• Rabbits


    Everything you need to know to raise Rabbits

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Raising Rabbits
"What's up, Doc?" is probably the most memorable catchphrase to ever come out of the buck-toothed mouth of a carrot-chomping cartoon character. You know who I'm talking about - it's Bugs Bunny of course, that lovable (and wily!) 'wabbit', Elmer Fudd's eternal enemy.

Truth is, in real life, wabbits… erm, sorry, rabbits hop on all fours and don't have friends called Daffy or Sylvester. They do, however, make great pets, and are as cute as cute can be. (Look in the dictionary under 'cute' and you'll probably find a rabbit's picture beside it!).

If you have a lawn or garden, you can be sure Bugs will have a real good time playing hide and seek amidst the pots and plants. Best of all, rabbits are really docile and will readily eat lettuce leaves or veggies out of your hand as you watch their mouths quiver with every nibble. Only trouble is, if you keep a male and a female, you'll soon have an army of little rabbits that'll mow your lawn to the roots before you can say Jumpin' Jack Flash!

These adorable animals live about 5-10 years, and some even get to be the ripe old age of 15, but they never ever have to use dentures or false teeth. A litter of rabbits may have as many as ten pups, sometimes more. Impressive, huh? Wait till you see how they can be potty-trained!

A name for your rabbit

I've never thought Roger was a good name for a rabbit, and although I loved the movie, I think we could all have thought of a better name for that cute animated character. Here are a few names I've come up with, and if you like, you could use one for your new pet!

Here are some names for boy rabbits:

  • Bugsy
  • Nibbles
  • Buck-tooth Bobby
  • Earnest (Ear-nest!)
  • Skip
  • Pawl (Paul)
  • Leapin' Lester

Some interesting names for girl rabbits:

  • Connie Cottonball
  • Scarlett O'Hare
  • Carrie, the Carrot-lover
  • Wide-eyed Wanda
  • Bianca (means white in Italian, perfect for a white rabbit)
  • Snow White (again, for a white rabbit)
© 2004 - 2020 Leonard Rego

Before you buy

Whether to get a pet rabbit or not is an important decision, and you should make yours after checking on a few things:
  1. Will you stick by the rabbit in both sickness and health?
  2. Are you willing to look for a good vet and vaccinate your rabbit once a year?
  3. Do you have enough space for him or her to hop about freely?
Do you promise never to mention the words 'rabbit' and 'stew' in the same sentence ever, in front of him or her? If the answer to all of the above is yes, then you should get a rabbit, plain and simple.

Start off by buying a rabbit cage or hutch a day or two before the little fur-balls hop in to say hello, and prepare it with the necessary floor covering, nesting material, water bottle and food dish. If you live in the Gulf, you'll want to keep these pets inside, away from the scorching heat, and also away from wires and cold or hot draughts. Wood shavings on the floor of the cage are a great idea (don't go crazy with those pencils, 'cause they need Aspen wood!), and place plenty of hay in the cage.

A book on caring for rabbits will tell you the what, when, where, how and why of keeping these bundles of fun happy and healthy at all times - just make sure you don't hop from chapter to chapter without understanding each topic properly.

Choosing your pet

Male rabbits are called bucks and the females are called does (yes, just like deer). They shouldn't be kept in the same cages at the pet store, or the one you choose could be pregnant, and you'd best avoid taking her home.

If any rabbit in the cage you're selecting from is ill, chances are it has spread the illness to the others as well, so look for one at another pet shop. The cages should be clean, and the rabbits should be able to reach the food and water without too much trouble. Watch out for the 'runny' factor - that is runny droppings, runny eyes and a runny nose. Your rabbit should be bright-eyed and alert when awake, and his fur shouldn't be matted or dirty.

A well informed pet store attendant will not show you a rabbit that is less than 6-8 weeks old.

Care and feeding

Your rabbit's cage or hutch should be four times the length of the rabbit stretched out when it is full grown and high enough to allow the rabbit to stand on its hind legs without its ears touching the roof. Rabbits are playful and enjoying running and jumping and will therefore also need a safe exercise area with plenty of room that allows them to do this daily.

Thirsty little creatures, rabbits need constant access to water, and you can make sure they get all they need by providing a water bottle attached to the side of the cage or hutch. Also, a heavy food dish made or porcelain or steel is less likely to be tipped over than a plastic one.

Feed your pet with vegetables and fruits, but be careful not to give it potatoes, potato tops, apple seeds, rhubarb leaves and tomato leaves. Hay, grass and pellets that you can buy from the pet store are also tasty treats from time-to-time. Don't be alarmed or go 'ewwww' when they eat their droppings - that's perfectly normal.

Here's a secret - rabbits would much rather sit beside you than have you lift them up and fondle them. They rarely bite, and if you must pick them up, place one hand under the chest, the other arm over the body of the rabbit and under its bottom supporting its hind legs, and then lift it up.

Visit the vet with your rabbit at least once a year, and if you suspect that he or she is ill (the rabbit, not the vet!), don't perform your Dr. Dolittle routine. A real vet is your best bet.

Rabbit Trivia

  • The Pika, a close relative of the rabbit, is also called the rock rabbit. In fact, it looks less like a rabbit and more like a mouse!
  • A baby rabbit is called a pup, kitten, kit, or bunny!
  • A group of rabbits is called a bury, colony, down, drove, husk, leash, trace, trip, warren or wrack!
  • Rabbits are born hairless, blind and helpless.