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13 Things You May Not Know About Rabbits

Written by Melinda McKee | April 10, 2014

1. Rabbits are the third-most abandoned animals in shelters. Three words: adopt, don’t buy!

2. They’re all about territory. If you have a rabbit, you quickly learn that rabbits rule the roost. They need lots of space and will quickly decide where they like to eat, sleep and use the bathroom. I made the mistake of cleaning my rabbit’s area in front of him, and he grunted until I left!

3. Bunnies are nocturnal, right? Nope! Another question that people often ask me is whether rabbits sleep during the day or at night. And the answer is neither. They are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dusk and dawn.

Pepper the rabbit enjoying a chin rub

4. Rabbits need special vets. Veterinarians who are rabbit experts can be more expensive than cat and dog vets as well as harder to find. Make sure that you find a quality vet who specializes in lagomorphs in your area.

5. Rabbits get bored. Just like humans, rabbits need socialization, space to exercise and plenty of toys to keep themselves entertained. I recommend stuffing a paper towel roll or cardboard oatmeal canister with timothy hay so that your bunny can roll, chew and play to his or her heart’s delight.

6. They’re not “starter pets” or Easter gifts. Many people think that rabbits are less of a commitment than dogs or cats. However, every rabbit parent I’ve ever met has told me that rabbits need even more attention and effort than their feline or dog companions. And they can live 10 years or longer, so make sure that you’re ready for the responsibility of a lifetime.

7. Rabbits purr when they’re happy. It’s not the same as a cat’s purr, though. It sounds like teeth chattering or light chomping. Every bunny mom and dad knows that this is the sweetest sound.

8. And they binky when they’re super-happy. What’s a binky, you ask? Only the cutest thing in the world.

9. Their nails and teeth never stop growing. Like humans, rabbits’ nails grow constantly and need a trim about every six weeks. Unlike humans, rabbits’ teeth grow constantly! This makes it imperative that your rabbit gets unlimited timothy hay and wooden toys to chew on. If your rabbit’s teeth stop grinding normally, he or she may find eating painful and starve. Be sure to monitor your rabbit’s eating habits. Even 12 hours without food can be deadly.

10. Outside is a scary place for bunnies. Outdoor rabbits are at risk of being hurt or killed by predators, even in a hutch. But other animals aren’t the only danger. My neighbor lost her rabbit after she let him run around her apartment’s grassy area. What she didn’t know is that pesticides had been sprayed the day before—and they poisoned her poor little guy.

11. They’re prey animals. Rabbits who are sick or in pain will hide it as much as possible. Rabbits who are afraid may run or jump away so quickly that they hurt themselves. That’s why it’s always important to pay close attention to your rabbit’s behavior and try not to startle him or her.

12. Rabbits eat their droppings. It took me years to find out that rabbits need to digest twice. Healthy buns eat soft cecotropes directly from their … you know, so some rabbit guardians never see these. The hard round pellets that you see are the second round of elimination.

13. Every rabbit has a unique personality. People often ask me if rabbits are like cats or dogs. I say neither! Rabbits are unique characters who take a while to get to know. One thing you should ask yourself before bringing a bunny friend into your home is whether your rabbit will get along with your current animal companions. Bonding takes a lot of time and energy. It can be dangerous to put two animals together who don’t know each other yet.

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