As a rabbit owner, I know bunny care can be a fulfilling yet daunting experience. Unfortunately, many get a rabbit without understanding the responsibility of owning one.
To have a healthy pet rabbit, you must provide a safe environment, pay attention to your rabbit's diet, provide mental stimulation, and learn about their specific needs and behaviors. This includes selecting the right breed, creating a suitable living space, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring proper hygiene and grooming.
You can enjoy a long and happy relationship together by learning how to take care of a bunny. Read on to learn everything you need for your new pets.
In my opinion, one of the most important things you can do is understand the nature of rabbits. Rabbits are prey animals, which means they are naturally cautious and easily frightened. They have evolved to be alert and always on the lookout for potential danger.
As a result, they can be easily stressed by changes in their environment or routine or act frightened when you approach. It's important to provide them with a safe and secure living space where they can feel comfortable and relaxed.
There are many different breeds of domestic rabbits, each with their own unique characteristics. Some breeds are better suited to living indoors as house rabbits, while others are more suited to outdoor living.
It's important to research different breeds and choose one that fits your lifestyle and living situation. For example, some breeds are more active and require more space to run and play, while others are more docile and prefer a quieter, more relaxed environment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that pet rabbits are social animals and thrive on companionship. They enjoy spending time with other rabbits and can also form close bonds with their human caregivers. If you're considering getting a pet rabbit, providing them with a companion is important. This can be another rabbit (preferably) or even a cat or dog that is gentle and well-behaved around rabbits.
When it comes to selecting the right rabbit, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to choose a rabbit that is healthy, the right breed for your lifestyle, and that you will be able to take care of properly. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Knowing what breed you want is important before you start looking for a rabbit. There are many different breeds of rabbits, and each has its own unique characteristics.
Some breeds are better suited for families with children, while others are better for single people or couples. Some breeds have long hair, while others have short hair. It's important to choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and personality.
Rabbits for kids
I would suggest a large rabbit for families with children. This can be a flemish giant, continental giant, chinchilla giganta, or any other large rabbit breed you can find. My reasoning behind this is that kids can't easily pick up these large bunnies, which means they are less likely to get hurt.
They are also large enough to be easily spotted and won't accidentally be sat on or squished. Giant breeds also have very gentle and calm temperaments, making them perfect for a house full of chaotic kids.
Bunnies that are best suited to apartments
On the other hand, small rabbits like Netherland dwarf rabbits, Polish rabbits, and Dwarf Hotots are perfect for single people living in an apartment. These rabbits don't need that much space due to their size, but do make sure you bunny-proof everything before letting them loose in your apartment.
Best bunnies for seniors
If you have a lot of time to spend with your pets, then long-haired rabbits like Angoras or Jersey Wooly's might be perfect for you. These bunnies need a lot of grooming due to their long fur coats, making them perfect for someone who can spend hours looking after their fluffy friends.
Adopting from a breeder is often the better option. Breeders know the breed and can help you choose the right rabbit for your lifestyle. They also take care to ensure that their rabbits are healthy and well-socialized.
It's important to do your research and find a reputable breeder. Look for a breeder who is a member of a rabbit breed club or association, shows with rabbits, and has a good reputation in the community.
One of the benefits of adopting from a breeder is that you can often choose the sex of your rabbit. Male rabbits are generally more laid-back and affectionate, while female rabbits are more independent and outgoing. However, it's important to spay or neuter your rabbit, regardless of its sex, to prevent health issues and unwanted litters.
Adopting a rabbit from a rescue can be a rewarding experience for both you and your new furry friend. Not only are you providing a loving home for a rabbit in need, but you are also helping to free up space at the rescue for more rabbits to be saved.
When adopting from a rescue, you can expect to receive valuable information about the rabbit's history, personality, and specific needs. This can help you choose the right rabbit for your lifestyle and ensure you are prepared to care for them.
Additionally, most rescue rabbits have already been spayed or neutered, which can save you time and money. The rescue may also provide initial veterinary care, such as vaccinations and deworming, and may offer advice on ongoing care.
It's important to note that adopting a rabbit from a rescue is a commitment, and you should be prepared to provide a loving and stable home for the duration of their life, which can be up to 10 years or more. However, the love and joy that a rescue rabbit can bring into your life is immeasurable.
This should be your absolute last resort. While buying from a pet store may seem like the easier option, there are some problems associated with it.
Most pet stores get their rabbits from breeding mills, which are often overcrowded and unsanitary. This can lead to health issues in the rabbits, which can be expensive to treat.
Pet shops also often sell rabbits way too young. Bunnies should only be separated from their mothers at eight weeks old.
If you decide to buy from a pet store, ask the staff about the rabbit's health history, age, and where it came from. Look for a rabbit that is active, alert, and has a shiny coat. Avoid rabbits that have discharge from their eyes or nose, sneeze, or are lethargic.
As a responsible bunny owner, creating a safe and comfortable environment for your furry friend is important. Here are some tips on how to set up your rabbit's enclosure and bunny-proof your living space.
Choosing the right rabbit cage or enclosure is crucial for your rabbit's well-being. The enclosure should be large enough for your rabbit to hop around and stand up on its hind legs without its ears touching the roof. A good rule of thumb is that the bunny should be able to hop three times in one direction without hitting the other wall of the enclosure.
A wire cage with a solid bottom is a good option as it provides good ventilation and is easy to clean. Make sure to line the bottom of the cage with soft bedding material such as grass hay, or straw to keep your bunny comfortable.
For an outdoor playpen or large outdoor rabbits enclosure, make sure to cover the bottom with wire or place the cage on a cement floor. The wire will stop the bunny from digging out but it should have large enough holes for your bunny to graze through. Also make sure the wire is flat on the ground to prevent it from hurting your rabbit's feet and hocks.
For large indoor enclosures, you can cover the floor with linoleum flooring or rubber chair mats to protect the floor. Make sure the ground cover sticks out about 15 cm (6 inches) on the outside of the cage since bunnies like to wee in corners.
Also, make sure there's ample space for your bunny to hide. Bunnies with a comfortable escape tend to be more relaxed and outgoing.
Rabbits love to chew on things, and it's important to make sure your living space is safe for your bunny. Bunny-proof your home by keeping electrical cords and wires out of reach and covering them with cord protectors. Move house plants out of reach, as some plants can be toxic to rabbits. Use cardboard boxes and wooden chew toys to provide mental stimulation and prevent your bunny from chewing on furniture or other household items.
It's also important to rabbit-proof your home by blocking off areas where your bunny could get stuck or injured. Use baby gates or other barriers to keep your bunny in a safe area away from electrical cords, stairs, unsupervised toddlers, or other unfriendly pets.
Overall, creating a safe and comfortable environment for your bunny is essential for its health and happiness. With a little effort and attention to detail, you can ensure that your bunny has a happy and healthy life.
As a responsible rabbit owner, I understand that feeding my rabbit a healthy diet is crucial for its overall health and well-being. In this section, I will discuss the key components of a healthy rabbit's diet, including the importance of grass hay, fresh greens and vegetables, and fresh water.
Grass hay, fresh greens and vegetables, and fortified pellets in the right amounts are very important for a healthy bunny. As rabbits have sensitive digestive tracts, avoiding harmful foods, such as chocolate, avocado, and sugary treats, is important.
Monitoring your rabbit's body weight and adjusting its diet is also important. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition. Keep in mind that young rabbits and adult rabbits have different diets. Young rabbits need a lot of protein to grow, which means they thrive on alfalfa hay, while adult rabbits should only get a handful of this very calcium-rich hay once a week at most.
Young rabbits should not be introduced to green foods, such as broccoli, fruits, and other rich treats, until they are at least three to six months old to avoid digestive upsets.
Grass hay, such as timothy hay, erogrostis, and oat hay, should make up the majority of an adult rabbit's diet. Hay keeps a rabbit's teeth from becoming overgrown and provides essential fiber for a healthy digestive system.
Young rabbits can have a combination of grass hay and legume hay, such as alfalfa to keep them growing properly. Make sure to give your rabbit access to fresh hay daily, and remove any old or soiled hay from your rabbit's living area.
Rabbits eat almost consistently, so make sure they have enough hay to nibble on to keep their body weight up and teeth healthy.
Fresh water should always be available to your rabbit. Make sure to change your rabbit's water daily and provide it in a clean, spill-proof container.
In addition to eating hay, rabbits should be offered fresh green foods and vegetables daily. Some good options include carrot tops, kale, spinach, wheatgrass, and romaine lettuce.
Remember to introduce new foods slowly and monitor your rabbit's reaction. If your rabbit experiences diarrhea or other digestive issues, remove the new food from its diet.
A diet is essential for your rabbit's health and well-being. By providing fresh hay, fresh greens and vegetables, and fresh water, you can ensure your rabbit gets the nutrients it needs to thrive.
One of the most important things you can do is monitor your rabbit's body weight and overall health. Here are a few things to check.
Regularly weighing your bunny and keeping track of any changes in weight can help detect health issues early on. If you notice any significant changes in your rabbit's weight, it is important to consult with a veterinarian.
In addition to weight monitoring, keeping an eye on your rabbit's overall health is important. Signs of a healthy rabbit include a shiny coat, bright eyes, and a clean nose. However, if you notice any changes in your rabbit's behavior, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, it is important to seek veterinary care.
Rabbits' feet and hocks are particularly sensitive, and keeping them clean and dry is important to prevent infections. Trimming a rabbit's nails prevents overgrowth, which can lead to injuries, discomfort, and even health problems. If you are unsure how to trim your bunny's nails, consult with a veterinarian or a professional groomer.
I recommend swaddling your rabbit in a towel or blanket when it's time for nail trimming. Have someone hold your pet while you trim your rabbit's nails by exposing one paw at a time. Make sure to give your bunny lots of treats and green foods after to show them nail clipping leads to good things.
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, and problems with their gut can lead to serious health problems and even death. A healthy rabbit diet should consist of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of pellets to keep the gut going. It is important to avoid feeding rabbits foods that are high in sugar or fat, as this can lead to digestive issues.
If you feed your rabbit and notice a change in behavior, such as refusing the food, not eating at all, and not pooping, see a vet immediately!
Spaying and neutering for female and male rabbits can prevent unwanted litters and also provide health benefits. Female rabbits are at risk for developing uterine cancer, which can be prevented by spaying. Neutering male rabbits can reduce aggressive behavior, territorial marking, and prevent testicular cancer. It is important to discuss the benefits and risks of sterilization with a veterinarian before making a decision.
In addition to the above, it is also important to provide dental care and encourage proper chewing to prevent dental problems. Regular veterinary check-ups are also crucial to maintain your bunny's health.
Rabbits are not just cute and fluffy; they are intelligent and social creatures that thrive on interaction. Understanding their behavior and providing the right toys and activities are essential aspects of responsible rabbit ownership.
Cardboard Boxes: Believe it or not, a simple cardboard box can be a source of endless entertainment for your bunny. Rabbits tend to love exploring confined spaces, and a cardboard box castle will lead to endless entertainment. Cut some holes in the box for entry and exit points, and your rabbit will enjoy hours of hopping in and out.
Chew Toys: Rabbits have continuously growing teeth and need to chew to keep them healthy. Wooden chew toys are perfect for this purpose. Make sure the toys are made from rabbit-safe, untreated wood. Your indoor pets will happily gnaw on them while keeping their dental health in check.
Toilet Paper Rolls: Don't throw away those empty toilet paper rolls! House rabbits enjoy rolling them around and chewing on them. You can also stuff some hay inside to create a foraging challenge, providing both mental and physical stimulation. Don't worry if your rabbit ingests the cardboard, it is completely safe.
Rabbits, as prey animals, have unique behavior patterns. Understanding these patterns is crucial for their well-being and your sanity.
Social Interaction: Rabbits need social interaction and often form strong bonds with their human companions. Spend quality time with your bunny daily, but allow them to run away from you without chasing or dragging them out of their hides. Petting, grooming, and talking to them can strengthen your bond and keep them emotionally healthy, but acting like a predator will only frighten them away.
Recognizing Aggressive Behavior: Aggression in rabbits can be a sign of stress or discomfort. If your rabbit displays behaviors like biting, growling, or thumping its hind legs, it's essential to investigate the underlying cause. It could be due to fear, illness, or territorial issues. Consult with a rabbit-savvy veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to address the problem and create a harmonious environment for your pet.
Provide Boredom Busters: To prevent boredom and encourage mental agility, engage your rabbit with puzzle and treat-dispensing toys. These toys entertain and stimulate their minds as they figure out how to access the hidden treats. You can also hide treats in your rabbit's hay to encourage natural foraging behavior.
Rabbit training is not only possible but highly beneficial for both you and your furry friend. This training encompasses various aspects, including litter training and safe handling.
The Importance of a Litter Box:
Litter box training is a significant step in allowing your rabbit to live harmoniously indoors. Most rabbits can be litter box trained quite effectively. The House Rabbit Society recommends using a large, shallow litter box or a specialized litter pan designed for rabbits.
In my experience, a deep, extra-large cat litter box works best. Rabbits like to dig, and having high sides contains the mess somewhat. I've also found that the specialized litter boxes are often too small for large breeds.
Litter Box Training Tips:
- Placement: Place the litter box in a quiet, easily accessible location. Rabbits tend to choose corners for their business, so keep this in mind.
- Litter Material: Use a rabbit-safe litter material, such as paper-based or compressed sawdust pellets. Avoid clumping cat litters, which can be harmful if ingested.
- Consistency: Rabbits thrive on routine. Encourage them to use the litter box after meals and upon waking up, as they are more likely to go at these times.
- Positive Reinforcement: Praise and offer a small treat when your rabbit uses the litter box correctly. Positive reinforcement helps reinforce good behavior.
Keeping the Litter Box Clean:
Regularly clean the litter box to maintain a hygienic living environment for your rabbit. Most rabbits are meticulous about cleanliness, and a dirty litter box can discourage them from using it.
Remove soiled bedding daily and replace it entirely every few days. Wash the litter box with mild soap and water during bedding changes to eliminate odors.
1. Understanding Rabbit Behavior: Understanding rabbit behavior is crucial for safe handling. Many rabbits are naturally skittish and may become stressed if not handled gently. Approach your rabbit calmly and speak softly to avoid startling them. Let them come to you.
2. Proper Techniques: To pick up your rabbit safely, place one hand under its chest, supporting its front legs, and the other hand under its hindquarters. Lift gently, keeping their body close to your chest for security. NEVER pick a rabbit up by it's ears or the scruff of it's neck.
