When you first acquire a bunny, they appear petite and don't seem like they will make much of a fuss. Fast forward a few short months and these rabbits can increase in size rapidly. Some can become 9kg! That's a whopper! You would need to enlarge their hutch quick smart to accommodate them properly. Thus it would be preferable if you have a decent sized backyard or substantial open space to fit a potentially large pet rabbit.
Rabbits are reknowned for chewing, whether it be due to their animal instincts or to to relieve themselves from boredom. Rabbits can chew all sorts of objects such as wires, carpenting, wood surfaces (yep, your favourite dining table isn't even safe!). It is recommended to keep an eye on your rabbit at all times if you let them out of their pen. At a blink of an eye you may find your darling piece of furniture covered in chew marks.
If you decide to add more than one rabbit to your household, and you prefer to have a male and female just ensure to keep them in separate pens! Knoew the phrase 'breed like rabbits?'... yep... that could end up happening to you if you are not careful!
Rabbits need to be groomed on a daily basis. Their water and food tray should be cleaned and replenished daily. Their diet should consist of grass hay, rabbit pellets and plenty of vegetables.
Rabbits need regular exercise (within a protected area is preferred) to stay fit and healthy.
Although rabbits may appear cuddly and you just want to squeeze them tight, rabbits are not generally 'huggable' animals. For families with children, it is best to explain to your kids to be careful when handling a rabbit and to not just 'drop him/her' at a whim. Dogs and cats are able to spring back from a tumble, but rabbits are way more fragile and can injure themselves terribly if dropped onto a hard surface.
Another factor to think about is that if you adopt a rabbit from a breeder or store where he/she hasn't had much experience with human interaction, they may be quite scared of you initially. Picking them up straight away and 'rough handling' them may cause them to bite or scratch. Not especially nice to contend with kids having scratched up body parts during Easter!
Although don't be fooled into thinking that rabbits are not social beings just because they don't like to be cuddled. They actually like being around human company and get along well with other pets in the household!
Rabbits are prone to sickness and diseases just like other general household pets. They are susceptible to furballs and fleas. We recommend that you have your rabbit checked up regularly at your local veterinarian.
You should also take into consideration that rabbits can generally live between 9 to 12 years. Think whether you can stay dedicated to caring for your pet rabbit for all those years.
Parents - if you are hesitant about obtaining a pet rabbit for your kids it may be beneficial to simply purchase a stuffed toy rabbit instead. That way if it doesn't work out you won't feel the added guilt of sending the rabbit to an animal rescue centre.
Have more questions about adopting or owning a rabbit? Definitely contact or visit one of our friendly veterinarians here at Concord Veterinary Hospital for further advice!