buying a rabbit for children
Table of Contents
Buying a rabbit
Now buying a rabbit is simple, and they are said to be the third most popular pet in the U.K. They are cute and look cuddly, and parents often buy them for their children. If you are considering doing this: Stop right, there! The facts are:
Rabbits do not like being picked up
Like a dog, rabbits love to be part of a family, loved, and played with, but that is where the similarity ends. The dog is a predatory animal, whereas the rabbit has the instincts of its prey.
The dog’s eyes are in the front of its head looking ahead to focus on its prey, the same as yours. So, you are buying a rabbit with eyes in the side of its head and all-round vision for better protection; from predators like you!
In the wild, a rabbit’s feet will only leave the ground when it is about to become a predator’s meal. So, it will struggle, bite, and, or die of shock from the attack.
Now, both my pet rabbit’s, at four months old, would let me pick them up and sit happily in my arm for a fuss. But as they matured and their instincts kicked in, they became less inclined to do so.
I can and do still pick them up when necessary, but, after a few seconds, they start to struggle. So, you may be able to hold a young one before buying a rabbit, but when it matures?
Rabbits are easily injured
Rabbits appear to be robust little creatures, but nothing is further from the truth, they by instinct hide the pain. Why? Because in the wild showing an injury would make them more vulnerable to attack.
Before buying a rabbit, consider this fact. Rabbits are fragile and often suffer broken bones, dislocated joints, and spinal injuries caused by mishandling.
Being dropped or jumping from someone’s arms, being hit or kicked, and not being picked up correctly. Will leave your pet 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 getting kicked in the process.
Your pet trying to get away while being picked up correctly and ending up both hands around its belly. Not one of your hands 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 left alone playing with its pet.
Spotting an injury is not always easy, but if it is limping, not eating, or lethargic and hiding away. Or showing obvious signs it is in pain, take it to the vet, straight away!
Rabbits are not cheap or easy to care for
If buying a rabbit is not going to break your bank, what about suitable accommodation. Notice the absence of the word cheap?
A bunny 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 hutch that you should never shut your pet in will need to be a minimum 2m long 1m wide and 0.6m high. With an attached run of 2m long 1m wide and 0.6m high with protection from the sun and rain. Total minimum space required 6 square metres
There is more; you will need to make sure 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 in the city’s.
a happy bunny?
This fundamental pen should be ready before buying a rabbit and is still not big enough. Rabbit’s love to run, jump and sit on things higher than the ground; these are some of the 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 the hutch at night. Well, from your rabbit’s point of view that is better than a pen.
But the garden will need rabbit proofing, and your pet will be in danger from predators. So, will require close management by you to keep it safe, and never left in the garden alone.
I tried this with my rabbit Babe, I am retired and have the time to manage her all-day with no problem. But she resisted being shut in at night, and that became a big problem. You can read about it and my solution here.
That prompted me to find out more about the needs of my pet rabbit. That is when I found out you should never shut a rabbit in a hutch.
Now it is my turn to stop right there! 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 in pairs
Buying one rabbit may give you problems, but buying two will not make them any worse. If you have prepared for one, you are ready for two.
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; wild they live in social groups, never alone or confined. Being a pet does not change 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 play.
So, how do you benefit? Your rabbits are less likely to get bad-tempered and difficult to handle. Be less demanding in time spent stopping them from getting bored and 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 neutered female are by far the best pairing.
Still buying a rabbit for your child
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 handle 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, the rabbit’s welfare is your responsibility.