There are some facts about rabbits you should know before getting one as a pet. A rabbit can be a wonderful and rewarding pet to have if you’re willing to put in the time, money, and effort to care for one properly. When most people welcome a rabbit into their home, they often have no idea what they’re in for when it comes to their care, and sadly, most rabbits die before hitting their peak years or are put up for adoption because the owner wasn’t prepared to take care of the seemingly cute bundle of fur.
Most assume you can buy a run-of-the-mill cage, feed it rabbit pellets, and call it a day. However, that’s not the case at all. Rabbits are exceptionally high maintenance, possibly even more so than dogs. If you’re ever thinking about taking in a rabbit as the next family pet, you might want to consider the following 7 facts about rabbits you should know before getting one as a pet.
1. Rabbits Are Nocturnal
Being nocturnal is one of the most important facts about rabbits you should know before getting one as a pet. Even though they can be seen awake during the day, rabbits are naturally nocturnal. They are most rambunctious at night, often making a ruckus by throwing around their toys or food dish at two in the morning. While some rabbits might adapt to their human parent’s schedule, most don’t, and if you have your rabbit near your bedroom, you could be kept awake all night. Since constantly moving your rabbit’s cage around the home could stress out your pet, it’s best to permanently put the rabbit’s cage in a location where you won’t be bothered during his/her nighttime activities. This doesn’t mean that your rabbit has to remain in the same location. Regularly letting your bun out to play is actually encouraged!
2. They Require a Lot of Exercise
Rabbits, no matter how big or small, require a regular exercise routine. This doesn’t mean you need to buy your bunny his/her own little mini treadmill, but simply letting your rabbit out to play, hop around, and explore will suffice. Most manufactured rabbit cages are meant to give the rabbit a place to sleep and stay safe when no one is home, not a place to live, so even the large two-story outdoor rabbit enclosures don’t offer adequate space for your bunny to run around. That’s why it’s important to let your rabbit out of the cage for a minimum of three hours each day, whether it be inside the house or in a safely designed outdoor run.
3. Most Rabbits Don’t like to Be Picked up or Cuddled
When some people see a rabbit, their first instinct is to pick it up and give a big squeeze. However, rabbits should never be subjected to this type of affection. In the wild, rabbits are prey to animals like coyotes, large birds, and foxes, and even though your new bunny never spent a day in the wild, he/she still becomes frightened when suddenly picked up or squeezed. Not only does this stress out the rabbit, but it also creates tension in your bunny/human relationship. A simple pat on the head will be enough physical touch to appease your fluffy friend.
4. Rabbits Don’t Generally Make Good Pets for Young Children
Considering the last point, rabbits generally don’t make good first pets for young children. Toddlers and small children love to squeeze anything they can get their hands on, including stuffed animals, and nothing looks more like a stuffed animal than a tiny, furry bunny. This can result in a stressed-out rabbit and a toddler in tears from scratch or bite marks. It’s recommended that you don’t get your child a pet rabbit until he/she is able to understand how delicate, fragile, and skittish they are.
5. Rabbits Are Destructive
Although rabbits are not technically rodents, you have to remember that they love to chew – and they’ll chew on anything and everything, including electrical cords, drapes, blankets, and even furniture. So, if you plan on bringing a rabbit into your home, make sure you keep an eye on the bunny at all times and have a safe space that he/she can reside in while you’re not home.
6. Rabbits Are Expensive
Just because you can purchase a rabbit from a local breeder or adopt one from the humane society for under $30 doesn’t mean everything else is that cheap. A decent setup for your bunny, including a cage, food dish, water bottle, and toys, can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on where you purchase your supplies. Also, keep in mind that you need to provide the rabbit with pellets, good-quality hay, and any necessary vet care. Vet bills can be especially expensive since there are a limited number of veterinarians that are willing to take in a rabbit as a patient. Be sure to add up all the costs and include your new family member in your budget.
7. They Can Live to Be 10 Years Old
While most other small pets, like hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs, only live for a few years, rabbits can get as old as ten years old, especially when cared for properly. We would all love it if our pets could live forever, but one of the main reasons rabbits end up in animal shelters is because the owner was not prepared to spend that much time and money on a pet that lives this long. When you bring a bunny into your home, make sure that you are fully committed to spending the next decade caring for this high-maintenance critter. After all, your new pet depends solely on you for his/her happiness and wellbeing.
As you can see, being a great rabbit parent is no easy task – but it’s not impossible! Before you adopt one of these cute albeit high-maintenance balls of fluff, consider all the facts we’ve presented to you and evaluate how prepared you are to welcome in the new addition. Even if you already have a pet rabbit and have learned something new, there’s no better time to than now to start making changes to make sure your rabbit is living life to the fullest!