We get it. Rabbits are adorable, with their button noses, fluffy fur, and round tails. But before you impulsively drive to the store and get yourself a rabbit or two, there are a few facts that you need to know about this specific pet option!
They shouldn’t skip exercise
Don’t be fooled by rabbits’ seemingly laidback nature when they’re in their cage. While they don’t necessarily need to go out for walks like dogs, it’s still vital to their health to have some form of physical activity in their daily routine. In fact, experts recommend that rabbits get three to four hours of exercise a day!
It’s important to let them out of their cage every day – with supervision, of course – so that they’re free to run around and jump on top of things as they please.
They need to be socialized
Some rabbits may be shy when they’re first brought into their new home. But it’s critical that owners spend time interacting with their rabbits, for a smoother transition. Always handle rabbits safely and gently, making sure to support their hind legs whenever they’re carried. Holding rabbits without proper support on their hind legs can lead to back injuries when they kick too strongly!
They need to chew constantly
Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously. This makes it important to load up their environment with different things to chew on throughout the day like hay, safe rabbit toys, or even wooden blocks and sticks. If owners fail to provide safe objects for their rabbits to chew on, these animals might opt to chew on furniture, moldings, door frames, or even dangerous objects such as wires!
Their diet must be high in fiber
It is essential for rabbits to have a diet that is rich in fiber, to keep their gastrointestinal tract functioning properly. A proper diet for a rabbit includes an unlimited amount of hay, as well as smaller portions of leafy green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, cabbage, or even squash. Contrary to popular belief, carrots are not a rabbit’s “favorite” food and should actually be given only in small amounts!
Though they’re herbivores, it’s not recommended to feed rabbits fruits other than a small slice of high-fiber apple, pear, plum, or peach occasionally.
They require trips to the vet
Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits don’t need annual vaccinations. However, they require annual preventative veterinary care, including checkups and fecal examinations to detect any GI parasites.
It’s also important to note that all female rabbits must be spayed after 6 months of age, as 70-80% of unspayed female rabbits develop fatal uterine cancer beyond 3 years of age.
With a life expectancy of 12 years, longer than that of many other small pets, rabbits can be an amazing and adorable addition to the family! But remember – responsible pet ownership begins even before you bring your new pet home! Before adopting, take time to carefully discern whether you, your schedule, and your resources are fit to accommodate a rabbit.