3. Respect Boundaries: Always respect your rabbit's boundaries. Give them space if they show signs of distress or discomfort, such as growling or thumping their hind legs. Rabbits are individuals, and their comfort levels with handling can vary.
Owning a pet rabbit can be a rewarding experience, but it's essential to dispel some common misconceptions to ensure the health and happiness of your furry friend. Here are a few misunderstandings about rabbit care that need clarification:
1. Rabbits Are Like Guinea Pigs:
- The Misconception: Some people assume that rabbits and guinea pigs are similar in terms of care. While they share some dietary and environmental requirements, it's important to keep in mind that keeping a guinea pig is not the same as keeping a rabbit.
- The Reality: Rabbits and guinea pigs belong to different species with unique behaviors and dietary preferences. Guinea pigs are herbivores, like rabbits, but their nutritional requirements differ. It's crucial to research each species separately to provide proper care.
2. Rabbit Teeth Don't Require Attention:
- The Misconception: Many believe that a pet bunny's teeth will naturally stay healthy, so there's no need for dental care.
- The Reality: A bunny's teeth grow continuously, and dental problems are common. To prevent issues like overgrown teeth, provide a diet rich in hay, which promotes natural tooth wear. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for detecting and addressing dental problems.
3. Rabbits Thrive in Extreme Temperatures:
- The Misconception: Some think rabbits can withstand extreme cold or heat because they have fur.
- The Reality: Rabbits are sensitive to temperature extremes. They can suffer from heatstroke in hot weather and hypothermia in the cold. It is, however, true that rabbits do a lot better in the cold than in the heat of summer. If allowed to grow thick fur coats, they are okay in temperatures as low as minus six (21.2ºF) as long as they have a dry, draft-free shelter with lots of bedding to nest in.
4. Rabbits Prefer Collard Greens Over Hay:
- The Misconception: Some believe that collard greens or other leafy greens should be the primary diet for rabbits.
- The Reality: While leafy greens are a valuable part of a rabbit's diet, they should not replace hay. Hay is essential for proper digestion and maintaining healthy teeth. Leafy greens should be provided in moderation as a supplement.
5. Limited Access to Rabbit's Cage/Enclosure:
- The Misconception: People often restrict a rabbit's access to their cage or enclosure, thinking they need less space.
- The Reality: Rabbits are active animals that need ample space to hop and explore. The cage should be a safe resting place, but bunnies need regular access to a larger area for exercise.
In summary, caring for a pet bunny requires attention to its specific needs, from a well-balanced diet rich in hay to providing boredom relief through toys and activities. Recognizing and addressing aggressive behavior and ensuring proper handling are essential aspects of responsible rabbit ownership.
As prospective rabbit owners, it's crucial to do thorough research, consult experts, and be prepared for the commitment of caring for these delightful yet unique animals. Responsible rabbit ownership not only ensures the health and happiness of your furry friend but also enriches your life with the joys of companionship from these charming and sensitive creatures.
So, embark on this journey with care, dedication, and the knowledge that your pet bunny will reward you with boundless affection and warmth.
Proper care is essential for the health and happiness of pet rabbits.
Understanding rabbits as pets involves learning about their specific needs and behaviors.
Providing a safe and stimulating environment, balanced nutrition, and social interaction are key components of bunny care.
There are numerous rabbit breeds, each with its unique characteristics. Some common breeds include the Holland Lop, Netherland Dwarf, Mini Rex, Lionhead, Flemish Giant, and Dutch Rabbit. Researching different breeds can help you find one that suits your preferences and living situation.
Caring for a rabbit in an apartment requires providing them with a clean and secure living space, such as a large indoor cage or pen. Ensure they have plenty of room to hop around, offer a litter box for easy waste management, and rabbit-proof your apartment by protecting wires and removing hazards. Regular interaction, a balanced diet, and toys are also essential for apartment-dwelling rabbits.
Daily rabbit care involves providing fresh hay and water, monitoring their health and behavior, cleaning their living area, and offering a variety of fresh vegetables. Social interaction, exercise, and mental stimulation are also crucial. Additionally, grooming may be needed, depending on the rabbit's coat type.
Outdoor rabbit care requires a secure hutch or enclosure to protect them from predators and extreme temperatures. Ensure they have a sheltered, draft-free area, fresh water, and access to shade during hot weather. Regularly clean their living space and provide social interaction and mental stimulation.
In a rabbit's cage or enclosure, they need essentials like fresh hay, a clean water source, a litter box, and a comfortable place to rest. Chew toys and items that challenge their mental capacity are also essential to prevent boredom and dental problems. Ensure the cage is spacious enough for the rabbit to move around and stretch out comfortably.
Not all rabbits enjoy being cuddled or held. Rabbits are prey animals, and their comfort with handling varies from one individual to another. Some rabbits may tolerate cuddling, while others prefer minimal handling. It's essential to respect your rabbit's preferences and build trust through gentle interactions, allowing them to come to you on their terms.
VetCare Pet Hospital. 'Beginner’s Guide to Pet Rabbit Care'. https://www.vetcarepethospital.ca/beginners-guide-to-pet-rabbit-care/
'Litter Training'. House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/care/litter-training/
Naturally, rabbits love to dig and chew on stuff. It's very normal!
Unfortunately, the things around your home are no exception when it comes to their chewing needs. This makes them destructive when moving around your home unsupervised.
Aside from ruining your valuable furniture and possessions, your bunny can also get hurt. Hence, this is why you must bunny-proof your house if you want a free-roaming bunny.
Keep reading as we discuss bunny proofing and the different ways to do it in detail.
Bunny proofing is an essential part of rabbit care. And the purpose is to keep your rabbit safe from harm and protect the valuable properties around your home.
In addition, bunny-proofing helps bunnies use their instincts in productive ways. This equally means providing your rabbit with chewing and digging alternatives that are pretty fun.
If all this isn't in place, then your bunny can't roam freely around your home. For this reason, bunny-proofing is very important as long as you have your bunny living indoors with you.
Are you a new bunny owner? If yes, make sure you check out our Complete Bunny Guide!
Bunnies love chewing on things, and it’s a natural behavior. Wires just look like roots bunnies are used to chewing on in the wild.
So this is what every bunny can do and not a bad behavior your bunny developed. Besides worrying about your bunny destroying wires, you should worry more about the risks to your pet.
Wires are toxic to rabbits when they chew them. In addition to this, if a rabbit chews through a live wire, things can be fatal.
Hence, if you have a house rabbit that will often allow it to roam free around your home, you need to cover the wires. Here are ways to do this:
If you have many wires littering around your home, keep them in drawers, boxes, or any container your bunny can’t reach.
Alternatively, you can keep wires high above the floor level. This applies to cables and wires of your TV and other electronics that are normally on the ground.
Do this by clipping or fixing the wires on the walls – a height your rabbit cannot reach. It’s equally important that you make sure no structures are close by which your bunny can hop on to get to the wires.
If you have rooms in your home with a lot of unprotected wires, just block off the entrance to the room using metal baby gates. This way, your rabbit can have access to the room.
Another way to prevent your rabbit from chewing wires is to cover them with wire tubing. Instead of blocking off areas with wires or keeping wires out of your rabbit’s reach, you can use wire tubing to cover wires.
Amazingly, this method protects your wires pretty well. These wire tubes are thick, making rabbits less likely to bite them.
Additionally, if your rabbit is determined to chew through the tubes, it will be hard to get to the wires. This difficulty can help you catch your rabbit in the act on time.
Bunnies in the wild do a lot of burrowing! And this equally involves a lot of digging, which has become a natural rabbit instinct.
At home, they will try to dig and chew through surfaces like your carpet and rugs. No doubt, this behavior is destructive. Unfortunately, you can’t end a rabbit’s digging habit.
However, you can prevent your rabbit from destroying your carpet. Cover the carets first before you allow your bunny to free roam, particularly in carpeted areas.
Your main target should be doorways and corners of the room. These areas are common digging spots for bunnies. It’s ideal to use plastic mats to do this.
They are durable and are very effective in keeping bunnies from chewing the carpet. But without these plastic mats, you can use old cardboard boxes or bath mats.
Bunnies will also chew on the baseboards in your house (if you have them). Like hay and chew toys, baseboards are chewy and can help a rabbit control its ever-growing teeth.
Moreover, baseboards aren’t the structures you would like to see destroyed. To prevent this, you need to also bunny-proof them.
As long as your rabbit will be roaming free indoors, baseboard protection is important, and here are ways to do it:
An effective way to bunny-proof baseboards at home is to cover them with cat scratcher mats. Of course, you don’t need to cover every part of a baseboard.
Just protect the areas your rabbit can easily reach. Do this by fixing them to the wall (one that has baseboards).
Moreover, it’s ideal to use flexible cat scratcher mats for baseboard protection. This flexibility helps to cover baseboards around corners of the rooms and doorways.
In addition, these scratcher mats must be flexible and thick enough to prevent your rabbit from getting to the baseboards.
Thin cat scratcher mats can be disappointing. Rabbits can easily chew through them and get to the baseboards.
Now, using wooden planks to bunny-proof baseboards is pretty effective. Here, you’ll have to attach wooden planks to the baseboards in your house. Though it requires some skill, it’s a solution that can last for ages.
However, not everyone can do this, especially if you live in rented apartments, where that’s against making such modifications. In such cases, cardboard boxes can come in handy.
You only have to flatten them up and cover the walls like you use scratcher mats. Nevertheless, this alternative might not be that good-looking.
Fences can also help protect your baseboards from your rabbit. This method involves fencing the perimeter of your room – it should reach all the sides and edges of a room.
It serves as a blockage and prevents your rabbit from chewing on baseboards. Furthermore, you can build a protective fence out of storage cubes.
Get many storage cubes and link them up to form a fence. The fence should be able to cover the perimeter of the room where your rabbit will be free-roaming.
Funnily, you can protect your baseboards with butter apple spray. However, they fade off quickly, requiring you to spray them frequently.
In addition, the bitter taste will keep your rabbit from chewing on the baseboards.
It’s very easy to prepare a bitter apple spray at home. Do this by mixing 2 cups of apple cider and a cup of normal white vinegar.
Afterward, shake the mixture thoroughly and pour it into a spray bottle. That’s all it takes!
Another area in your home you will need to protect from your rabbit is the space below furniture. These spots are possible nesting areas for rabbits.
And when your rabbit finds such areas, it can start digging carpets or rugs under the furniture. Moreover, you might not notice it easily due to the spot where it happens. Hence, you need to prevent this on time.
Whether it’s a bed, sofa, or any other furniture with legs, block the spaces under them. A DIY storage cube fencing can come in very handy here.
Get a couple of these fencing panels that cover the furniture you want to be bunny-proof. Afterward, link them up together with zip ties.
Once you’re done creating a fence, fix it to the furniture to ensure your rabbit can access the space beneath it.
If you dislike blocking your furniture with fences, you can cover the rugs or carpet beneath them with plastic mats. It’s an effective solution to prevent your rabbit from damaging the carpet or rug under furniture.
In the absence of plastic mats, you can use cardboard boxes. Just flatten them and place them underneath the furniture legs.
However, this alternative requires you to change the cardboard occasionally. Rabbits can chew through cardboard until they get to the rug or carpet.
If you have houseplants in your home, rabbits can start to chew or eat them and destroy them. In addition, some houseplants in your home might be toxic to bunnies.
Hence, keep your houseplants out of your rabbit's reach, especially on high surfaces. Alternatively, you can keep them hanging from the ceiling.
Above all, the best way to go about this is to restrict areas with houseplants from your rabbits. Even if you keep toxic houseplants to bunnies high above the ground, their leaves can fall off, and your bunny can eat them.
It’s not new to say that rabbits love chewing and shredding paper. Bunnies will happily hop on the shelves or areas with books they can reach.
They’ll then take out books and papers only to rip them apart. So, if you have a bookshelf or library at home, you should restrict your rabbits from getting close to them.
What’s more, you can block the entrance of your library room using baby gates or any other suitable blockage.
If you have a pet bunny staying indoors, you must be very careful of the items you keep around your home. No doubt, many objects in your home can harm your bunnies.
These items include appliances, sharp tools, chemical-based products, and other materials that can hurt your bunny. It can also be food items that are unsafe for bunnies.
To proof your home, you must keep your bunny safe from these items. It’s either you block off your rabbit's access to them or keep them in places your rabbits cannot reach them.
When you let your rabbit out of its enclosure, ensure they don’t stay with other pets. Bigger pets like dogs and cats can hurt your bunny. And this can be unintentional in most cases.
Even if these pets are friendly or well-trained, they are still dangerous anywhere near your bunny. You should let your bunny roam alone or with another house rabbit in a separate area. Your dog or cat can roam freely in other parts of your home.
First, you’ve taken care of things in your house that your rabbit can destroy and could hurt them. Good job! It’s time to keep our furry friend’s attention away from where you distract your bunny.
Naturally, rabbits love to dig and chew stuff. It’s impossible to make them stop! However, you can give them safer alternatives to keep them busy and prevent them from destroying your properties. Let’s look at these elements of distractions for your rabbit below:
Among all the categories of rabbit toys, chew toys are the most important ones! They offer your rabbit more productive ways to use their chewing instincts.
Some examples of chew toys for rabbits include hay balls, toilet paper rolls, sticks, and wooden toys. Additionally, you can get in stores.
However, you can get creative and make chew toys for your rabbit with simple household items.
Owing to a rabbit’s digging needs, you should also give them something to dig to their satisfaction. Get a cardboard box or basket that contains your house rabbit and allow it to dig freely.
Afterward, fill the box with shredded paper, crumpled-up papers, toys, and treats. Let them have fun digging in these boxes while you prevent them from digging through your carpets and rugs in your room.
To sum up, you now know what rabbit proofing is all about and the need to do it. Remember that bunny-proofing keeps your home as well as your rabbit safe.
So, if it's your first time owning a rabbit, it's ideal to bunny-proof your home before letting your pet out of its cage. Certainly, this article has revealed the different ways to do this.
Don't go without checking our 9 Amazing Rabbit Facts!
Bunnies are very social animals. So keeping them engaged and active is always good for their well-being. This is where toys come in handy.
Understand that the best rabbit toys can keep a rabbit active, ones that allow them to keep chewing, digging, foraging, and exploring their natural behaviors.
However, just like humans, rabbits have preferences. So don’t be surprised if your rabbit dislikes a toy another rabbit is obsessed with.
You have to try giving your rabbit different toys and know the ones it loves playing with. It’s all about trial and error!
In this article, we'll look at 10 of the best toys to entertain your rabbit to offer the best bunny care possible. But before we go into that, let’s see why your rabbit needs toys.
