Now buying a rabbit is simple, and they are the third most popular pet in the U.K. and U.S. They are cute and look cuddly, and parents often get a pet rabbit for their children.
But if you are considering buying a pet rabbit for your child, please read this first!
Buying a Rabbit, Things to Consider
Becoming a pet can have its advantages for a rabbit but does not change its basic needs or instincts. And the most significant disadvantage for your pet rabbit could be you!
Rabbits suffer more cruelty through common myths and their owner’s ignorance than any other pet. And there are more myths about feeding a rabbit than there are facts, and the rabbits are no help.
They will eat almost anything we give them, even if it will cause suffering and or death. But this topic is too big to cover here except to say; that all a rabbit needs are as much hay/grass as it can eat, clean water to drink and a few nuggets.
Rabbits drink plenty of water, so please be kind and use a bowl rather than a bottle. Ignore the myths, keep the diet simple, and you are halfway there.
Rabbits may not Like You Picking Them up
Like a dog, rabbits love to be part of a family, loved and are full of fun. But that is where the similarity ends. The dog is a predatory animal, while the rabbit has the instincts of its prey.
The dog’s eyes are in the front of its head, looking to focus on its prey like yours. And, you’re buying a rabbit with eyes on the side of its head, providing overall vision for better protection; from predators like you!
A rabbit’s feet will only leave the ground in the wild when it is about to become a predator’s meal. So, it will struggle, bite, and/or die of shock from the attack.
Now, at four months old, both my pet rabbits would let me pick them up. And sit happily in my arms for a fuss. But as they matured and their instincts kicked in, they became less inclined to do so.
When necessary, I can still pick them up, but they are not happy and struggle after a few minutes. So, you may be able to hold a young one before getting a rabbit, but when it matures?
Rabbits are Easy to Injure
So, rabbits appear to be robust little creatures, but nothing is further from the truth; they hide the pain by instinct. Why? Because in the wild, showing an injury would make them more vulnerable to attack.
Now, before buying a rabbit, consider this fact. Rabbits are fragile and often suffer broken bones, dislocated joints, and spinal injuries caused by mishandling.
So, if you drop them or they jump from somebody’s arms, receive a hit or kick, or hold them incorrectly. Your pet rabbit will be in pain, even if it does not show it.
Kicks can happen all too easily. Rabbits will run from behind you and between your feet mid-stride, tripping you up and receiving a blow.
Your pet is trying to get away while you are lifting it correctly. And you end up with both hands around its belly. Instead of one hand behind the front legs, the other under the bum, causing a spinal injury.
But all these and more can and will happen when an unsupervised child is playing with their pet.
Spotting an injury is not always easy, but if your rabbit is limping, not eating, or lethargic and hiding away. Please take it to a vet straight away!
Buying a Rabbit is Cheap but Their Needs?
If buying a rabbit is not going to break your bank, what about suitable accommodation. Notice the absence of the word cheap?
A bunny’s needs are far higher than the cheap cage with an internal or add on rabbit run. Suppose you intend to keep your pet confined in the garden.
The rabbit house needs to be a minimum: –
With an attached run: –
So, the total minimum space required is 6 square meters (7.18 Square Yards).
Furthermore, you will need to ensure your rabbit cannot dig its way out. And the run is predator-proof. Living in a city is no excuse; urban foxes, your neighbour’s cats, and birds of prey are all found in cities.
A Happy Bunny?
This basic pen should be ready before getting a rabbit and is still not big enough. Rabbits love to run, jump and sit on things higher than the ground; these are just some things that make them happy; there are more!
They have no way to live life to the full in a minimum sized pen. So, if you want your pets to be happy, give them lots of space.
Thinking of letting your new bunny have the freedom of your garden and shut in its pen at night. Obviously, this is better from your rabbit’s point of view. But the garden will need rabbit proofing before a rabbit arrives, and your pet will be in danger from predators.
So, it will require close management to keep it safe and never be left in the garden alone. I tried this with my rabbit Babe because I have the time to manage her all day with no problem.
But she resisted being in at night, which became a big problem. You can read about it and my solution here. Subsequently, I consulted the font of all knowledge, Google. And learnt more about the needs of my pet rabbit.
And it is cruel to confine a rabbit to less than six square meters! Now I could go on, but I think you will have got the point of this topic. That a rabbit, and its needs, come with solvable problems, but at a cost.
Rabbits are Best Living in Pairs
Getting a rabbit may give you problems but buying two will not worsen them. If you have prepared for one, you are ready for two. And, adding a second bunny to your family has its advantages, for them and ultimately for you.
For the rabbit, it all comes down to mental health! They live in social groups in the wild, never alone or confined. And becoming a pet has not altered these basic needs. How would you feel having to live in permanent solitary confinement?
We all know the answer to that one! So, why should your rabbit be any different? It needs the company of its kind. Another for grooming, sharing body heat on a cold night and playing.
So, how do you benefit? Your rabbits are less likely to become challenging to manage. Be less demanding in time spent keeping them entertained, and they, in return, will entertain you with their antics.
I have never regretted buying a rabbit, getting her a mate, and watching their relationship develop. It has been worth the cost in time and money to reap the pleasure they give.
Same-sex rabbits can make a pair, but a neutered male and a neutered female are the most successful pairings.
Still Buying a Rabbit
In writing this post, my intention is not to put you off buying a rabbit but to make you think about what you are taking on. Too often, rabbits end up in unprepared homes because parents believe a rabbit is a child’s pet, as did I!
Yes, I am guilty of getting a rabbit, thinking it is a child’s pet, so it would be easy and cheap to keep. I know better now! If you want to know more, you are welcome to go to the post.
Now, if you still want to buy a rabbit for your child, you will need to take care of it! While teaching your offspring how to manage and care for it properly.
If not, a single rabbit will suffer, both mentally and physically. Becoming a challenge to handle, and the child losing interest, giving you a problem.
After all, it is you buying a rabbit, so now its welfare is your responsibility.
Finally, If I had all the information above, would I have bought my first rabbit, Babe? In a word, yes!
Despite all the work, my only regret is it took me fifty-seven years to discover the true nature of rabbits. Care for and treat them well, and they are affectionate, fun-loving friends who enjoy human company.
They have changed my life for the better. So, regardless of the cost and the work, I would happily do it all again without a second thought.