bunnies should be sprayed. Not doing so can result in them developing uterine cancer at later stages in life.
- Pet rabbits require proper attention and a quiet environment. If you have small children in the house, a rabbit may not be the ideal pet choice for you. Rabbits prefer a relatively quieter environment. Moreover, their bone structure is extremely fragile and any mishandling can lead to serious injuries. Therefore, they should be adopted in households where everyone is an adult or the children are a little older to understand the basic handling of a rabbit.
- Every bunny has its own personality. Much like humans, rabbits have varying personalities. This is the reason why it is recommended to hang out with the bunny a bit in the shelter beforehand to determine whether they are the right choice for you.
While rabbits seem like a safe animal to adopt, they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
However, this Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, if you are confident that you can handle the responsibility of a rabbit, then make sure to adopt instead of buying!
Don’t forget to do your research and invest time in learning about their needs and behavior so that you can provide the best possible environment for your furry friend.