By Fran Chartres from UK - IMG_2224, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3188100
Providing your rabbit with toys to play with is very important. Let's look at the benefits below:
Rabbit's teeth keep growing throughout their lives. for this reason, they must keep eating chewy foods like hay and grass to wear down their teeth consistently.
However, a chewy rabbit toy can help! Most rabbit toys are chewable, especially ones made of hay and safe, natural items. So, your pet rabbit can play with these toys and keep its teeth busy at the same time.
Rabbits do not need to be inactive. It’s unhealthy for both wild and domestic rabbits. Hence, regular exercise is important for your pet’s health.
Interestingly, toys greatly help to keep rabbits active. Equally, giving your rabbit toys to play with gives them what to chew on, crawl under, climb on, dig into, etc. These are great ways for rabbits to exercise.
Above all, toys help to keep both a rabbit’s body and mind in good condition.
If your rabbit lives alone, they are likely to feel bored very often. And bored rabbits tend to feel easily depressed.
As a result, your rabbit can start to destroy things a lot. And this is a behavior you do not want, especially if the rabbit is out of the cage and moving around your house.
For this reason, you need to keep your pet occupied, especially with challenging activities. And rabbit toys can help you achieve just that. As rabbits creatively play with toys, they equally learn a lot.
Toys do not benefit rabbits only! No doubt, rabbits chew on stuff a lot and can destroy things around your home. Moreover, they can as well be exposed to dangers in your home.
So when it comes to bunny-proofing a home, a toy does two things at a time. They’ll keep your rabbit safe as well as your properties.
Just like wild rabbits, our pet rabbits need things to chew on. It’s a rabbit's instinct! However, you can satisfy their chewing needs with toys, specifically chew toys. They give your rabbit a safer and more beneficial way to use their instincts.
The following bunny toys come in different categories: chew toys, foraging toys, hangings, hides, etc.
We'll be looking at ten rabbit toys, which happen to be the favorite of many rabbits. Let's get started!
A very good way to keep your pet rabbit entertained is to provide it with toys it can play with in different ways. Ball toys are just the best!
Hay balls, in particular, are chewy, and your rabbit can toss them around at the same time. In addition, plastic balls and willow balls are also good options for rabbits.
Understand that the nature of ball toys allows them to keep moving and rolling. So it’s just very entertaining for bunnies.
Interestingly, many other pet animals, like guinea pigs, cats, and dogs, enjoy playing with ball toys. Hence, if you’re giving your rabbits toys to play with, balls shouldn’t be left out!
No doubt, tunnels, and rabbits are just best friends! Many small animals love it!
Remember, rabbits do a lot of burrowing and live in underground tunnels in the wild. Similarly, a tunnel toy mimics this natural living environment of bunnies. This makes them excellent toys for rabbits.
In addition, you can make this more interactive by placing treats in each tunnel for your rabbit to find and eat.
A tunnel toy for bunnies is easy to make from a cardboard box or similar material. However, you can still get some amazing-looking bunny tunnel toys from pet stores.
These are very common chew toys for rabbits and other small animals with ever-growing teeth. Pet rabbits mostly play with these toys by chewing on them.
As a result, it helps to keep the rabbit's teeth from overgrowing. Furthermore, a stick toy could be a twig, tree branch, or a piece of log.
Most importantly, every stick toy must be untreated wood and pesticide-free. Not every tree is suitable for making stick toys for a rabbit. Safe woods for rabbits come from trees such as willow, apple, maple, birch and polar, etc.
Nevertheless, if you can’t prepare safe wooden chew toys for your rabbit on your own, you can always get them from pet stores. “Kaytee apple orchard sticks” are very popular stick toys.
No doubt, a cardboard box can be fun for rabbits in many ways. They are just interactive and help to build a rabbit’s brain power!
A popular way to use cardboard boxes is to create hidden compartments or hides for your rabbit. They equally make great platform toys for bunnies.
This way, your rabbit can always hop on the box and down from it. No doubt, it's just a great way for your bunny to exercise.
Digging is a part of every rabbit’s life. Hence, it’s great if your rabbit has something that allows them to do that in your home.
Moreover, a woven mat is an excellent bunny toy that allows a rabbit to do some digging. These toys are normally made of woven timothy hay or seagrass.
And because of this, rabbits can equally chew on the toy mat as they dig into it.
These are natural rabbit chew toys for bunnies. They are just in their natural form! Some common natural rabbit toys are pinecones and loofahs. Rabbits will have fun chewing on them.
However, you have to make sure it’s safe for your rabbits. Since these are natural and come from outside, you have to make sure it’s clean and safe for rabbits to chew on.
So wash them first and dry them up thoroughly. Pine cones, specifically, will have to dry for about 4 months.
This is yet another toy for rabbits that they can chew on. Interestingly, many rabbits love wicker baskets.
Just make sure they are untreated and have no chemical finishing—paints, polishes, etc. These are chemicals you do not want to get into your rabbit’s mouth. Remember, a good rabbit toy should be made of rabbit-safe materials.
Moreover, make things more interesting by filling these baskets or boxes with timothy hay, shredded paper, or untreated straw. Don’t forget to hide some treats in them too!
These kinds of toys steal a rabbit's attention. Moreover, the fact that they are hanging from the cage just makes them very interesting.
Your rabbit can chew, pull, or bat hanging toys. Moreover, hanging or dangling toys provide mental stimulation and will keep your pet entertained.
What's more, rabbits will mostly love a hanging chew toy. These hanging chew toys could be hanging toilet paper tubes, chew sticks, or even wooden chew toys made from untreated wood.
Moreover, there are lots of attractive rabbit hanging toys you can get in pet stores. If possible, you should include treats in some of these hanging toys.
Let them try to reach for these treats in their toys. It's a much more fun way to have a snack!
Interestingly, even some toddler and infant toys will make good toys for your rabbit. However, you should give your rabbit only hard plastic toys.
First, your rabbits love tossing them around. Secondly, hard plastic toys are safe. Unlike soft plastic toys, rabbits won't be able to tear and eat pieces of them. It's bad for their system.
These plastic baby toys that are pretty fun for rabbits include stacking cups, blocks, rings, rattles, and teething toys.
These kinds of toys are just about creativity. If you know some common items in your home your rabbit loves, that's a good start!
Get some of them and make cool but safe rabbit toys out of them or use them that way. These items could be bottle caps, toilet paper tubes, cans, etc.
Interestingly, you could crumble paper towels into balls for your rabbits to toss around. Any rabbit owner can do this!
It's normal for rabbits to lose interest in the toys you get them. This is even common in kids!
A rabbit might fall in love with a particular toy and then completely ignore it later. This can make you spend often just getting new toys for them.
It doesn't have to be this way. As a bunny owner, you can keep your rabbit interested in its toys.
All you have to do is some rotation. Giving them a particular set of toys every time isn't right! That's how they lose interest in them.
So swap their toys very often. Let them have a different set to play with every couple of weeks. Two sets of rabbit toys are enough!
This will prevent them from getting bored with their toys and, at the same time, keep their interest intact.
Your rabbit should have plenty of toys to play with. They should be able to get different experiences from each toy you offer them.
Giving your rabbits a few toys might not meet their needs. A better way to go about this is to offer your rabbit different kinds of toys that allow it to use its different instincts very well.
It depends on the kind of item the toy is or the material used to make it. Some soft toys like cardboard boxes or hay balls are safe for rabbits to chew on.
However, you should avoid things like soft plastic or rubber. There’s every possibility a rabbit will chew these items. And since they are soft, your rabbit might eat them, and that’s not good for their health.
This is why any unnatural rabbit toy needs to be hard. This way, they won’t get any piece of them.
Rabbits can play with toilet paper rolls just the same way they can play with paper towel rolls or any other cardboard rolls.
Toilet Paper rolls are great for tossing toys your rabbit will enjoy tossing around. Additionally, they are more fun when you create DIY toys out of them.
To sum up, toys are essential to keep your bunny entertained. Bored bunnies don't do so well and start to give their owners concerns.
Moreover, only provide your rabbit with safe toys to play with. Some of these toys can be common household items.
However, you can get some amazing bunny toys from pet shops. It's worth spending on so long as it enriches your rabbit's life!
Among all rabbit toys, chew toys are very important. Rabbit chew toys include wooden, hay-based, cardboard, and other safe chewy materials.
That's our list of some favorite rabbit toys. Get them for your rabbit and find the ones they love the most.
Why is my rabbit shedding so much? This is a question most rabbit owners ask at some point during their first year of bunny ownership. Most bunny owners panic when they see large clumps of rabbit fur all over the place. Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming, but it can also be completely normal.
Rabbits go through heavy sheds twice a year, normally in spring and autumn (fall). During this time, they will shed most of their fur coats in a matter of days to weeks. These sheds happen to prepare them for the next season, either by growing a thick winter coat to cope with the drop in temperature or a short summer coat to cope with hot weather.
In this blog, we will explore normal molting patterns, the causes of excessive shedding in rabbits, how to identify it, and what to do to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
Typically, rabbits go through two periods of heavy moulting per year, usually in the spring and fall. During these times, bunnies shed their summer or winter coats to prepare for the upcoming season. The shedding cycle can last for several days to weeks, and rabbits may molt excessively during this time.
The amount of shedding depends on various factors, including the time of year, breed, age, stress levels, and health of the rabbit. Some rabbits may molt more than others, and monitoring their shedding patterns is essential to ensure they are healthy.
When a rabbit sheds, it usually sheds its undercoat first, followed by the guard hairs. The undercoat is a soft and fluffy layer of fur that helps insulate the rabbit's body. The guard hairs are longer and coarser hairs that form the outer layer of the rabbit's coat. Together, they protect the rabbit's skin from dirt, moisture, and parasites.
Keep in mind that you will not see the undercoat just lying around. It is kept in place by the guard hairs and will only be shed when the guard hairs eventually fall out. This process gives the new coat time to grow underneath the current coat before the hair is lost. For this very reason, it is unlikely that you'll see any hairless patches on your rabbit during the molting season.
It's crucial to note that shedding is a natural process, and there's no way to stop it entirely. However, there are ways to manage molting and reduce the amount of hair loss.
Healthy rabbits usually molt their fur in a cyclical pattern. This seasonal process is triggered every three months and is influenced by the amount of daylight, temperature, and humidity in the air.
Does this mean they shed four times a year? But we just said they shed twice a year?
Bunnies shed four times a year but only go through two heavy sheds. The two lighter sheds in summer and winter might not even be noticeable at all.
It's also important to note that heavy molting can cause problems such as GI stasis. You can help prevent such issues by regularly grooming your bunny to help remove loose fur and prevent hairballs from forming in the rabbit's digestive system.
Providing a healthy diet with plenty of fiber (hay is best) and hydration can also help reduce hair loss. Stress can also contribute to why your bunny is losing so much fur, so providing a calm and comfortable environment for the rabbit is essential.
Understanding a rabbit's shedding cycle is crucial for its health and well-being. Owners can ensure their rabbits remain healthy and happy by monitoring their shedding patterns and providing proper care.
Rabbits shed their fur for various reasons, some of which are completely normal, natural behaviors and some may indicate health or environmental issues. Understanding why bunnies shed can help pet owners identify when shedding is normal and when it may require veterinary attention.
Here are a few reasons your rabbit may be losing fur:
Rabbits shed their fur four times a year, with heavy sheds in spring and fall. This is a natural process that helps them adapt to changes in temperature and light and get rid of old, damaged fur to keep their skin healthy.
Bunnies shed their thick winter coats in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. They also shed their lighter summer coats in the autumn to grow thicker winter coats.
Changes in daylight and temperature control this molting process.
If a rabbit is losing excessive fur outside of the two heavy shed periods, it may be a sign of stress or illness. Stressful situations such as moving to a new home, changes in diet, or loud noises can trigger this type of molting.
Illnesses such as mites, infections, or hormonal imbalances can also trigger excessive shedding in bunnies. If a bunny is losing excessive fur without any known cause, it is important to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
In addition to external signs of molting, rabbits may exhibit other behavioral changes during molting periods. It is common for bunnies to become more irritable, grumpy, or lethargic during molting. It is also common for them to spend more time grooming themselves.
These changes are normal and can be managed by providing a comfortable and stress-free environment for the bunny. You can also help them out by gently removing large clumps of loose fur with your hands or a pet brush.
If your rabbit stops eating, drinking, or moving, it might be a sign of more serious issues, and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
One of the most noticeable signs of excessive shedding is the appearance of bald patches on your rabbit's coat. These patches may be small or large and can occur anywhere on the body.
If you notice hairless patches, it is important to investigate further and determine the cause of the hair loss.
Another way to identify excessive shedding is to monitor how often your rabbit is molting. Rabbits naturally molt roughly every three months, so shedding outside of this schedule may be a sign of a problem. If your bunny is shedding constantly, it may be a sign of excessive molting.
It is also important to pay attention to how your rabbit's coat looks and feels. If your rabbit's coat looks dull or feels rough, it may be a sign of too much fur loss. Additionally, if your rabbit's coat looks patchy or uneven, it may be a sign of bald patches or other shedding issues.
Overall, it is important to notice any changes in your rabbit's shedding patterns and investigate further if you notice any signs of excessive fur loss. You can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy by identifying and addressing shedding issues early on.
A variety of factors, including genetics, diet, environment, and health conditions, can cause excessive molting in rabbits. Here are some of the most common causes of excessive shedding in rabbits:
Some rabbit breeds are more prone to excessive shedding than others.
For example, rabbits with thicker fur, such as Rexes, Angoras, Jersey Woolies, and Belgian Hares, are more likely to shed excessively than breeds with naturally thinner fur coats, such as Netherland Dwarfs and Himalayan Rabbits.
However, excessive shedding can also be a sign of other underlying health issues, so it is important to monitor your bunny's molting patterns and consult with a veterinarian if you are concerned.
A rabbit's diet can also play a role in their shedding patterns. A diet that is lacking in essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals, can lead to poor coat quality and excessive shedding. Additionally, a diet high in carbohydrates or sugar can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to patchy coats and rashes.
The environment in which a rabbit lives can also affect their molting patterns. Rabbits that are kept in dirty or dusty environments are more likely to shed excessively, as their skin and fur can become irritated and inflamed.
Additionally, rabbits exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity levels may also shed more than usual.
Several health conditions can cause rabbits to shed excessively. Skin infections, mites, and other parasites can all lead to patchy coats and excessive molting. Additionally, rabbits with sensitive skin may be more prone to shedding due to allergies or other skin conditions.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of underlying health issues. Monitoring your rabbit's molting patterns and seeking veterinary care if you notice any abnormal changes is important.
