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Bunny Information

Published on Sunday, April 8, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions about House Rabbits

FAQ FYI PDQ - Frequently Asked Questions For Your Information Pretty Darn Quick

1. Can a "House" rabbit have outside visits?

Answer: Yes & No. There are valid arguments for both.

The Outside visits argument: Fresh air, fun things to smell and sniff and hear can offer enrichment to your bunny if your bunny seems to enjoy it, but you need to take precautions to keep your bunny as safe as  possible.  

If your bunny is allowed outside: Be careful:

  • Yards must be pesticide free.
  • Domestic bunnies have lost their ability to tell the difference between a toxic plant and ones they can eat, so you have to be sure their run is free of plants toxic to rabbits. 
  • Even supervised rabbits can be taken by hawks during the day hours so it's best to have some fenced in area with a cover.
  • Don't leave a bunny unsupervised if they do not have some sort of protective covering.
  • And never leave your bunny free to roam in the backyard overnight.  They will definitely be subject to night predators, like owls and raccoons.  (even some cats!)
  • Even during the day while you are watching them they can be subject to predators (see a forum post about a hawk flying right down onto their porch.  It turned out okay, but it's amazing story to learn from. Check it out!

Inside Only Argument: As you can see, there are dangers outside.   Plus, there are contagious diseases, illnesses and worms that  rabbits can catch no matter how well you prepare your outside run.


2. My female bunny is humping my other rabbit? Is she really a boy?

Answer: Most likely she's still a she.  Bunnies hump not only for sex. They hump for dominance. A bunny's gender makes no difference.  They may even take turns humping each other trying to prove who's boss.  Bunnies may fight it out if they can't resolve it this way, so hopefully humping will  do the job.   Just be careful to not let your bunny ever hump the other one face.  Privates can be bitten off.  EEEOUUCH.

NOTE: If your bunnies are not neutered/spayed and a pet store or some one else has just told you their gender, you may want to get a rabbit savvy vet to sex them to be sure.  Gender mistakes happen all the time and result in surprise litters. 


3. Why is discussion about intentional breeding not allowed on this site?

Answer: For three reasons:

  1. Because the staff at Binkybunny is focused on individual rabbits, we are not qualified to discuss intentional breeding.
  2. I've worked with rescue groups for many years and knowing that rabbits are the third most euthanized pet in the United States, I've become an advocate of finding homes for the already overwhelming numbers of abandoned bunnies, many of which are in danger of being put to sleep because of overcrowding. With that said, I don't want to demonize breeders.  As with everything, there are good and bad.  Ultimately, people who take an animal into their home are ultimately responsible for their animal's welfare no matter where the pet originally came from.   And hopefully this site can some how help rabbit owners through their trials and tribulations so that they will not put their bunny at risk by giving it up.
  3. Because there are arguments to validate both sides of the coin:  Rescue vs Breeding, I don't want the forum to become a debate board.  I only want to focus on rabbits as individual pets. (and again, we just don't have the experience with breeding questions - there are plenty of forums that are devoted to that)

4. Don't see your question?

Answer: Check out our Forum FAQ section, and if you still don't see it there, then ask away in the forum.  Friendly people to help you out!


5. How much does having a rabbit cost?

Answer: I can't give you the actual cost because your set up may be completely different, and where you live may be cheaper, or more expensive.  What I can do is offer a list of things you can calculate yourself.

ONE TIME

BUNNY PROOFING

    • Wire Covers/Cord Protectors
    • Pen/Gate,etc  if needed (for blocking off areas (see bunny proofing section)

HOUSING

ACCESSORIES
    • Pet Carrier
    • Water Bottle/Crock
    • Food Crock
    • Hay Rack
    • Soft Bedding
    • Litter box
    • Hiding Box 
GROOMING
    • Nail Clippers
    • Brush/Comb
    • Styptic Powder
ONGOING COSTS

SUPPLIES

    • Hay
    • Pellets
    • Greens
    • Litter
    • Treats
    • Toys 
MEDICAL CARE
    • Critical Care
    • Feeding Syringe
    • Vet Care: This can get expensive. Rabbits are not cheap patients!  Always have a at least $200 dollars saved for medical care. The best way to find out vet costs is to call your local vet and ask what they usually treat rabbits for and how much is the average cost. (one common problem is GI Stasis)

6. What is a "House" rabbit?

Answer: A house rabbit (term pegged by the House Rabbit Society) is one that  lives in the house with the family.  Though, the rabbit may have his/her own inside home base like a pen, a cage or area, the litter trained rabbit can safely explore and lounge with the rest of the family in a bunny proofed home.



