Soft and Furry Little Rabbits
Soft and Furry Little Rabbitsby Holly N Richards
No matter what your creed, when it comes to Easter, there is one somewhat holy being which unites us all…the Easter bunny. Not only do bunnies bring a few extra kilos and a seat in the dentist’s chair, they can provide the perfect pet.
For as far back as my memory reaches I have yearned for a dog. When I grew out of forcing my younger brother onto all fours and leading him around our yard using mum’s scarves, my parents made the cliché move in trying to quash this seemingly juvenile desire, and purchased three goldfish.
My five year old self felt sorry for my poor fish, swimming around in circles in the same water day after day. To break up their monotonous existence, I would race up to their tank just after lights out, take them gently into my hands, race back into my room, open my sock drawer and let them go, watching them bounce around amongst my smalls, flapping and twisting, gasping with joy until they grew ‘tired’ and were thus returned to their tank. This continued for some weeks until one fateful night the fish did not recover from their adventures.
Still persisted my canine plight until age 10 when my dream was shattered for good with news at the time so devastating I can’t help but still hold a slight grudge. Keaton, my brother, is severely allergic to dogs.
I waited 11 more years for a pet and on my 21st birthday (ironically I was born on Easter Sunday), my little sister bought me a rabbit. Being the child of parents who grew up on farms, where rabbits are shot at instead of petted, it may seem a strange choice of pet but Luna Lovegood (named after the Harry Potter character) is a delight and adored by my entire family.
The amount of feral and abandoned pet rabbits in the Cottesloe sand hills is enough to put anyone off but if you look after your rabbit properly, they can make the perfect pet for both big and little kids.
If like me, you have family members who are allergic to the fur of pets and you can’t keep your rabbit inside, there are some important things to consider.
- Rabbits need space to run and stretch their legs as well as have shelter from the elements, just like their burrows in the wild.
- You will need to invest in a hutch (where the rabbit sleeps at night and contains food bowl, litter tray and water bottle) as well as a large pen or rabbit run for them to get essential exercise.
- Make sure there is somewhere for your rabbit to get away from the weather (rabbits do get sunburnt!) and possible predators – the more hidey holes and shrubbery the better.
- Rabbits are most active at twilight and dusk so it is important that your rabbit is out in the pen in the early morning and evening or you may have significantly more cleaning to do in his/her hutch.
Rabbits are a lot more work than people expect and have a very specific diet. Despite popular belief rabbits do not eat iceberg lettuce. They can have small amounts of cos lettuce but my Luna much prefers apple. Your rabbit’s hutch needs tending daily, replenishing food and water, cleaning out their litter box and replacing straw or whatever else is lining the hutch.
Building a relationship with a rabbit is surprisingly involved but well worth it. Rabbits, being prey animals, tend to be exploratory in new spaces so they will be interested in you and want to size you up but keep in mind they do not like to be handled.
Begin by stroking your rabbit on its head, ears and back before picking it up. The more you handle a new rabbit, the friendlier it will become. Make sure you are always gentle and your movements are slow.
Once you have become acquainted your rabbit will have no qualms is telling you how it feels. When Luna is put back into her hutch she lets you know she doesn’t want to be there by thumping her feet a few times in annoyance. On the other hand she loves to show her affection after a pat by licking, or ‘grooming’ you.
Rabbits live between five and fifteen years which gives you plenty of time to build a loving relationship with your pet.
Visit The Rabbit Shop, www.rabbitshopwa.com, or your local pet store and pick up a furry friend for the family.
Flourishnote: Our family bunnysat a rabbit for a month one summer holiday. It was very fluffy and cute, but we were amazed at its incredible output of bunny poo! Ed.
Do you have a pet rabbit? What are your experiences, and do you have any bunny-caring advice? (PS: We won't link across here to any rabbit stew recipes :)!)
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