One potential health issue that can arise from excessive shedding is gastrointestinal (GI) stasis. This is a condition where the digestive system slows down or stops working altogether, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. Rabbits that shed excessively may ingest more fur than usual, which can cause blockages in the digestive system and lead to stasis.
In addition to GI stasis, excessive molting can also impact a rabbit's overall digestive health. When rabbits ingest large amounts of fur, it can lead to the formation of hairballs in the digestive tract. Hairballs can cause discomfort, pain and even lead to blockages in the digestive system.
Unlike cats, it's important to note that a rabbit cannot vomit up a hairball. Rabbits, just like horses, are not capable of vomiting at all.
In some cases, excessive shedding may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a skin infection or hormonal imbalance.
If you notice abnormal changes in your rabbit's molting and unusual behavioral changes, seek veterinary care to determine the underlying cause and ensure your bunny's health and well-being.
Grooming is an essential part of keeping a rabbit's coat healthy and preventing fur-related health conditions. Regular grooming helps remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from the bunny's coat, preventing hairballs and other digestive issues. Grooming also helps distribute natural oils throughout the fur, keeping it soft, shiny, and healthy.
To groom a rabbit, one can use a soft-bristled brush or a comb. A slicker brush can also be used to remove tangles and mats. In some cases, you might find damp hands work the best for safe fur removal. If you do go for a brush, it's important to choose the right type of brush or comb based on the rabbit's coat type. A short-haired rabbit may require a different type of brush than a long-haired rabbit.
When grooming a rabbit, it is important to be gentle and avoid pulling or tugging on the fur. Start by brushing the rabbit's neck and back, moving on to the sides, then move on to the legs, tail, and head. Be sure to pay attention to areas where mats and tangles may form, such as behind the ears, under the chin, and under the tail.
In addition to brushing, one can also help keep a rabbit's coat healthy by providing a balanced diet with plenty of fresh hay and water. A healthy diet helps promote healthy fur growth and reduces the risk of skin issues that can lead to excessive shedding.
If a bunny is shedding excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. While some molting is normal, excessive shedding can be a cause for concern.
Here are some signs that may indicate a rabbit needs to see a vet:
Bald patches or thinning fur
Scratching or biting at the skin
Red, inflamed, or scabby skin
Excessive lethargy or loss of appetite
Abnormal feces or urine
A vet can perform a physical examination to determine if there is an underlying health issue causing the excessive fur loss. They may also recommend blood tests or other diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying health problems.
In some cases, a rabbit may be losing fur due to stress. If this is the case, a vet can advise on reducing stress in the rabbit's environment.
It is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if a bunny loses abnormal amounts of fur. Delaying treatment can lead to further health problems and may make the underlying issue harder to treat.
In conclusion, excessive fur loss in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors. While shedding is a natural process for all rabbits, it is important to monitor your pet's coat and behavior for any signs of abnormal fur loss.
Some common causes of excessive shedding include stress, boredom, ill health, and changes in the environment. Rabbits may also shed excessively due to hormonal changes or underlying medical conditions such as fur mites or allergies.
To prevent excessive molting, it is important to provide your rabbit with a healthy diet, a clean living environment, and plenty of opportunities for exercise and play. Regular grooming can also help promotes a healthy and shiny coat.
If you notice any signs of abnormal fur loss or changes in your rabbit's behavior, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. With proper care and attention, you can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy for years.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming.
Understanding rabbit molting and why rabbits shed is crucial to identifying when your rabbit is shedding excessively.
Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help prevent excessive fur loss in bunnies and promote healthy coats.
Rabbits typically shed the most during the spring and fall seasons. This is when they go through their major molting periods. During these times, rabbits will shed large amounts of fur, which can be alarming for some owners. However, this is a normal and healthy process for rabbits.
Rabbits go through heavy shedding periods two times a year, usually in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). However, some rabbits may shed more frequently, especially if they are kept indoors or have health issues.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and health issues such as parasites and infections. It is important to identify the underlying cause of excessive shedding in rabbits and address it appropriately.
During shedding season, it is important to brush your rabbit regularly to help remove loose fur and prevent matting. Use a soft-bristled brush or a grooming mitt to gently brush your rabbit's fur in the direction of growth. Be sure to avoid pulling or tugging on any mats or tangles.
Stress can have a significant impact on a rabbit's shedding patterns. When rabbits are stressed, they may shed more frequently or excessively. It is important to provide a calm and comfortable environment for your rabbit to help reduce stress and minimize shedding.
Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health issue in rabbits. If your bunny is shedding excessively and you notice patches of missing fur, scabs, or signs of irritation, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. Other signs of a health concern may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior.
Rabbit fur can come out in clumps due to molting, stress, poor nutrition, or an underlying health problem. Identifying the underlying cause is important to ensure that your rabbit is healthy.
Carter, Lou. "Why Is My Pet Rabbit Shedding So Much?" Rabbit Care Tips, (May 19, 2023), https://www.rabbitcaretips.com/why-is-my-pet-rabbit-shedding-so-much/
Harvey, Carolynn DVM. “Grooming.” House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/care/grooming/
Krempels, Dana Ph.D. “Fur Loss and Skin Problems in Rabbits: Common Causes and Treatments.” University of Miami Biology Department. http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/furloss.html.
Amy Pratt. "Rabbit Shedding Patterns and How to Deal With All The Fur." Bunny Lady, https://bunnylady.com/rabbit-shedding/
“Moulting.” Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/moulting.
Praag, Esther vaan Ph.D. “Varying Shedding Patterns Among Rabbits.” Medirabbit. http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Molting/Shedding1.htm.
Stephen White, Ron Rees Davies, David Scarff. “Molting Patterns: Normal and Abnormal.” Vetstream. https://www.vetlexicon.com/treat/lapis/freeform/molting-patterns-normal-and-abnormal
Stephen White, Ron Rees Davies, David Scarff, David Perpiñán. "Dermatology: parasitic disease - overview." Vetstream. https://www.vetlexicon.com/treat/lapis/freeform/dermatology-parasitic-disease-overview
Winter is gone and now it's summertime. This means it'll be quite hot. Rabbits aren't good with hear and thus, summer isn't great for bunnies.
If a rabbit feels very hot, it can lead to a serious condition such as heat stroke. And this is a condition your rabbit should not experience.
Hence, you have a part to play in keeping your rabbit cool during this period. Interestingly, there are many ways to do this!
But to make it easier for you, this article will be sharing 12 tips for keeping a rabbit cool during summer.
However, before we jump right into this, it’s important to know how your furry friends can keep themselves cool on their own and without your help.
Let’s discuss this below!
RECOMMENDED READING: COMPLETE BUNNY CARE GUIDE!
By Josefine S.
Rabbits have unique ways to expel their internal heat since they don’t sweat through their skin pores. Here are the ways rabbits regulate their body temperature when it rises:
Rabbit’s ears are their primary heat regulators. A group of blood vessels runs through the ears of a rabbit and expands to help it stay cool.
Rabbits evaporate moisture through breathing to release their body heat. When a rabbit feels hot, it starts to breathe more quickly to exhale more of the heat it's holding in its body.
Bunnies are fond of stretching out more during the warmer months on cool surfaces to keep their internal temperature cool. This way, they will not retain heat.
Inside a rabbit’s nasal passage, there’s mucus that aids in heat exchange during respiration. And when the days are hot, the mucus’ temperature adjusts to enable heat loss in rabbits.
Now you know how bunnies keep themselves cool. Nevertheless, they might not be able 5o handle summer heat all by themselves.
So this brings us to the part where we look at the different things you can do to help them in the summertime.
By Gribin Isaf
Understand that air conditioning in homes is a good way to keep rabbits cool during the hot weather. Hence, if you have one, you should keep it on whether you’re at home or not.
For many pet owners, it's unnecessary to leave the air conditioning on for pets. This is because they assume animals can handle heat better than people can. What’s more, this belief extends to rabbits too.
But all pets do not handle heat the same way. Dogs and cats can handle heat better than bunnies can. Perhaps, it has something to do with the thickness of their fur.
Remember that heatstroke is a common thing in rabbits, especially when they feel very hot. Even if a rabbit has a way of regulating heat, it might not be helpful when the days are pretty hot.
So turning on the air conditioning during the summer months is important to keep the air cool for your rabbit.
By Adamantios - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
If your home has a basement, you can always relocate your rabbits' enclosure there when the days are hot!
Naturally, the coolest section of the house will be in the basement. This is because there are normally fewer windows in basements; there is equally less direct sunlight reaching this space.
Interestingly, they can be up to 15 degrees cooler than the main floors above them. Hence, it’s a good alternative to an air-conditioned room for your rabbit.
When other surfaces begin to warm up, a ceramic tile is pretty good at remaining chilly. Even to this day, many people, especially kids, will love to lie on these kinds of floors when they feel very hot.
Interestingly, rabbits like to do the same to keep themselves cool too. However, you can always make these marble or ceramic tiles available in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Get them and place them on the floor or the sides. This way, your rabbit can feel comfortable stretching out or leaning against them.
What’s more, you can make these tiles extra chilly before placing them. Keep them in the refrigerator for about an hour before laying them on the floor in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Another way to help keep your rabbit cool in the summer is to wet their back ears a bit with cool water. Understand that rabbit bodies release most of the internal heat through their ears.
So spraying water behind their ears can help them cool off. I recommend that you spray it so you don’t soak their ears. So, the best thing to use is a spray bottle filled with water.
This way, you can control how much water touches their ears. In addition, you should be careful doing this and avoid water getting into your rabbit’s ears.
If this happens, the water can remain trapped inside their ears and eventually lead to an infection.
During the hot weather, you can create frozen water bottles to keep your rabbit cool. Do this by filling old plastic water bottles with water and letting them freeze thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Once they are super frozen, use an old towel or blanket to wrap them up. This is important to keep your rabbit from getting wet or too cold due to the freezing nature of the bottles.
Afterward, place them in your rabbit enclosure to help keep them cool. Similar to ceramic tile, this frozen water bottle technique offers a cool surface for your rabbits to lean against at their own will.
Another important way to ensure your rabbit stays cool during the summer season is to circulate the air.
It’s not a good thing for air to be stagnant, especially in a closed-off room. It can trap heat. Hence, you want to keep the air flowing.
Do this by opening windows and doors. In addition, you should turn on the fans in your home. However, do not let your fan blow air onto your bunny directly.
Remember, rabbits don’t sweat, form their skin so there’s no point doing this! Instead, you might end up harming your rabbit and causing them respiratory issues.
Aside from overheating, you do not want your bunny to suffer dehydration. It easily leads to heat stroke in rabbits.
To prevent this dehydration during the summer months, make sure your bunny has access to plenty of fresh water daily. It’s impotent that your rabbit doesn’t look for water to drink.
In addition, you need to change the water often during the day. This ensures the water is fresh and cool at all times for your rabbit.
If you observe that the day is hotter than usual, you can add ice cubes to the water. This will help to keep it cool for longer periods.
Bunnies also have preferences! Many rabbits will drink more from a bowl and others might prefer to drink out of a bottle.
Hence, you should use a water container that encourages your rabbit to drink more.
When there’s no AC, you can always improvise. That’s right! Create something similar!
With a standing fan and a bowl of ice, you can create a cheap cooling system to help keep rabbits cool in summer. Place the ice right in front of the fan.
This way, chilly air will circulate in the room as the fan blows through the bowl ice. No doubt, it won't perform as effectively as a normal air conditioner.
However, it will still significantly cool the room and prevent your rabbit from overheating.
Regular grooming is important to keep your rabbit’s fur suitable for summer. In addition, your rabbit needs to shed its winter coat when the weather gradually gets warm.
As they shed these excess fur meant for winter, they will now have lighter fur which helps keep them cool during the hot days. Although the molting season might last for several weeks, grooming your rabbit’s fur can help make things quicker.
In the summer, you might wish to clip your rabbit's fur if it’s long-haired. It will equally help your bunny keep cool during summer.
It doesn't matter if you keep rabbits indoors or outdoors, you should offer them plenty of shade, especially when it gets very hot during the day. A rabbit needs to have shady places to hide from the sun at its own will.
If they can’t, exposure to direct sunlight can swiftly result in heat exhaustion. Above all, it is ideal to let rabbits choose between direct sunlight and shade on their own.
This way, they can better control their body temperatures during summertime.
Wash your rabbit's fresh leafy greens in cold water before giving them to him or her each day. Moreover, you don't have to totally shake the extra cold water droplets off.
Leave it that way so your rabbit gets to eat the greens chilled. This is the best way to serve them greens during hot weather.
Aside from providing fresh cool water for your rabbits to drink, these cool leafy greens can encourage hydration.
READ ALSO - HOW TO FEED RABBITS
When the season is hot, you should use less bedding or none in your rabbit’s enclosure. Most of the floor space in their enclosure should be exposed.
Rabbits will benefit from stretching out on flat cool surfaces like a bare floor. It’s a great way for bunnies to keep cool when the days are hot.
A very dangerous condition that rabbits are likely to experience during summertime is heat stroke. And this happens when your rabbit feels so much heat.
Overheating (hyperthermia) is common in rabbits during summertime owing to their inability to sweat plus their thick fur. Hence, hot rabbits will suffer heat stroke when they have no means of cooling themselves.
In addition, both indoors and outdoors rabbits can overheat. However, a rabbit living outdoors has a higher chance of experiencing it.
In addition, when it comes to age, both very young and very old are more likely to experience heat stroke.
This is because rabbits easily get stressed out at such ages. As a result, their bodies don’t control temperature rise very well.
Now, if your rabbit should experience heatstroke, take it to the vet immediately! Meanwhile, you should do these few things to keep your bunny cool:
Spritz their ears
Offer your rabbit cool water to drink.
Wrap your bunny with a damp towel
Place frozen water bottles next to your rabbits
Prevention is always better in this situation and you can do that by monitoring the signs of heat rise in your bunny:
Here are common signs of overheating in rabbits:
Refusing to eat
Weakness or lack of energy
Head Bent backward
Moving slowly or abnormally
A temperature that’s above 25℃ (77℉) is too hot and equally dangerous for a rabbit. Bunnies do not tolerate so much heat. Due to high temperatures, rabbits can suffer heat stroke, which can eventually lead to death.
Anything below 15℉ is too cold for bunnies. As long as they are not wet and exposed to direct wind. If you live in cold parts of the world or during winter when it gets pretty cold, you should try to keep your rabbits warm and comfortable.
Moreover, it shouldn’t be too warm to avoid overheating in bunnies. A rabbit can tolerate the cold more than heat.
Wild rabbits live in burrows underground, which provides shade. This is why they can control heat.
