Are You Ready For Rabbits?
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU ADOPT
1. Which adults in the family will be the primary caretakers?
2. Are you prepared to commit to this rabbit for his/her entire life (10+ years)?
3. Does everyone in your family want a rabbit?
4. Rabbits are considered exotic animals and their veterinary care is expensive; bills can easily reach many hundreds of dollars. Are you prepared to provide this level of care, should it be necessary for your rabbit companion?
5. Is anyone in your home allergic to rabbits or hay?
6. Do you have sufficient housing and supplies?
7. Are your home and yard “bunny-proofed"?
8. Do you have animals that could endanger your rabbit? (Rabbits can die even when only frightened by a predator.)
9. Have you had a rabbit before? If so, where is it now?
10. Will you be able to supervise any children around this rabbit?
11. Are you allowed to have rabbits in your home/apartment?
12. If you move, get married, have a baby, or if the kids lose interest, are you prepared to keep your rabbit for his/her entire life?
ARE YOU RIGHT FOR A RABBIT?
Are you patient?
Have a sense of humor?
Do you enjoy watching the movements and learning the language of another species?
Does your schedule include plenty of time at home?
Are you comfortable spending a lot of time on the floor?
Are you overly fussy with your furniture?
CHOOSING A RABBIT
Rabbits have different personalities so it is difficult to make generalizations about breeds. In general though, a medium to large breed adult rabbit is usually better for a child. They will command the most respect from a child and are easier to pet because they have larger heads. Dwarf breeds tend to be more excitable, energetic, and aggressive. Baby rabbits are very active, often nippy, and chew everything in sight. Adult rabbits are more easily litter-and house-trained, especially after spaying or neutering. You will also have a better idea of a rabbit’s personality if you choose an adult who is spayed or neutered. Adopt a rabbit from a rescue group or local shelter. There are many advantages and you will be helping to combat rabbit overpopulation by adopting a rabbit that is already spayed or neutered. Animal shelters euthanize hundreds of unwanted rabbits each year, many less than a year old. Many more die agonizing deaths from neglect and abandonment without ever reaching a shelter. You will be giving one of the many unwanted rabbits a second chance for a loving home while discouraging those who breed rabbits for profit.
Teaching Responsibility: Something to Think About
Many parents say they want to get a rabbit for their child to teach the child some responsibility. What usually happens is that the child loses interest (not to mention being incapable of sticking to a routine and providing proper care), and the rabbit suffers. The child, at best, learns to feel bad that she has failed and caused suffering. At worst, she learns to resent the animal for the nagging that she is hearing from the adult. Often, the rabbit is given away because "you didn't take care of it". The child learns that life is disposable and that if she waits long enough, someone else will relieve her of her “responsibility”. So, let your child help with the rabbit, but don't insist. If the child appears interested, encourage her; if she becomes bored, let her move on to the next thing, and you carry on with the rabbit. She learns most of all from watching you: your actions, your tone of voice when you speak to the rabbit, and your attitude. From this she learns the nurturing (responsible) point of view- the patient waiting, the faithful caring, the joyful appreciation and acceptance of a living creature for who it is, not who you wish it to be.