Each year, thousands and thousands of pet rabbits are abandoned at shelters because people purchase them from a pet store without researching bunny ownership. I will admit I fell into this category as well.
My first experience with rabbits
Two years ago, we stopped at a pet store that had just opened up, and I fell in love with an 8-week-old bunny. As soon as I held him, that was it. I remember the owner telling me that bunnies did better as a single pet, were low maintenance, and did NOT require a lot of space, just a tiny cage or hutch. I am cringing right now as I’m typing this!
After having bunnies for the last two years, I cannot believe my inexperience and misinformation. I have come a long way since then, and now we have four… yes, you read that right, FOUR very spoiled house bunnies.
Bunnies are excellent pets, but like any animal, it is essential to look up the responsibilities of pet ownership to avoid having to rehome your animal.
I wanted to share my experiences and debunk some myths about bunny ownership that I wish I had known about:
Rabbits are low maintenance.
FALSE!!!!! We currently have over 40 animals on our farm, and I can confidently say that our pet rabbits are high-maintenance pets. They are not animals. You can just put it in a cage and feed it once a day, and that is it.
Rabbits need a consistent diet of fresh vegetables, clean housing, daily monitoring, regular interaction, routine veterinary care, grooming, and daily exercise!
Rabbits do not require a lot of space
FALSE!!!! Bunnies are highly active animals. They love to run, dig, jump and play. In the bunny world, we call their kicks binkies. It is the cutest thing ever, meaning the bunny is happy. They need an area that provides enough space for them to exercise daily.
We converted our mudroom into our indoor bunny playroom, which has access to its outdoor play area. They also have free reign of our living room and my office but not the rest of our house. We have five indoor dogs, which is just too chaotic for them.
Rabbits like to cuddle
This can be true or false. From my experience, it depends on the bunny’s personality. Our Holland Lop male can be very skittish. He is wary of new people and objects and is our more cautious bunny out of the four. On the other hand, our three females are very social and outgoing and seek the attention of strangers. Each rabbit has its distinct personality.
Most rabbits always prefer to have their feet on the ground, so I recommend getting on their level and sitting or laying on the floor with your bunny, and they will crawl and jump all over you in no time.
Rabbits are long-term commitment pets
TRUE!!!! Bunnies that live indoors and are well cared for can live 10 to 15 years, even 20 years.
Rabbits POOP a lot
TRUE!!! TRUE! Bunnies graze on hay constantly and poop about every thirty seconds. Thankfully, poop is pelleted and dry, and bunnies are easy to litter train. They will occasionally pee or poop next to their litterbox, but 99% of the time in their litter box.
I clean our bunny’s litter trays at least twice a week but sweep up any loose poop and put it in their litter trays during the week. Now that we have debunked some common myths and misconceptions about bunnies let’s discuss some of the benefits of rabbit ownership.
Bunnies are smart
TRUE!!! They are brilliant, can learn tricks, and have distinct personalities. They can be charming, affectionate, interactive, and funny. Bunnies are also tranquil animals, so they can happily live in an apartment (make sure your landlord approves). They are very loyal creatures and develop strong bonds with their owners.
Check your local rescue
Please check your local rescue and shelters if you are considering getting a bunny. There are so many bunnies that need homes, many of them have been well-socialized, and some shelters will bond your bunnies for you. If you do the research and have patience, you and your family can have a great bond with your rabbits.