In addition, they are most active during the cool times of the day, usually in the morning and the evening. Hence, this practice helps keep their body temperature cool during the summertime.
With these tips listed in this article, I believe you now know how you can help your rabbit stay cool in warmer seasons. Remember that bunnies are great at keeping cool on their own when their body temperature rises.
However, it doesn’t seem to help all the time, especially during summertime. Hence, your rabbit needs your help to remain cool so they don’t overheat. What’s more, you don’t need to do every single one of these tips to keep your bunny comfortable in the summertime.
We provided you with many options in case you might not be able to do some of them. So get on with it and keep your rabbit's body temperature in check throughout the summer!
Rabbit nail trimming is an important aspect of rabbit care, especially when it comes to grooming. Pet rabbits do experience overgrown nails from time to time. These nails keep growing just the same way their teeth do.
Leaving it that way can be very uncomfortable for both you and your pet. If you hold your rabbit times and see scratches afterward on your arms, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
However, if you do not have a way to wear them down, you need to trim them often. However, if you do it wrongly, you might hurt your fluffy pet during the process.
However, there's no need to worry. To make sure you get it right, I’ve put up an article that will guide you in every step in trimming your rabbit’s nails.
Keep reading below!
GOT YOUR FIRST-EVER BUNNY? - READ THIS GUIDE!
Before we jump into the nail trimming guide, here are the few things you need to get your rabbit’s nails trimmed successfully.
Get a pair of animal nail clippers, especially the ones made for cats or bunnies. These kinds of clippers have a rounded edge, which suits the nature of your rabbit’s claws.
You will as well need a helping hand. S/he will help hold your rabbit for you. It makes nail trimming very easy.
Get dry towels. To wrap your rabbit as well as the surface where you'll place them.
Get a cotton ball and a styptic powder ready. They're both for emergencies. Just in case you clip your rabbit’s nails too short and it starts to bleed
Remember to get some treats for your rabbit. Your rabbit needs to be as comfortable as possible.
A rabbit has a vein inside each nail called a quick. This quick is the blood supply that goes into the rabbit’s nail. Moreover, you can spot the quick through its light pinkish color.
Most importantly, you should try to avoid the quick when trimming the nails. If you cut through the quick, it will bleed and equally hurt your rabbit. And you do not want this, right? So, your goal is to cut below the quick!
Start by placing your rabbit on a stable surface that’s high above the ground. This makes rabbit nail clipping easier as you don’t have to bend while doing it.
Additionally, it prevents your rabbit from hopping away. Moreover, don’t always place a towel on the surface before placing your rabbit on it. This helps your rabbit gain a good grip on it.
Once your pet is on the surface, wrap it in a towel. Now, this is when your holder (the other person) comes in handy. However, you can still do this yourself.
Simply hold your rabbit close to you (against your body). This way, they’ll feel secure. In addition, this process aims to keep your rabbit calm and under control for their safety.
However, if your rabbit gets uncomfortable and starts to struggle during this process, you should stop right away and restart the whole thing. As soon as your pet calms down, set them up again.
Moreover, you shouldn’t forget to reward your rabbit with treats for being calm. At the same time, this can lure them to be wrapped in the towel again.
Start by wrapping one arm around your rabbit. Afterward, grab and gently pull each front paw out from beneath your rabbit with the same arm.
This should be your left arm, as your right arm will handle the clipping. However, it should be the other way around if you are left-handed.
In addition, a better way to do this is to have someone else (your holder) hold your rabbit foot out for you to clip. All you’ll have to concentrate on is trimming your pet’s nails.
First of all, you should know that your rabbit has a total of five claws on each front paw – four true claws and a dewclaw. Hence, you will be trimming 10 claws in total on your rabbit’s front feet.
Nevertheless, when your rabbit’s paw is held out, do not clip it immediately. Try to locate the quick first! However, you can't spot it easily and most rabbits have darker-colored nails, which make it even harder.
An easy way to do this is to squeeze their claw gently with the clipper. This should be a squeeze that isn’t meant to clip through the nail. If you do this and your rabbit reacts or draws back its paw, it indicates that you’re too close to the quick.
However, if you accidentally cut through the quick and it starts to bleed, clean the injured nail with a cotton ball and apply styptic powder to it quickly. Afterward, continue to trim all the nails short on your rabbit’s front paws.
Pro Advice: Take a break from time to time during nail clipping, pet your rabbit to keep them calm, and equally offer them some treats!
Unlike the front feet, rabbit toenails are eight altogether. So you only need to take care of four nails each on their back feet.
However, trimming nails on your rabbit’s back paws can be quite challenging, especially if you do it alone. This is why you need to take care of their front feet first.
As you grab your rabbit by the hind feet, it might try to hop away. To make this easy, lift your rabbit by its chest with one arm allowing only its back feet to be on the table (surface).
If you have someone hold your rabbit for you in this position, it’s way easier. Whichever way you do this, carefully begin to trim your rabbit’s toenails.
However, if you accidentally cut through the quick and a nail starts bleeding, do not hesitate to use the styptic powder.
Carefully inspect all your rabbit’s feet to make sure you’ve given them a good nail trim. Moreover, you should do this one foot at a time to make sure everything is okay.
It’s equally important that you check every of your rabbit's feet for nails you clipped too short that might b bleeding. Clean it up and apply styptic powder to it immediately.
Give your rabbit treats as a prize for good behavior and a job well done. This can encourage your pet to comply much better during the next nail-clipping session.
When your rabbit's nails are so long that they begin to create problems, it means they are overgrown. These overgrown nails can leave severe rabbit scratches on your body whenever you handle your pet.
But that’s not all! If your rabbit nails keep growing beyond an appropriate length, the “quick” in the nails grows too. This way, it will be harder to clip your rabbit’s nails short.
To restore their nails to an appropriate length, you have to clip off only the tip of their nails very often – about every week. Moreover, this will allow the quick to adjust to the nail size gradually.
When a rabbit has very long nails can experience problems where its nails can get trapped on materials like carpets. As a result, these nails are likely to break or rip off when your pet quickly moves or struggles to set itself free.
Overgrown rabbit nails can equally stress the feet. Your rabbit will try to adjust its weight due to excessively long nails. This, in turn, can make your pet walk abnormally.
First of all, you should know that this rarely happens. However, certain accidents can bring about this issue.
For instance, a rabbit can suddenly move when its nail is about to be clipped. And as a result, the nail can completely rip off. Stop the bleeding with a cotton ball and then leave your rabbit to do the rest of the cleaning.
Furthermore, you need to inspect the wound from time to time to make sure there’s no infection whatsoever. In addition to this, swelling or redness around the nail root is not a good sign.
When you notice this, it means you need to take your pet to the vet right away. However, in the absence of any infection, your rabbit should be totally fine in a short while.
As for the injured digit, the nail is likely to grow back or not. But regardless of the outcome, your rabbit will still move about freely without issues.
A rabbit needs to be properly restrained during nail clipping. If a rabbit isn't relaxed, many problems can arise.
Hence, you have to make sure the rabbit is calm before and while you trim nails. Begin this by slowly wrapping the bunny in a towel.
Afterward, you should pet the rabbit so that they are relaxed. Do this by gently stroking the rabbit’s head and back. A way to know if rabbits are relaxed is to watch their eyes.
That’s right! Their eyes should be slightly or fully closed. In addition, while trimming rabbit nails, talk calmly to them to make them feel more comfortable.
Make out time every month for rabbit nail clipping. However, I recommend that you clip your rabbit’s nails whenever you notice they’ve grown so long.
All you have to do is monitor their nail length from time to time. Spotting a rabbit’s overgrown nails differs from rabbit to rabbit.
For a furry rabbit with long hair, you should check if the nails are growing beyond the excess fur on the paws. If this is the case, your bunny’s nails are pretty long and require trimming.
Alternatively, you can check if your rabbit’s claws have started to curl. This applies to every breed. Moreover, it’s another simple way to know when your rabbit nails need trimming. Above all, whenever you trim, aim for only the tip of the nails.
Rabbits naturally trim their nails unknowingly and this is common with wild rabbits. In the wild, they live in warrens – a large community of rabbit burrows.
So, a major activity they do is digging burrows. They spend a lot of them doing this. As a result, it keeps their nails in check. While digging around their dirt, their nails often erode. And this prevents it from overgrowing.
Similarly, you can provide your pet rabbit with hard surfaces to walk on and areas to burrow very often. These are good ways to keep their nails short without clipping them.
No, do not clip rabbit nails with human nail clippers. These kinds of clippers are made for humans’ thin and flat nails. Rabbits on the other hand have very thick and round nails.
Hence, the ideal clippers to use are animal nail clippers, especially for small pet animals. However, in case you can’t find nail clippers made for small animals like guinea pigs and rabbits, cat nail clippers are fine to use.
To sum up, I hope I’ve shown you how to trim your rabbit’s nails easily. As part of rabbit care, your pet’s nails must be kept short. Remember never to use human nail clippers to do it.
In addition, it’s always good to start nail trimming when your rabbit is still very young so they can get used to it over time. As you do it, try as much as possible to stay away from the quick.
I understand that trimming your rabbit nails can be frightening, but don’t be discouraged. Many rabbit owners fear doing it at first, but with time they learned to handle it.
Hence, if you’ve checked and you’re sure that rabbit nail clipping isn’t something you can handle, feel free to take your pet to the vet.
Your rabbit’s health is very important. So your goal should be to have your bunny's nails trimmed in the safest way possible.
If you found this article helpful or have some more tips to add, please comment below.
Thinking of getting a pet rabbit? Before you bring your new fluffy friend home, however, you will need to get a home for it. Now the first thing that might come to mind is a rabbit hutch, but is that really what's best for your hopper?
We're about to find out, so keep reading.
Honestly, it's up to personal preference. There's no right or wrong as long as you take into account the needs of your pet bunny. There are quite a few opinions on the matter, however, so keep reading and decide for yourself.
A cage is an enclosure made from metal bars or wire mesh meant to hold small animals or birds. A hutch is an enclosure made from wire mesh, wood, and other material meant to keep rabbits in.
If you're wondering if bunny hutches are right for you and your rabbits, keep the following points in mind.
Rabbits are prey animals. As a result, it's very important to keep your fluffy friends safe and secure especially if they'll be living outdoors. There are many predators that would love to make a meal out of your pet rabbit.
Hutches are also great for indoor rabbits. It keeps them out of trouble and away from dangerous objects and plants. Bunnies are known for chewing on everything. Nobody wants to come back to an electrocuted or poisoned pet.
Generally, bunnies are great at litter training themselves. To speed up the process, however, you can limit their movement with an exercise pen, baby gate, or cage.
Cages are excellent storage places for messy items such as food bowls, water bottles, hay feeders, and storing other accessories such as toys. Some rabbits also prefer to use their cages as a place to sleep.
Is it cruel to keep a small animal in a cage? Yes and no, it depends on the hutch. If your bun will stay in the hutch for an extended period of time, make sure it takes care of basic needs and allows for normal behaviors.
A cage should have easy access, a comfortable place to sleep, accommodate hopping antics, and ensure your bun-bun has access to food, water, and other basic needs such as a potty area.
Hutches are only cruel when they are too small and filthy. Keep in mind their main purpose is to keep a small animal safe from predators and other dangers. If done right, I don't think bunny hutches are cruel.
The size of your rabbit hutches will depend on the size of your pets. If you have dwarf hoppers, you can get away with much smaller cages than large bunnies. A small animal needs less space to display normal behaviors like running, jumping, and flopping.
Follow the three-hop rule. This rule states that the cage needs to allow at least three consecutive hops in any direction. The roof should be high enough to prevent the ears from touching when the bunny stands on its hand legs.
No matter if your fluffy friend is an indoor or outdoor bun, the same rules for the cages apply. Many owners opt to dedicate a full room to their bunnies. This way there's more than enough space to create the perfect rabbit habitat.
So do rabbits need a hutch? The answer is no, but hutches are excellent for unsupervised outdoor activities and keeping your bunnies safe indoors. They are also great for creating a safe area for your bun bun to sleep, eat, and potty inside your home. If you want a rabbit hutch indoors, go for it!
Unless you've gone through the trouble to bunny-proof your home, it's wise to keep your buns in a cage or closed-off area. Lots of pet owners opt to have free roam buns when they can supervise and have them closed up in a bun-safe room or enclosure when they can't. There are so many accessories you can buy to create the perfect habitat for your bun, no one will dare demand a change in your bunny cage.
In my opinion I'd say no. These fluffy hoppers do just fine being kept indoors as long as you went though the effort to set up a proper enclosure for your pets. Being indoors keeps them safe from predators, diseases, parasites like ticks and fleas as well as extreme weather conditions.
When setting up an enclosure for an indoor hopper, you don't have to stick with the usual models while shopping. Since your buns are already protected inside your home, you can focus on styles when making a purchase. Choose the brand you like most, buy a complete setup or one you need to assemble yourself, or don't get one at all and go for something less traditional like an exercise pen. Don't limit yourself on account of others.
Before bunnies became house pets, they were only kept outside. Bunnies kept outdoors need to be protected from the elements, have a cozy shelter to hide in for warmth, and have lots of space to run and jump in their outdoor habitat. If you give them that and check on them every day, there shouldn't be any problems. That said, do bring them indoors if it gets really cold out.
This is another yes and no question. If your bunnies can stay outdoors in winter will depend on your climate. In areas where temperatures drop below 21.2°F (-6°C) you don't want to leave them outdoors.
No, as long as you set up the proper habitat for your pets. Keeping bunnies outside is easy since you don't need to protect the floors, deal with soggy newspaper, and chewed through cables. You do, however, need to provide a safe, warm area to rest in, make sure they can't dig out, fill the hide with warm bedding and provide fresh food and water. If it gets very cold, make sure the water doesn't freeze and that the cage is free from drafts.
When shopping for an outdoor enclosure, you'll need to focus more on functionality and safety than styles and brand. Your outdoor enclosure needs to be easy to access for you, but impossible to breach for predators. You'll need to do daily checks for any sign of damage, especially around the door. Many outdoor enclosures are made from wood, allowing some insolation against the elements.
While in the store, ask customer service to select the most sturdy option and inspect it closely for any sign of weak points.
An enclosure for two buns needs to be double the size of one meant for a single hopper. You'll also need to double up on all items. For a single hopper allow for three hops, so in this case, it will be six hops. Before leaving your new fluffy friends alone together, however, make sure they are bonded properly.
Cages with multiple levels work really well for multi rabbit households. A brand like Trixie offers excellent cages with multiple levels.
