Adopting a rabbit? Here’s what you need to know

Photo of Pirate and Pepsi, two domestic rabbits, provided by Rabbitats.org.
Photo of Pirate and Pepsi, two domestic rabbits. Photo credit: Rabbitats

According to the BC SCPA, rabbits are the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. Have you ever thought about adopting a rabbit or two? 

Before you hop into adopting a rabbit, below are some considerations you should know.

What’s up doc?

Photo credit: Rabbitats

Just like dogs and cats, rabbits require regular medical care including vaccines. To prevent overpopulation (and there are already a lot of rabbits!) your bunny should be spayed or neutered too. Before you adopt, ensure there is a small animal veterinarian near you (not all veterinarians see rabbits).

Chow time!

Photo credit: Rabbitats

Rabbits enjoy a variety of hay types including timothy, oat and orchard grass, it helps their digestion. Bunnies also enjoy dry pellets and a variety of fresh vegetables daily including leafy greens like kale, parsley and romaine lettuce.

Rabbits need a large habitat

Pet store cages are often too small and restrictive – they simply aren’t big enough to hold your rabbit(s) and all their stuff!
 
A large enclosure can be made from inexpensive material including wire storage cubes or a dog exercise pen. This design can better accommodate all the items your bunnies need to be active and healthy including water bottles, dishes, bedding, hidey huts, litter box, blankets (they like soft bedding), hay bags, tunnels and toys!

 

“Boredom busters” including toilet paper rolls filled with hay, paper bags, and hard wooden toys are ideal (and a great way to keep their ever-growing teeth trim!).

Rabbit enclosure. Photo credit: Rabbitats

Rabbits also need time outside of their pen to exercise and run – a large safe rabbit-proof room is ideal (remove and/or cover all electrical wiring). If the weather is nice, you can even bring your bunny outside for some supervised playtime in an enclosed safe space. Get creative and think big!

Some-bunny to love

Photo Credit: BC SPCA

Rabbits are social, curious and affectionate but they often don’t like to be picked up, cuddled or handled. They are a prey species, so being handled can make them anxious. Busy households, small children and loud noises can startle rabbits and stress them out. Bunnies prefer a calm environment where they have lots of enrichment and places to hide.

Adopt, don’t shop!

Photo credit: Rabbitats

While buying animals from pet store may seem innocent, sadly, those animals often come from breeding mills. Many of these mills force animals to live in horrible conditions.

Additionally, everyday rabbits are surrendered to shelters and rescues. Please support your local SPCA or rabbit rescue. If you are not in a position to adopt, many rescues and shelters need volunteers! Check them out!

Links and additional resources

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