Rabbits – The Facts
Here are some vital points that we ask you read before considering adding a rabbit to your home, or even if you have the pleasure of owning one already. Rabbits are highly intelligent creatures and are such rewarding pets if cared for properly. There is information widely available on every aspect of their care. Why then, is our countries third most popular pet, the most neglected..?
Space – We require a minimum set-up of a 6ft x 2ft hutch and a 6ft x 4 ft run. People are often shocked at how large this seems, but a wild rabbit’s territory is the equivalent to approximately thirty tennis courts (!), so this suddenly doesn’t seem quite as roomy for our lovely bunnies. The guidelines are in place for the welfare of our animals. Rabbits need space for their physical wellbeing, as well as emotional happiness. The 4ft hutches that are so widely available are like a human living in a wardrobe their whole life – this would be seen as incredibly cruel, so why is it any different for the rabbits?
Toys – Rabbits love tunnels to run through, children’s chairs and stools to provide levels for them to sit on, and get a better view of their territory. Another big hit are willow balls and toys, widely available in pet shops and on the internet, to keep their teeth worn down and also to prevent boredom. Rabbits left in a hutch all day every day with nothing to do become so depressed and frustrated, there really is no need when toys to entertain them are so inexpensive – even free! Toilet roll tubes filled with hay, old phone directory books for them to tear up provide great fun. Rabbits NEED Hay. We really cannot express how important this is. Rabbits need constant 24/7 access to hay. Their teeth grow continuously, and no other food causes the chewing motion that the long strands of hay do. If rabbits do not have hay to eat, their teeth can grow into their mouth causing abscesses, dig into their cheeks giving great pain, and even grow right out of their mouth preventing them from eating, causing pain and discomfort, and even eye problems. There is also the fact that in the wild rabbits are made to forage and graze – this is a behaviour that absolutely needs to continue into domesticity.
Company – Rabbits are very social animals and get lonely andbored living alone. There is nothing quite like seeing a pair of loved-up bunnies grooming each other or cuddled up asleep together. No matter how much time and attention you can devote to him/her, it is no substitute for somebun who talks their language! If you have a single rabbit, we are able to offer advice on bonding – or bond with one of our lonely bunnies looking for love!
Neutering – People often come up with excuses not to neuter their rabbits. Examples are – The rabbit will be living alone so isn’t at risk of accidental breeding, he is already friendly so won’t benefit from neutering.. The fact is, there is no excuse, and all rabbits should be neutered. Left un-neutered, rabbits have so many hormones in such tiny bodies that they struggle to cope with them – they can become aggressive, territorial, frustrated. Once neutered, they are much more settled, calmer and happier animals. Also, if you leave your female rabbit unspeyed – there is over an 80% chance that she will develop uterine cancer. This statistic alone should be prompting more and more people to prevent the rabbit from suffering and get her speyed! It does of course, also prevent accidental matings which is so, so important. There are over 33,000 rabbits handed into rescue each year in the UK – and these are just the lucky ones, many many more are being turned away each day. We really do not need more unwanted bunnies added to these figures.
Vaccinations – Rabbits require vaccinating once yearly against Myxomotosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. It is a combined vaccine and is highly effective in preventing both the long and drawn out suffering of death by myxi, and the sudden death of VHD. Please call your vets for more advice.
Rescue rabbits, like all rescue animals, are not ‘damaged’ – there is only one difference between adopting a rabbit from us and buying from a pet shop or breeder, and that is that from us, your rabbit will already be neutered, microchipped and fully vaccinated. They will have a clean bill of health, unless stated otherwise. We have spent time getting to know their personalities; we will give you as much information on your new pet as we know ourselves. Some of them have come from loving homes and don’t understand why they are suddenly without the owners they know and love, some of them have been through horrendous ordeals and just need someone to understand and show them love – Please consider adopting one of our beautiful bunnies.