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Small Pets - Rabbit

Rabbits are often viewed as a beginner pet, because they are inexpensive and small, but they will actually have a huge impact on your life. Rabbits require far more attention than one would first think because a lot of the practices that have been common place with rabbit ownership are now seen as outdated. Rabbits require a lot of space, but they love to chew, so having a large designated area for your rabbit is crucial.  Rabbits also do not mix very well with children, because rabbits are easily startled and require a safe and quiet environment. Kids also tend to lose interest in their pet rabbit after a few weeks because they are not very social and require a lot of cleaning.


Rabbits are herbivores and require a varied and balanced diet. Commercial pellets should be the main part of their diet. Rabbits also require access to water and hay at all times. Rabbits have very delicate digestive systems, so do not feed them too many vegetables, the right amount being two to four cups per day of mixed vegetables. Your rabbit’s diet must contain fiber, otherwise its gastro-intestinal tract does not function properly and can shut down resulting in a painful death. Rabbits can have as much hay as they want and they need at least ¼ cup of high-fiber protein pellets per day. Hay is the most important aspect of your rabbit’s diet because it helps to file down their teeth and give them their required calories per day. You must make sure that your rabbit has fresh water; rabbits can drink either out of a water bottle or a dish.

Care and Handling for Your Pet

The initial fees of owning a rabbit are relatively small, but the startup costs and ongoing costs can be costly. Rabbits require a large habitat, a water bowl, litter box, chew toys, sterilization, hay, vegetables and pellets. Rabbits also demand attention in making sure that they have fresh water, food, vegetables, and a clean cage in order to prevent disease. Rabbits also require gentle interaction in order to stay socialized. They also require at least an hour of exercise and play time a day. Rabbits are crepuscular, meaning that they sleep during the day and night and are awake and active at dusk and dawn. Rabbits also require more veterinary care than other small pets because they live longer. Within 48 hours of purchasing your rabbit, you should take a fecal sample to the vet to check for parasites. Rabbits also require a vaccination against rabbit calicivirus which causes death in over 90% of cases.   Rabbits may develop other diseases and health issues, so it is important to keep that potential cost in mind. Rabbits live to be 7 to 10 years old in captivity, and they reach maturity at approximately six months of age. It is important if you are keeping a male and female rabbit together to get them spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters. Litters are born within thirty days of conception and can range from four to ten bunnies.

It is very important to handle your rabbit properly. Panicked rabbits can lash out due to fear and kick violently or scratch and bite. If the rabbit struggles in this encounter it could become paralyzed due to damage done to its spine. Rabbits can also be scared to death, causing heart failure. To pick up a rabbit properly grab the scruff at the back of their neck gently while supporting its lower body. Never pick up or be rough with a rabbit’s ears as they are easily damaged. The best place for your rabbit to live is indoors in a properly-heated area of the home. Many people are used to seeing rabbits kept in outdoor shelters or in garages, but this should not be the case because they do not do well in extreme hot and cold temperatures. Rabbits should also be kept indoors because they are often the prey of other outdoor animals. Look for somewhere quiet and comfortable when choosing where to place your rabbits living quarters in your house. Make sure that whatever type of living system you arrange for your rabbit is clean and stocked with hay, water and toys. Most of the rabbit cages that are sold in stores are too small. Rabbits need room to roam; this can be done by using a pen or a large cage that is a minimum of ten times the size of your rabbit. It should also be quite tall so that your rabbit does not hit its head when it hops. You can also make a custom home for your rabbit yourself much cheaper than what you would pay at the store.  A rabbit’s cage should be tidied every day to get rid of waste and anything that may be damp. You should clean the rabbit’s cage with soap and water once a week to prevent disease.


Grooming your pet rabbit is fairly easy unless they have long hair. Long haired rabbits can require moregrooming in order to prevent hairballs. Your rabbit will require a gentle comb to brush through its coat. Your rabbit should have ceramic dishes so that it will not chew through them. Rabbits also like to burrow and have privacy so it is important to give them a shelter within their pen. Rabbits require shavings or litter for their litter pan. You should also get a scooper so that you will not have to fully change the litter every time you clean out their litter pan.  Your rabbit may also require a carrier for traveling because they do not do very well on leashes. Rabbits like to chew so it is important to provide them with toys to do so.

Overall rabbits make great pets for some people, but are not necessarily a good choice for children. You will be glad you did the proper research before purchasing your rabbit because you will know the costs and needs associate with your new pet. They can be an excellent long term pets so it is important that you are sure you are ready for a rabbit before you adopt. Doing the proper research before purchasing your rabbit will let you know what to expect financially and of your rabbit. If you decide a rabbit is right for you have fun bonding with your new fluffy friend.