When shopping for a cage option for more than one bun, you need to take into account the size of your fluffy friends. After you purchase your items, it will be much harder to change. Make sure the cage is easy to access, large enough for two buns, looks nice from the outside, and shows no sign of damage. If possible, find a cage with an enclosed area that opens up into a run.
Now that you know a bit more, it's time to shop for your own rabbit enclosure. Don't be afraid to get one and change it later, just make sure it's big enough to accommodate your fluffy friend. You can try a number of pet store options until you find that one cage that speaks to you.
Yes, the PetSmart brand sells a whole variety of styles and sizes for you to choose from. Find the style you like, evaluate its good points and purchase your new items.
The best setup for a rabbit is one that allows lots of movement. If you have an indoor bun, an exercise pen is a great option. For outside buns, you need to select one with a roof and floor.
That depends. If you have an outside bun, you will want to provide a cozy home to hide in. For indoor buns, a hide isn't strictly required, but they definitely do enjoy one.
Before running off to the shop, check out our guide on setting up a rabbit enclosure. You will need things like water bottles, food bowls, hay feeders, litter boxes, and a whole variety of other items.
For small buns, you will need a smaller setup than for the large sort. Try to allow for at least three hops per bunny.
House rabbits are adorable balls of fluff. You may be very tempted to get one after seeing them in a pet shop or running around a friend's house. Maybe you already brought your new rabbit home. Unfortunately, you might not have realized how much work rabbit care really is.
The amount of attention needed by a pet rabbit is similar to what a dog needs (without the walks of course). You also need to make sure the enclosure is rabbit safe, big enough, has lots of toys and social enrichment to ward off boredom, and has an area for litter training.
Then you also need to make sure your house is bunny proof and the most important part of rabbit care is providing the best nutrition possible for your new pet.
Bunnies are often mistaken as being 'easy to care for pets' just like hamsters or gerbils. In reality, rabbit care is far more complex and a lot more effort especially if you have an indoor bunny.
Don't panic! I'm here to help you. We'll take everything from the top and get you set up in no time. Rabbits are great companions if you know what you're doing.
Bunnies are excellent pets if you're prepared to care for one or even better, two. They have surprisingly vibrant personalities and are very social animals. Pet rabbits also come in all sizes which makes them perfect pets for any household.
Rabbits are generally quiet, intelligent animals that like the company of other rabbits and people. If you have cats, dogs, and other animals, you need to supervise initial interactions. Bunnies are prey animals and might get very scared if chased.
They can develop a very strong bond with their owners. This requires consistent interaction with your pet rabbit. Keep in mind that they are very different from any other kind of pet with very different needs.
With good handling, your timid rabbit may become the highlight of your day. Rabbits can be super entertaining and respond well to human commands.
Unfortunately, they aren't good pets for kids. Bunnies are very fragile which means they might get hurt during rough handling. If you have children, make sure to supervise any interactions and teach your child how to properly hold a bunny.
Rabbits come in a variety of sizes ranging from miniature dwarfs to giants. There are breeds like the Netherland dwarf that weigh as little as 0.5 - 1.13 kilograms (1.1-2.5Ib). Then there are also breeds like the Flemish giant which can weigh 9.1 kilograms (20Ib) or more.
How high or low maintenance your bunny is will depend on the breed you have. Some bunnies are surprisingly low maintenance (not maintenance free) while others need a bit more attention.
Generally, bunnies with short coats are lower maintenance than those with long coats like Angora rabbits. All bunnies still need a proper diet, clean enclosure, and exercise every day so don't expect to just forget about them.
There are ups and downs when it comes to rabbit ownership. Here's a quick summary.
Pet stores often sell bunnies for as little as $30, but they also give terrible advice. These bunnies often have health problems due to being kept in unsanitary conditions or bred poorly by backyard breeders.
It's better to adopt a bunny from your local animal shelter or get one from a reputable breeder. Adoptable rabbits may cost as little as $50 and come already sterilized. This saves you a lot of money. Consider going to the House rabbit society website to find a good rabbit rescue.
You can also buy from a reputable breeder. These bunnies cost a bit more, but they come with good advice and you know they'll be in good health, unlike the pet store rabbits. You can find a reputable breeder through the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) or the British Rabbit Council (BRC) depending on where you live.
Bunnies aren't expensive, but no one tells you how much it costs to set up an enclosure, visit a vet, get rabbit safe toys or provide the best food possible.
Now you still need a playpen, litter box, food, water bowls, toys, a hay feeder and hide. This can cost you $300 and upwards. If done properly, expect to pay around $1000 or more. You can get all of this from your local pet store or buy it online.
You also need to set aside a few dollars to cover spaying and neutering. It can cost anything between $25 to over $350 to get these operations done.
Bunnies are quite costly compared to other animals like cats and dogs. Your primary expenses will be food (both dry and fresh) and litter. Depending on where you get these items, you can expect to pay anything between $50 to over $300 per month.
You will also need to replace worn chew toys regularly which will cost you another $10 to $20 per item.
Make sure to plan routine veterinary checkups and keep any vaccinations up to date. This will cost you around $150 or more depending on your vet.
Bunnies can have various medical problems like overgrown teeth, gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, and respiratory infections. Some of these problems are genetic so make sure you get a healthy bunny to keep vet costs down.
Some vets don't take rabbit patients. Make sure you have a veterinarian in your area before getting a rabbit.
Pet rabbits are long-lived companions. Many bunnies, when properly cared for, live to be 10 years or more. This estimation may vary between breeds, however. Dwarves usually live longer than giants.
Bunnies, especially indoor ones need a large pen to keep them safe and comfortable. Here are a few things you should think about before getting a rabbit.
Rabbits are prey animals. If you keep them outside, you need to make sure predators can't get into the rabbit's cage. Indoor bunnies have different needs, however, we'll get to that soon.
An outdoor hutch should have a wire floor to prevent digging out of it. There should also be ample shelter in the rabbit enclosure.
Many pet shops will offer you a cage that is suitable for a guinea pig. These cages are often too small. Unfortunately, there are lots of rabbit owners that don't know any better and start off with these tiny rabbit enclosures.
Bunnies don't do well when kept in small cages. They need to be able to run and exercise every day. When buying a rabbit's enclosure, make sure you take measurements beforehand. Let's take a look.
The best way to measure out cage space is to watch your bunny hop. The rabbit's enclosure should be long enough to accommodate at least three hops. When standing on the hind legs, the ears should not touch the roof of the cage. This means that rabbit enclosure sizes can vary widely depending on the size of the breed.
No matter if it's an indoor or outdoor cage, you need to make sure the floor is non-slip. Many owners of house bunnies opt to place washable carpets on the bottom of the cage. Underneath that is something waterproof like linoleum flooring.
Waterproof flooring is essential for any accidents that missed the litter box
For outdoor enclosures, you can use hay or straw on the bottom of the cage or simply place the rabbits' enclosure on your lawn.
Bunnies can be extremely active, especially when they are young. If your indoor bunny will be in a cage while you work, you need to make sure there's enough space to run, or you will need to set up a separate exercise pen.
Many owners use a baby gate to close off a room for the bunnies to exercise in. The best time to let them out is at dusk and dawn. Bunnies are crepuscular which means this is their most active time. Make sure you have a litter box for any toilet emergencies.
Bunnies have thick fur coats. This means they are much more tolerant of the cold than we are. It's best to keep your bunny in the coolest part of your home. Bunnies are comfortable in temperatures ranging from 12 to 21°C (55-70°F), but they can tolerate temperatures up to 30°C (85°F).
Most people opt to keep rabbits inside their homes rather than keeping them confined to a cage outside. This is a great option for rabbits, but not always possible for the owners. Many bunnies are very destructive which means you'll need to do extensive bunny proofing.
Owners of free-roaming buns can tell you how destructive they can be. A rabbit naturally wants to chew and dig. It's what their instincts tell them to do. As a result, nothing in your home is safe.
Letting your little troublemakers roam free means you need to do a lot of work to protect them and everything in your home. Bunnies are known to chew through electric cables, dig up carpets and destroy baseboards (skirting boards) in no time.
Here's what you need to do.
Bunnies are just like children. If there's a way to get in trouble, they'll find it. You'll find these little mammals to be extremely inquisitive and curious about everything in their surroundings.
If something changes, they'll be the first to investigate the disturbance. For this reason, it's very important to protect your pet rabbit against everything they really shouldn't be messing with.
For you, this means placing house plants out of reach, covering electric cables with hard chew-proof plastic covers, and moving valuable wooden furniture out of the bunny area.
If you have a pet rabbit, you'll find that wires aren't safe no matter what. Bunnies just love chewing on spicy hay (aka electric cables).
Unfortunately, this can be really dangerous. A rabbit can be electrocuted by any live wires. You'll also lose a few electric appliances.
Place any wires behind fences, wrap them in chew-proof plastic casing or lift them high enough above the ground so that the rabbit can't get to them.
Protecting your rugs and baseboards is no easy task if you have a free-roaming rabbit. One way to overcome this problem is to confine your bunny to one room when you can't supervise. Make sure there are no carpets and the baseboards (skirting) are protected by fencing going all around the room.
If all your rooms have carpets, simply place plastic mats over them. The ones used under desk chairs work pretty well, or you can try the foam pads used for children. Beware of the foam pads, however, rabbits tend to dig into them.
Stop baseboard chewing by placing furniture in front of them. You can also limit access with fences made from storage cubes tied together with a zip tie. Some bunny owners have reported success with cardboard as well as gluing cat scratch pads to the wall. You can also try to stick masking tape on the board. some bunnies don't like the feel of it.
Rabbits can be very destructive if starved of entertainment. One way you can make sure to ward off boredom is with wooden chew toys. Chew toys are also essential to keep your rabbit's teeth short.
If you don't have the funds to buy new chew toys every month, you can make your own. Fill some toilet paper rolls with green foods or rabbit's hay like oat hay or even alfalfa hay. A hay feeder can also offer some entertainment.
You can also use a cardboard box mansion to keep your bunny busy. As you can see, you don't need the most expensive rabbit supplies to own a house rabbit. Having more than one rabbit also helps in the boredom department since they'll keep each other entertained. Just make sure to bond them properly.
A rabbit is a herbivorous animal. This means they eat plant matter. The largest part of a rabbit's diet should consist of grass hay. On top of that, you also need to feed healthy rabbit pellets and fresh foods.
A rabbit's diet is especially important if you're planning on breeding your male and female rabbits. Male rabbits need a healthy diet for sperm production and stamina while female rabbits need a healthy diet to nurture young.
Baby rabbits will also need to be fed differently from adult rabbits. Baby rabbits need a lot of protein in their diets which makes alfalfa hay perfect for a healthy rabbit diet.
Once your babies are filly grown and reach adult body weight, You'll need to adjust your rabbits' diet. Adult rabbits eat a variety of fresh produce, hays, and other plant products. Keep it interesting for them, but remember to do your research. There are foods that may kill your bunny.
Bunnies don't need a lot of pellets to stay healthy. Pellets are great for supplying the vitamins and minerals they need, however. If you're feeding pellets, make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging.
80% of rabbit food is grass hay. Timothy hay is best because of its high fiber content. Lots of fiber helps to keep rabbit teeth short and the guts moving.
Generally, pet shops will carry boxes of timothy hay. You can mix this with other grassy hay like orchard, meadow, and oat hay for variety in texture and flavor.
Fresh leafy green vegetables give your rabbit a variety of nutrients that are important for its health. Try to provide at least three kinds of fresh greens every day.
Most leafy greens available at your local supermarket are safe to give to your rabbit. But there are some varieties they can only have in smaller amounts. If you're not sure, avoid it and do your research first. A general rule is one cup of leafy greens per day. You should add three different kinds of greens like Brussel sprouts, wheatgrass, and cilantro.
Rabbits are remarkably clean creatures. For you as an owner, that means less cleaning! Most rabbits train themselves to use litter boxes.
It's incredibly easy to train most rabbits to use a litter box. Bunnies are naturally clean animals which means they instinctively keep themselves and their environment clean.
To litter box train your bunny, limit the space they have to run around outside the cage. Place a cat litter box or something similar in the area you notice your bunny having accidets. Just make sure to clean the area with vinegar first to remove the smell before you put down the litter box.
If your bunny has an accident while being litter trained, simply clean up the mess and placed the soiled tissue inside the litter box. Rabbits use smell to determine where they weed last time and will return to the same spot time and time again.
If you have a free-roaming rabbit, make sure to place a litter box in every room the bunny has access to. To avoid cleaning the rabbit litter box every few hours, place recycled newspaper pellet litter in the bottom of the box to absorb the smell. You can get pelleted litter such as recycled newspaper pellet litter at most pet stores.
Bunnies are remarkably good at cleaning themselves, but sometimes they do need a bit of help. Rabbit grooming should be an essential part of your care routine. During grooming make sure to check the high legs and rabbits' feet. These areas are prone to injuries.
Also, check your rabbit's nails regularly and trim them when needed. A rabbit's nails that are too long might get stuck in carpets. If you have long-haired rabbits, you will need to groom them regularly to avoid mats and skin problems. Make sure to remove loose fur regularly.
Make sure to check the hind legs for sores. Bunnies that run on hard surfaces often get sore hocks.
If you don't have the space for a rabbit, you can consider getting a guinea pig instead. A guinea pig and rabbit are very similar, except a guinea pig is smaller and doesn't hop around. Some people keep their rabbit with their guinea pig, but care should be taken since there's a chance your rabbit could get sick.
How high or low maintenance your rabbit is will depend on the breed you have. Some breeds need less care. rabbit owners should do thorough research before getting another bunny.
Yes, rabbits are wonderful pets as long as you did your research. They need to be cleaned every day and fed a proper diet.
It depends. some rabbits like a good cuddle while others are more independent. Generally, males are more cuddly than females.
Take a look at our rabbit supply list. To sum it up, get a pen, litter box (with litter), water and food bowls, lots of hay and rabbit pellets.
Two days. If you provide enough food and water, you can leave your domestic rabbits alone for two days and a night (36 hours).
Yes. If you rabbit-proof, you don't have to worry about your rabbit. Rabbits are very sanitary and affectionate which makes them great companions.
Like all animals, your rabbit will need food, shelter, and water. Exercise and entertainment are also essential. Rabbits are prey animals which means giving your rabbit access to the outside might be risky.
You will need to clean your rabbit cage daily, change the water in the water bottle, clean the litter box and give your rabbit time to run. Watch your rabbit's behavior to pick up on any problems early.
The Chinchilla Giganta rabbit is part of a group of bunny breeds that are classified as giants. If you’re thinking of adding one of these beauties to your family, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared.
