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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Adopted a Stray Rabbit

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    • saralynn
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      We have recently adopted a foster rabbit that was found living outside-she was a pet prior and was probably abandoned. We are unsure how long she was outside for and how long she has gone without human companionship. The people who found her separated her from another rabbit-whom we think she may have been bonded with. We have been making very little progress with her and are afraid if she may have been a “feral” rabbit. Is it possible for her to be our companion? Trust building has been slow, but she does allow us to hand feed her and pet her (within her boundaries of course.) What should be our next steps? Would she better off at a sanctuary? We do not have a yard for her, but allow mostly free roam inside until we get her litter box trained.

      She also has started “nesting” and we have an inkling she may be pregnant, which is a whole other bridge we will cross in approximately a week.


    • Bam
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      Thank you for adopting this rabbit!

      Rabbits that have been living feral  tend to be slow to trust humans. That she allows you to hand feed her and pet her is great. It means you are starting to build trust. My best advice is just to be patient. Time is a huge factor. My first stray bun needed a whole year before he warmed up to his humans. My second stray bun needed a few months, but he was a lot younger.

      Its best if she has a home base with a hidey house (can be made of a cardboard box), a litter box with hay in one corner for munching while pooping and peeing, and her water bowl. Rabbits like to have a secure place of their own. Just knowing there is a safe place to run to if need be tends to make rabbits more interested in the wider environment. You don’t need a yard to keep a rabbit happy and healthy. This is a house rabbit forum, so most of us here keep our buns indoors.

      If she is pregnant you should give her a box to make a nest of. Rabbits typically make the nest very near their due day. She will not lay with the kits like dogs and cats do, she’ll wrap them in her fur and come once or twice per day to feed them. There is some info on our Resources-page (scroll to Pregnancies)  https://binkybunny.com/links-to-house-rabbit-resources/

       


      • saralynn
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        Thank you for the response! This is my first rabbit, so I have been researching so much so that we can give her a good life, I have only ever owned rats. She definitely is very wary of her current environment right now, so I will try what you suggested to see if that gives her some more peace of mind and comfort. We have only had her for 2 weeks, but I am happy to hear that it is possible for her to trust us at some point! We were afraid that she would keep the “wild life” mentality after learning her background. She is a big escape artist with the pet gate we bought and that has been stressing her out too with us having to guide her back to the kitchen area every time she finds a new way around/through/over.

        We have a vet appointment next week and will be able to tell if she has been spayed- of course if the babies come that will give us our answer too. Thank you for providing the resources for her potential pregnancy- I am really hoping she is not, but that is out of our control at this point.


    • Bam
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      15254 posts Send Private Message

      Two weeks is practically nothing when it comes to gaining the trust of a rabbit that isnt a very young baby. Rabbits are low in the food chain and many species of predators, both birds and land-living are out to get them, day and night. If your girl was of a more trusting nature, she would not have lasted many days in the wild.

      Young rabbits tend to be great escape artists. Your rabbit is most likely young.

      It’s great that you have rat experience ☺ That will be useful, even if rats and rabbits have many differences.

      We’d love to hear how you get along, and we’ll be very happy to try and help!


    • DanaNM
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      I agree that 2 weeks is nothing in rabbit land! And accepting any petting or food means you are well on your way. Rabbits that are truly feral usually aren’t possible to catch. And I agree that being in a safe home is wonderful for her. In time, if you have the ability, she may appreciate having a bonded companion, but that’s something you can think about down the road.

      My best tip for earning the trust of a rabbit is to play “hard to get”. So you can spend a lot of time on the floor with her, but pretend to ignore her for the most part. You can still hand feed etc, but don’t worry about trying to cuddle or pet her yet. Usually when a bun is comfortable relaxing near you it means they are ready to consider some nose rubs. Minimizing how often you have to pick her up will also help.

      I also agree that free-roam is awesome, but she will feel safer with a “home base”, such as a pen that is kept open most of the time but has her litter box, a hide, etc..

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • BZOO
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      My sister found a rabbit in the park.  She warmed up pretty quickly.  Lots of love goes a long way.  Good luck and have fun!

      On a similar note, I once found a pregnant rat in the park.  She practically ran up my leg…. please take me home!!  Of course I did, she was very sweet.


    • DanaNM
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      6185 posts Send Private Message

      BZOO you are practically Dr. Doolittle! 😀

      Not many people would respond happily if a rat ran up their leg in a park, lol! (But if it was obviously domestic I may have done the same, I know they are wonderful pets!)

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


      • BZOO
        Participant
        177 posts Send Private Message

        We’ve even nursed a few Praying Mantis back to life.  Let them live on a table of house plants and give them a cricket and a drop of water.

        I draw the line at most bugs and coyotes.

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Adopted a Stray Rabbit