Rabbit Information Directory - Part 1
The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is the only species of rabbit to be domesticated. All pet breeds of rabbits,
such as dwarf lops, are of this species. However, rabbits and humans interact in many different ways beyond domestication.
Rabbits are an example of an animal which is treated as food, pet, and pest by members of the same culture.
So You Want A Rabbit?
Are you thinking
about getting a rabbit as an animal companion? More and more people are
selecting rabbits as an alternative to dogs and cats. While rabbits
require daily care, they do not bark or need to be walked frequently
like a dog, and they are more social than a cat. They are prey animals
and should be kept in the house where they will be protected from
predators. Rabbits are self-cleaning like cats, are easily litter box
trained, and respond well to a loving home environment. They fit into
most lifestyles because rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are most
active in the morning and evening. Rabbits are not usually recommended
for children under 8 years of age because of the child's loud voice and
activity level which can cause stress to the rabbit. In addition,
rabbits are not fond of being picked up or held because they are prey
animals and believe a predator is grabbing them. In time, and with trust
and patience, a rabbit may tolerate being held. As you can tell, rabbits
are not for everybody and it is a good idea to learn about them and
their care before getting one. The following information will help you
decide if a rabbit is the correct animal companion for you.
Daily Rabbit Care:
rabbit's diet should be made up of good quality pellets, fresh hay
(grass or timothy), water and fresh vegetables.
Pellets should be
fresh and high in
fiber (at least 18%). Do not use pellets
sold in plastic bags or cardboard boxes that pet shops and grocery
stores sell since these may have been sitting in warehouses for a long
time. Fresh pellets can be purchased at feed stores and some pet supply
stores in bulk. Even fresh pellets can go stale after 2 months, so just
buy 2 months worth at a time. Pellets should be limited in amount, as
the rabbit grows older. To replace the
nutritional value without the calories,
increase the vegetable serving.
Vegetables should be
fresh and crisp. Look for a selection of different varieties of dark,
green leafy veggies and root veggies such as carrots, and green leaf
lettuce. Stay away from beans and rhubarb. For a complete list of
veggies please click on "Diet".
Hay (not cubes) is
essential to a rabbit's
good health and should be available 24
hours a day. It provides roughage that reduces the risk of G.I. stasis
(see Grooming below). A rabbit younger than 6 months should have alfalfa
hay, but an older rabbit should have grass hay or timothy hay because it
has fewer calories and
calcium content than alfalfa hay.
Water should be fresh
and changed twice a day. Rabbits prefer a water bowl to a water bottle.
If you decide to use a bottle instead of a bowl, check the sipping tube
by bumping your finger against it to see if the water will come out. If
water is not available, the rabbit will stop eating so it’s imperative
you pay strict attention to it. The water container should be washed
Treats such as bananas
or apples should be given in small amounts and only on occasion. Bunnies
have a sweet tooth and will consume sugary foods to the exclusion of
healthy ones. Avoid giving a rabbit
chocolate, cookies, crackers, cereal,
bread or other "human treats". These items may contribute to fatal cases
of enterotoxaemia, an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in the gut.
Page Two >
|More Rabbit Information|
Research into the many beautiful breeds of rabbit available for your enjoyment.
Arranged by state, locate a qualified breeder in your area.
Bloating in Rabbits
Read a great in-depth article by Linda Seeman, MSN, on GI Stasis and it’s effect on your rabbit.