7. C'mon, can a rabbit really be litter trained?

Answer: If they are spayed and neutered then the answer is:

Absolutely! It takes patience and consistency. Though many rabbits are perfect with their litter box habits, some may not be absolutely perfect. You may have to be prepared for a few stragglers. Even rabbits, who only urinate and leave piles in their box, may sometimes still leave little pills here and there. They are dry and easy to pick up. And it's nothing in comparison to a cat who leaves presents for you. : )

Click here to learn how to litter train your bunny.  If you have stubborn bunny, once you click on that page, scroll down tips.


8. My rabbit doesn't like being held. How can I teach my rabbit to enjoy it?

Answer: Pictures and photos always show cute rabbits being held. What a farce! It's no wonder people feel confused when they get cute "cuddly" bunny and find out it's not "cuddly" at all.  And it's hard not to want to pick up and cuddle those cute furry faces!

As young babies, bunnies should be handled to get used to being around humans, and to make it easier to do nail trims, etc.   And you never know, you might actually find a rabbit who continues to enjoy  being held even into adulthood. (though that's rare)

I know people who have had rabbits that enjoy actually being held.  And out of the hundreds of rabbits that I have come in contact with over the years, I too have experienced a few that really enjoy snuggling in a human's arms. But that really is not the norm.  

Many rabbits may tolerate being held very well which makes it easier to trim nails. But sometimes people mistake "tolerating" with "enjoying".  I worked at a shelter, and it's common for adopters to say, "I used to have rabbits when I was a kid, and we held them all the time." Sometimes, they'll even grab the bunny off the floor, plop it on their lap and proudly say, "See, he's fine with it."  But when I ask them to observe the bunny's body language, ear placement, and the rabbit's heartbeat, the truth is revealed.  It's an honest mistake; many people don't know how to read bunny body language. (it's subtle - that's part of their survival technique)

So I think the best way to approach this is to look at it from a rabbit's point of view. Rabbits are prey animals, and being held feels the same as being caught. Their instincts are telling them they are in life-threatening danger, and it's not like they can easily reason through it; they are rabbits after all.   

I mean look at us humans; we have fight or flight responses about all kinds of things that aren't always dangerous - like heights, spiders, thunder, and I'm sure you could think of something else. Well, we're expecting rabbits, who have been on this earth for millions of years, and survived because of these instincts, to get over it.

So I think the answer to the question is:  If your rabbit doesn't like being held, then most likely he won't ever enjoy it.  But that's okay, there are other ways to experience joy from bunnies. I think it's incredibly entertaining to watch a rabbits explore and binky. And when they are all done, if they want to snuggle on ground, I'm happy to oblige. And the best thing is, I find that their personalities really come alive when they feel safe, and part of feeling safe is when they can keep all four on the floor.  

It also forces me to hang out and just relax.  Something that can benefit us too!


9. My bunny was so friendly as a baby, but it's only been a few months, and now she's pyscho! She lunges, growls, and sometimes even bites. What is wrong?!

Answer: When bunnies reach sexual maturity (around 4 months) their hormones kick in. These hormones not only drive them to mate, but also to become territorial. Which can make them "defend" their territory from you, as well as take out any sexual frustration on you as well.  Spaying and neutering takes care of this.  Not only that, but it helps with litter box habits, and makes their urine and pills less pungent.

Plus, unspayed females have a high risk of cancer in their reproductive organs. Spaying prevents this from happening.


10. Well, my bunny is over the 4 months hump, plus he's been neutered for a while, and one day he just turned aggressive towards me. What did I do?

Answer: Have you been around other animals? Other rabbits?  Did you change your perfume or lotion?  Are you on any new medications?   Rabbits recognize us mostly by our smell.  If you no longer smell like you, he might not recognize you and feel threatened.

If nothing has changed scent wise, then take your bunny to the vet. Aggression can be a result of a rabbit in pain or suffering from illness.


11. What do I feed my rabbit?

Answer: Adult rabbits (7 mnths+) need:

  • Unlimited Timothy Hay (stay away from alfalfa - it's too rich)
  • A good high fiber (min 18%) timothy hay based pellet. No nuts, dried fruits etc included)
  • Lots of dark fresh leafy greens, like dandelion, parsley, cilantro.
  • Unlimited fresh water of course.
Check out my rabbits' diets 
For more detailed general diet info, and diets for baby bunnies, visit the House Rabbit Society


12. How can I tell if my bunny is fit?

Answer: I cannot say it better than an excerpt I found in an diet article on www.rabbitnetwork.org. 

"How do you know if your bunny is fat? Many house rabbits are, and they are not at all embarrassed by it! Rabbits store fat inside their abdomen, which makes just eyeballing them for love handles ineffective. Run your hands along your rabbit's side, feeling the rib cage. When you reach the end of the ribs, your should be able to feel a slight inward slope, the waist. Fat bunnies will balloon out instead. Remember that the ribs are palpable in even quite obese rabbits, so don't let your bunny fool you into more snacks!"

SOURCE: Rabbitnetwork.org

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Author: BB

Categories: FAQ for Bunnies

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