In this complete guide, I’ll show you how to care for your bunny, what they eat, how to set up a rabbit safe enclosure and tell you a bit about breeding (and how to avoid it).
Read on to learn more about the breed called Chinchilla Giganta.
Somewhere in the 1800s in France, a kit with a silver coat was born to agouti (Sandy) coloured rabbit parents. This kit looked exactly like its littermates with black-tipped fur, but instead of the rusty red or tan band underneath the dark tips, this baby had a band of pearly white. Some call it silver agouti since it’s basically the wild fur pattern of agouti with the rusty brown colour replaced by pearly white.
The French farmer, in whose hutch this baby appeared, was quite fascinated and decided to try and breed more of them. Parisians found these rabbits, with a very similar coat to the South American Chinchilla rabbit, very fascinating creating a rimple of interest.
Officially, Monsieur Dybowski, a French engineer and rabbit breeder, is listed as the creator of the French Chinchilla rabbit, but this fur colour predates him without a doubt. Monsieur Dybowski worked hard to improve this early chinchilla. Eventually, he got to show them for the first time in 1913. In 1914 he improved so much that his chins took top honours at the national rabbit show.
From here the ‘Chinchilla rabbit’ craze spread to the UK in 1917 and to the USA in 1919. From there, they were officially recognized as ‘Chinchilla Rabbit’ in the USA in 1924. Later it became known as the Standard Chinchilla Rabbit when the Giant Chinchilla and Chinchilla Giganta breeds appeared individually during World War 1.
The Chinchilla Giganta was developed during WW1. The development of this breed started in England and continued in Germany. Chris Wren wanted to produce a giant variety of the Standard Chinchilla that can be used for meat in addition to its fur.
To produce this breed, they crossed the Standard Chinchilla rabbit with Flemish Giants and a few other rabbit breeds. As a result, a larger chinchilla coloured rabbit was born. The Chinchilla Giganta became very popular very quickly and is now known as one of the best fur and meat rabbits available today.
This rabbit has dense, but silky resilient fur that's about 3.18cm (1¼ inches) long. The undercoat is a deep blue slate that stretches about half the length of the fur.
From there you will find a pearly white band and after that, you’ll find black guard hairs and the ends will be tipped with alternating black and white tips that give the rabbit its grey colouration. The belly should be pure white.
The body is semi arched, long, graceful and finely boned. The ears, head and limbs should be in proportion with the body. You’ll find black lacing all around the ears.
Overall, the Chinchilla Giganta will appear to have the grey coat of a chinchilla rodent, hence the name.
Chinchilla Giganta size differ between adult bucks and does. The does must weigh a minimum of 4.07kg (9Ib) and the bucks 3.86kg (8½Ib) when fully grown. The Chinchilla Giganta, no matter sex, aren’t allowed to weigh more than 5.44kg (12Ib) per breed standards.
These stunning giants can live for around 7 to 10 years. A lot will depend on how you care for your bunny, however, so make sure you do the research before getting one.
The Chinchilla Giganta is very friendly with a docile nature. Depending on personality and sex, you’ll find them to be very cuddly and will even seek you out for some head scratches. Aggression is rare in this breed, but it does occur occasionally.
Most of the time you can expect your bunny to be very lively and curious. They love to explore and will rarely sit still during their crepuscular time (dawn and dusk). Later you might find them sleeping under the couch or table until the fridge is opened…
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are escape artists. They jump quite high and are excellent diggers. Keeping them confined is a challenge.
Chinchilla Giganta bunnies make excellent pets. They are, however, extremely undervalued as pets due to a lack of knowledge about them. Their size makes them suitable for households with small children and other pets such as cats and dogs.
They are very friendly, cuddly and soft with a lively nature. This means you’ll never be bored with all their antics.
Being gentle giants, Chinchilla Giganta rabbits easily get along with other rabbits as well as other pets. It’s best, however, to keep them with others of similar size to avoid any accidents.
If you’ll be keeping your rabbit with an animal of another species, you’ll need to make sure they are compatible. Bunnies can get along with predatory pets, but extra supervision will be required.
It’s recommended to keep Chinchilla Giganta bunnies in groups of at least two. They are very social and need companionship to be happy rabbits. Here’s a quick list of some possible friends for your bunny.
These stunning rabbits are herbivores. Their main diet should consist of lots of grass hay, rabbit pellets, fresh veggies and a few pieces of fresh fruits once in a while. It’s very important to feed your giant bunny a balanced, yet varied diet for optimal health.
The Chinchilla Giganta is quite large which means it also needs to eat a lot. A rabbit also has a very sensitive digestive system so you can’t make any quick changes in diet. Another thing, rabbits eat constantly. They have to since they can’t ruminate like other herbivores.
It’s best to supply your Chinchilla Giganta bunny with an unlimited supply of fresh, good quality grass hay. These include timothy hay, oat hay, barley hay, teff hay, meadow hay and orchard grass hay. You can create a mix of several kinds of hay to make it more interesting for your bunnies.
Legumes like Alfalfa and Lucerne can be given in small amounts. One handful per day is usually enough for adult rabbits. This type of hay is very high in protein which is great for growing babies, but very bad for the adults that don’t need as much protein.
Too much legume hay can cause kidney problems in your adult rabbits. Youngsters under 6 months can eat as much of it as they like though.
Your bunnies should also be supplied with a good quality rabbit pellet. This means commercial rabbit food without any coloured bits in it. The pellets are only there to help wear down the teeth and supply your Chinchilla Giganta with vital vitamins and minerals.
Depending on your brand (it's best to read what the package says) you can feed your youngsters unlimited pellets until one year old. After that, you can bring it down and feed your adults between 100-120g (3.5-7.1 Oz) of pellets per day.
It’s best not to feed youngsters under 3 months any veggies, greens or fruits. At this stage, they have very sensitive digestive systems. Adults on the other hand can get one tablespoon of fruit three times a week.
They can also get one cup made up of a mix of three kinds of greens and veggies every day in addition to their normal food. Make sure to switch up the greens and veggies every day for a varied diet.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are fairly low maintenance pets. They need to be brushed once a week to remove any loose hair in their coats when they aren’t moulting. During the moulting season (spring and autumn) you will need to increase your brushing to twice a week.
They also need their nails clipped at least once a month to stop them from becoming too long. If you feel brave enough, you can check your rabbit's teeth during this time as well, if not, ask a rabbit savvy vet to do it.
If you live anywhere that is not South Africa, you also need to get your bunnies vaccinated once a year. South Africa is free from all major rabbit diseases and thus doesn’t require any vaccinations. There is a vaccine against snuffles available for South African rabbits, however.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are very easy to care for, but they do require quite a lot of space. Fortunately, these bunnies can adapt to both indoor and outdoor lifestyles.
They will thrive in any environment that has been made rabbit safe, has enough space to run and jump and has lots of places to sleep the day away. In this section, you can learn how to set up the perfect Chinchilla Giganta enclosure.
Many rabbit owners like to keep their bunnies cage-free, but this isn’t an option for everyone. If you have a free-roaming bun, you will know how difficult it can be to keep them and your furniture safe.
A good option is to close off one room to turn it into a bunny room. Alternatively, you can set up a nice pen for your rabbit, or build a large outdoor hutch. Keep in mind that the minimum cage size requirement is 90cm (35.5 inches) high by 90cm wide by 90cm long. If your cage is this small, however, you will need to make time to let your bunny out to stretch its legs.
It’s best to have an enclosure that is a minimum of 1.2 m (47 inches) wide by 1.8 m (71 inches) long by 90cm high in my opinion. This allows them to run, jump and play to their heart's content.
If your enclosure is outside, you will want to place wire on the ground. The reason for this is that rabbits are excellent diggers. If you turn your back for 30 minutes, you might come back to an empty play area.
For an outdoor area meant as an exercise or play area only, you can place 50x100mm wire mesh on the ground. This means the wire mesh has blocks that are 50mm wide and 100mm long. These blocks allow your bunny to graze without being able to escape the enclosure.
Move the pen whenever the grass gets too short or if the area gets yucky with poop.
If you have a permanent outdoor play area, you can bury the wire. This allows the bunnies to dig and graze without being able to dig too deeply and escape.
If you have an indoor enclosure, you want to put something absorbent and nonslip at the bottom of the pen/cage. These bunnies can be potty trained, but it might take a while so you want to protect your floors. Something like washable puppy pads or waterproof sheets work well.
Some people also put linoleum flooring on the bottom of the cage to protect existing carpet or wooden floors.
Toys are always a good idea when it comes to Chinchilla Giganta rabbits. These bunnies get bored easily so giving them something to do prevents a whole lot of destruction.
The toys don’t need to be all fancy and expensive, they’ll probably chew them up pretty quickly. The best is to make your own by giving them branches from fruit trees, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay or vegetables, tunnels made from cardboard boxes and platforms to jump on.
You can also buy hay balls and all kinds of fancy rabbit toys, but do make sure they are actually safe. Not all toys in pet stores are safe for chewing critters. If possible, avoid anything made from plastic. Stick to pet safe wood, grass and carton boxes that are safe for chewing on.
If your bunnies live indoors, you can litter train them to make cleaning easier. For that, you need a large litterbox, bunny safe cat litter (those made from wood or recycled paper are great).
Place it in the corner your rabbit chose to potty in. If you can, place some hay in there or hang a hay feeder from the wall above the litterbox. You’ll notice bunnies eat and poop at the same time.. This will ensure the litter box gets used.
For the feeding area you need bowls and something to put water in. You might also want a hay feeder to minimize the mess.
Hang the hay feeder over the litterbox to encourage pottying in the right place. The bowl will be for the pelleted food and another for veggies. Make sure these are heavy enough so your bunny can’t pick them up. The same goes for the water bowl. If you like, use a bottle instead that’s attached to the pen or cage.
If left unattended, your rabbit will start to smell pretty quickly. It’s best to clean the litterbox every two days. If it smells sooner than that, you will want to change to a different cat litter or make it deeper. Just make sure not to use any clumping litter or those made of crystals.
For the rest of the cage, you can do spot cleaning whenever you notice an accident. Clean out the whole setup once a week to remove stray poos, hair, dust and hay laying around. You can also use this time to sanitize everything.
Don’t use any harsh chemicals. White vinegar mixed with water is perfect for the job.
Unless you’re a registered breeder or planning on becoming one, breeding your bunnies definitely isn’t a wise thing to do. There are so many homeless rabbits due to people breeding these wonderful creatures and then abandoning them when they can’t sell or care for them anymore. The best way to avoid breeding is to get your bunnies sterilized.
Sexing rabbits isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when they are young. It’s generally easy to tell male and female from each other when the rabbits are fully grown.
Females, called does, have a dewlap which is a flap of skin under the chin. They are also finer with a smaller head. Generally, you’ll find that they are larger than the males overall.
If you apply light pressure just in front of the genitals you’ll see the vulva protruding. You can tell it's a female if you can see a slit on an oval-shaped protrusion.
Male bunnies, called bucks, have a very large head with no dewlap. They are stockier than the females and usually a bit smaller. When checking the genitals you might see a testical or two, but they aren’t always visible so don’t rely on it.
Same as with the females you can apply light pressure just in front of the genital area. This will cause the penis to protrude. If you can see a round head with only a small opening, it’s a male.
The only way to sex babies and youngsters is by looking at the genitals.
If you want to breed, you don’t need to do anything special. Just make sure your female is a decent weight. Underweight females might not make it if they have a very large litter.
You also need to make sure your chinchilla Giganta females are at least 6 months old (8 months is better). The males can breed from as young as 5 months old.
The breeding process itself is very straightforward. Just remember to always put the female in the male’s cage, never the other way around. Does can be extremely territorial and might hurt the buck if he enters their territory.
During breeding the male and female will chase each other around and grunt. The male will nip the female and attempt to mount her until she submits. The breeding itself will take a few seconds.
You know the job is done when the male falls off the female and appears stunned for a minute or two. This is normal. Allow them to breed three or four times during one session. It should take around 30 minutes.
Around 28 to 36 days after mating you can expect babies. Make sure the doe has a box to nest in from day 26 of pregnancy. Once the kits are born check that they are clean, alive and have round bellies. This means they are well cared for. Allow the doe to do the rest.
Once kits reach around 2-3 weeks old you can start giving them pellets and grass to nibble on. Also, make sure there’s a water bottle for them to experiment with. Large bunnies like Chinchilla Giganta tend to drink from their moms until they are 6 weeks old. For this reason, never separate the kits from thier mom before 8 weeks old.
If you’d rather avoid having kits around, get your rabbits sterilized at a rabbit savvy vet. When a buck gets sterilized it’s called neutering. When a doe gets sterilized it's called spaying. Neutering is generally a smaller operation and is much cheaper and less risky to do.
Sterilizing will prevent your bunny from being overly aggressive, destructive and hormonal, but this isn't always the case. All bunnies are different. It will definitely prevent problems like reproductive tract cancer, however.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are very healthy and don’t have any major hereditary problems. There are a few general things you need to pay attention to, however.
To evaluate the health of your bunny, take note of everyday behaviour. If you notice any sudden changes like laying down more frequently, it’s worth checking out.
Do an overall health check at least once a week. This means picking up your bunny, looking into the ears, checking the eyes for mucus or tear stains and checking the nose for the same. Also, check the front paws for any dried mucus.
Next check the genital area and tail. If there's any dried poop on the tail, your bunny might have/had diarrhoea.
Healthy bunnies have clear eyes, clean ears, dry noses, clean genital areas and clean front paws. They also act lively, jump and run around, especially during dawn and dusk.
Some issues you need to look out for are:
Sudden lack of appetite followed by lack of poop or very small poop pellets.
Upper respiratory infection that causes difficulty breathing.
Bacterial infection of the ears that affect coordination and balance.
The virus is spread by insect bites. Can be prevented with a vaccine.
A virus that causes internal bleeding. Can be prevented with vaccines.
Loss of movement of one or more limbs. Usually caused by a physical injury.
Rabbits can’t pant or sweat to cool down. In extreme conditions, they may need some help.
If you see any mucous around the eyes, nose and paws with attempts to mouth breathe your rabbit might have a respiratory infection.
Flystrike is caused by a botfly that lays its eggs on damp fur during warm weather conditions.
Small critters that cause dandruff-like skin flaking in the ears. These can turn to crusty, bleeding lesions if left untreated.
Swelling caused by fluid under the skin.
A common disease among livestock. Characterised by sudden weight loss, depression, bloody diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
See a vet as soon as you notice something amiss with your rabbit. Being prey animals, they are excellent at hiding illness until it's almost too late to help them. The sooner you get treatment, the better chance of survival and recovery for your bunny.
Make sure you see a rabbit savvy vet.
The best place to buy these critters is directly from a registered breeder with a good reputation. This way you know you’re getting the best, healthiest bunny possible. Never support petshops!
If you live in America, you might have some problems finding a Chinchilla Giganta rabbit. They mostly only have Giant Chinchillas which is a very similar breed. You can try contacting the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) for possible breeders. If you’re in Europe, you can contact the British Rabbit Council (BRC).
If you’re in any other country, it’s best to contact the rabbit club or association in your area.
If you’re in South Africa, the best places to try are the Gauteng rabbit breeders association (GRBA) in Gauteng, Judy Stuart from the Natal rabbit club in KwaZulu-Natal and Mighty Paws Rabbitry (Owner Rita Wagener) from the Cape Rabbit Club in the Western Cape.
No, despite the name, chinchilla rabbits can’t breed with the rodent called a chinchilla. They are completely different species. The chinchilla rabbit got its name due to the similarity of its coat to the coat of the rodent called a chinchilla.
The maximum Chinchilla Giganta size, no matter sex, is a max weight of 5.44kg (12Ib) per breed standards. The minimum weight for bucks is 3.86kg (8½Ib) when fully grown and for does it is 4.07kg (9Ib).
Chinchilla rabbits cost around $40 per rabbit. In South Africa, the cost varies from R300-R950 per rabbit depending on quality.
Yes, they are a very underappreciated breed. They are most well known as commercial rabbits but aren’t that well known in the pet trade. As a result, they are now on the livestock endangered list.
The Chinchilla Giganta is a very easy to keep, lovable breed. You won’t be disappointed in this bunny if you’re looking for a new family member to love. Do you have your enclosure set up ready? If so, you’re ready to adopt your new family member!
Tell me in the comments below what you think of this wonderful breed.
Are you thinking of welcoming your first house rabbits as pets into your home? Choosing your first pet bunnies can feel extremely overwhelming.
I know how nerve-wracking it can be since you want to make the best choice for everyone. Fortunately, the whole choosing a pet rabbit story doesn’t have to be so scary.
If you’re about to welcome a little hopper into your family, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you need to know.
By Chris Friese
Before you get your first rabbits as pets, ask yourself the following question: Is a rabbit the right pet for me? Rabbits have some specialized needs that will need to be addressed. Unlike what most believe, they aren’t the easiest pets to keep. Here are a few things to help you decide if a pet rabbit is, after all, the best pet for you.
Once you’ve answered all these questions and you still want your bunny, take a look at what you need to get before bringing your new pet home.
Before bringing your new hopping friend home, make sure you already have everything ready to make your bunny feel at home. House rabbits as pets need a bit more than cats and dogs when it comes to their care. Make sure you have the following before bringing your bunnies home:
If you need a bit more information on these supplies, check out our article on preparing for your first rabbit.
To get set up, choose a location in your home like a room or corner of a room to dedicate to your bunny. Make sure this area is free of anything your bunny rabbit can destroy such as electric cables.
Set up the playpen in such a way that it protects the walls, but still gives your bunny some space to run and jump. This playpen needs to be high enough so that the rabbit doesn’t simply just jump over it.
Inside this playpen, you can set up a hutch or a cage. This will be the sleeping quarters for your bun. Place some bedding inside made from hay or something similar. On the floor of the playpen, you can place a floor protector. Also, dedicate one corner to the litter tray. Keep in mind that you might need to move the litter box to your rabbit’s preferred weeing corner.
Add some rabbit safe toys, a food and water bowl and you’re just about ready to go. House rabbits as pets are usually free raoming in the house. If your bunny will be doing this, you will need to protect any wooden furniture as well as electric cables. Read more about this in our article on rabbit proofing your home.
Once you have a cosy bunny home set up, you’re ready to start choosing a rabbit for your family.
Picking bunnies to bring home can be extremely exciting but also nerve-wracking. To make the choice easier for you, I’ve put together a few things to consider when choosing a pet rabbit. Here’s what you need to think about.
The first thing you’ll need to think about is the size of your potential rabbit. Bunnies come in all sizes from very small dwarfs to giant breeds. What you choose will depend a little on what you can offer your cotton-tailed friend.
If you have a lot of space but prefer a small bunny, then there is no reason to worry. More space is always better after all. The problem comes in when you have only a small apartment with very little running space for your bun. Giant breeds need a bit more space to stretch their legs. If you want one of these, make sure you have the space.
Make sure you have your pet’s best interest at heart when choosing a size bunny.
If it matters to you how your bunny looks, you might want to choose a breed that suits you. Just like dogs, different breeds look and act very differently. If you’re confused, do some research on rabbit breeds before you get a bunny.
For those who want a very active breed, it’s best to stick to the smaller bunny breeds. If you want a lazy rabbit that loves to cuddle, a big breed may be better. Keep in mind that not all breeds act the same.
If you like cuddly house rabbits as pets, consider a flemish giant or a continental giant. These breeds are also big enough to not be at risk when interacting with small children and other pets like cats.
It’s always good to know if you want a baby rabbit or an adult. There are many rabbits in rescues that need homes. Unfortunately, most of these are already adults. If you’re willing to take in an adult, it’s always a great idea to look at a few rescues.
If you want a baby rabbit of a specific breed. You can either ask rescues if they have any or contact a breeder. Make sure not to get your baby before 8 weeks old. They still drink from mom until they are around 6 weeks old.
Also, make sure the breeder is reputable and keep their bunnies in good condition. Backyard breeders must be reported to your local SPCA to prevent animal cruelty.
Different rabbits have different personalities. If you want outgoing house rabbits as pets, try choosing one that comes to sniff you. These bunnies are curious and won’t mind being handled.
While choosing your bunny, also make sure to pick it up. If the new bunny struggles a lot, it might not like being handled. If you want to cuddle it, choose one that doesn’t struggle when sitting on your lap.
Female bunnies are usually the more difficult gender. If you’re a first-time rabbit owner, a male bunny might be a better choice. Male rabbits tend to be much calmer, less destructive and less territorial. Female rabbits on the other hand are more independent, more territorial, sometimes quite aggressive and very destructive.
If you have a lot of patience, experience and time, a female bunny can make a perfect pet. If you’re not so confidant yet and don’t have a lot of patience or time, rather consider a male bunny. Remember that there are always exceptions.
House rabbits as pets aren't the cheapest critters to keep. Are you ready for the investment? They are long term pets that require special foods to stay healthy. They also need special cages to keep them out of trouble when you aren’t around to keep them safe.
Bunnies also need special veterinary care. If you’re prepared to invest in your rabbit friend, then you shouldn’t have any problems. Just keep in mind that they aren’t the cheapest pets to keep.
Bunnies need a very specific diet. You will need a lot of hay and veggies to keep them healthy. This can become quite an expensive process.
They also need special veterinary care so make sure you have a vet in mind before you get your pet. If something goes wrong with a bunny, it usually goes very wrong very quickly. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a bunny savvy veterinarian.
If you already have other pets, you will need to think about how you will be integrating your house rabbits as pets. Very small bunnies like Netherland Dwarfs, it isn’t the best idea to keep them with predators like dogs and cats.
Larger bunnies do better since they don’t immediately trigger the hunting instincts of your other pets. If you have chickens and guinea pigs, however, your bunnies should get along just fine with them.
They will also be just fine with cats and dogs if you get a kitten or puppy at the same time as your bunny and raise them together.
The last thing you need to consider is your family. Does anyone suffer from pet allergies? Just like cats and dogs, rabbits also have dander in their fur. They also shed heavily as cats do. For this reason, you might not want one if someone is allergic.
If you have small kids, you also might want to put off getting a bunny. Small kids are very rough and might injure your fluffy friend by accident. If you’re willing to supervise, however, it might work out. It might also be best to get a giant breed instead of a small one.
You will also need to establish who will be caring for this bunny. There is a lot of work that goes into rabbit care. Litter boxes need to be cleaned every second day, poop needs to be picked up, water needs to be changed and the bunny needs to be fed. All of these tasks can take quite a bit of time. Make sure everyone knows their duties.
Also, make sure that a rabbit suits your lifestyle. If you travel a lot, this pet might not be the best choice for you. Rather get something like fish that won’t miss you too much when you’re gone. If you’re a stay at home parent or if you work from home, on the other hand, bunnies are great pets. They thrive on attention and need a lot of love to stay tame.
Now you might wonder how exactly you’re supposed to only choose one or two rabbit out of the whole bunch. Here’s what you need to look for:
A clean bunny is usually a healthy bunny. If the bunnies have a dirty bum, look a bit scruffy or has wee stains all over, you might want to find out a bit more about them before getting one.
You can also evaluate the health of a bunny by doing a physical examination. Healthy bunnies usually have clear eyes with no mucus in the corners. The nose should be twitching, be dry and mucus free. If the bunny is continuously sneezing, it also might be sick.
The area under the tail should be clean and poop-free. The spine should be felt but not prominent and definitely not visible. The same goes for the pelvis and the ribs. The ears should be erect (except if you have a breed such as a lop), clean and moving freely.
The whole body posture of the bunny should be alert, curious and ready to either play or run. A rabbit that is overly skittish may have never been handled or is feeling sick. If the bunny seems listless, it might also be sick.
While checking the bunnies for health and cleanliness, also check their living conditions. Bunnies kept in smelly, nasty environments usually aren’t very healthy. Rabbits are very clean animals. If given the choice, they won’t ever get themselves dirty.
Also, check the living conditions of the parents. If they aren't present, ask to see them. Some backyard breeders will show you the babies, but they won’t show you the nasty conditions these kits were kept in.
Every bunny has its own personality. Some are sweet and cuddly while others are super active and curious. You will need to spend some time with the rabbit you’d like to adopt to get a reading on its personality.
Some can be very shy and only really start to show you what they are made of once they get used to you. If you can, visit your bunny of choice several times before it’s allowed to come home with you.
This might not be important to you, but how much your bunny costs will be directly related to its health and quality. Cheap bunnies often have health issues and have been bred by unknowledgeable people. This is not always the case, but unfortunately, it happens often.
Bunnies that cost more are usually of a specific breed and prized by the breeder. These are the bunnies in the best conditions since breeders usually prize their animals and only send the best out into the world. They also often attend shows and courses to learn how to breed for health and quality.
The best option, however, is to adopt. Adopting a bunny means you give one poor soul a happy ending. Unfortunately, these rabbits aren’t always in the best of health and might have some trust issues. This is expected since their previous owners more than likely abused or abandoned them. If you have the patients and money, however, I would highly suggest adopting a bunny in need.
Before taking your new rabbit home, there are a few things you must straighten out with the current owners or breeder. Here are a few things you must ask:
Sometimes it’s not the most straightforward process to choose house rabbits as pets for your family. Here are a few things you need to ask yourself:
Not all rabbit breeds are the same. Some are large and can weigh 10kg (22 pounds) or more. Others are small and can weigh as little as 1kg (2.2 pounds).
You will also need to decide if you want your rabbit to have long or short fur. Keep in mind that rabbits with long fur require much more grooming and personal attention than those with short fur.
The last thing you’ll have to consider is colour. Rabbits come in many colour varieties with a stunning amount of different colour patterns. Not all of these might be appealing to everyone so make sure you choose something you like.
Healthy rabbits are easy to identify. Look out for the following signs that your bunny is in good health:
Rabbits might seem like super easy pets, but this isn’t always the case. These critters need special living arrangements and food to keep them safe, happy and healthy. You will need to get the following for your bunny:
For more on what to get for your bunny, click here. As you can see, bunnies aren’t the cheapest animals to keep, at least initially. If you’re willing to invest in your little friend, however, you won’t be disappointed.
Rabbits can be kept as free-roaming pets if you’re willing to bunny proof your home. Some people dedicate one room to their rabbits and close it off with a baby gate. Bunnies do just fine outside as well as long as the area is safely enclosed, has shelter and is large enough for them to run around. Keep in mind that they need enough space to run and do all kinds of rabbit things.
There are only two places you should ever consider buying a rabbit from. The first is a reputable breeder that is registered with a breed registry and the second is an animal rescue. Never buy a bunny from a pet shop or someone that just breeds their pets unethically. These bunnies are often sick or so badly bred that they have health issues for life.
The best place to get a rabbit is from either an animal rescue or a registered breeder. This way you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into without being lied to about the condition your rabbit is in or the best care for it.
Rabbits can get along with other animals if introduced properly. Dogs can be trained to leave the bunny alone for instance. Cats are a bit more difficult, but you can get past the danger by getting a large rabbit breed. They can also successfully live along with guinea pigs, chickens and other non-aggressive pets.
By Ed Brey
No, most rabbits hate this. They are prey animals and being picked up feels like being captured by a predator. This is super stressful to them and should be avoided where possible. If you need to pick up your bunny for any reason, make sure to support the back and hindquarters and hold your rabbit close to your body so it feels safer.
The frequency will depend on where you live. In some countries, rabbits need to get yearly vaccinations like dogs and cats to avoid serious illnesses. In other countries, it might only be necessary to see a vet on the rare occasion that something is wrong. It’s always good to do a yearly checkup, so if you can, get into that routine.
Yes, it’s always better to keep rabbits in pairs. They are extremely social creatures and will bond with a partner for life. Bunnies kept on their own will become bored and lonely easily which often leads to destructive behaviours and depression. Just make sure to bond them properly. Pet rabbits fighting can get quite dangerous to everyone involved.
Yes. Rabbits need a special veterinarian. The vet needs to be knowledgeable in the care of rabbits and other exotic pets. Make sure you have a rabbit savvy vet in mind even before you get your new friend.
If you’re a new rabbit owner to be, take a look at the following mistakes to avoid them yourself.
Many bunny owners get their rabbit before they are ready for it. This leads to a scramble to put together a cage and get all the necessary things a rabbit needs to live a happy, healthy life.
Rabbits are long term pets. It’s best to do the proper research before you get your new pet. Rabbits aren’t the easiest pets and they definitely aren’t for beginner pet owners. Make sure you know exactly how to care for your new fluffy friend before it comes home.
People often believe that pet rabbits can live on carrots and lettuce. This unfortunately is not true. The main food in your rabbit’s diet should be hay with the rest only being supplements. If you’re wondering how to correctly feed a bunny, take a look at this article.
Now that you know a bit more about choosing your first pet rabbit, it’s time to select your long time fluffy partner. Make sure to create a list of what you want before you go rabbit hunting and do the proper research. Once you’re set up and prepared at home, it’s time to bring your cotton-tailed friend home.
Let me know in the comments below how you found your new pet rabbit.