Bunnies are unquestionably cute and sweet, but before you add one to your family, make sure everyone is prepared for the responsibility. Rabbits require just as much attention, care and financial outlay as a dog or cat. And, they can provide just as much love and personality. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about getting a pet rabbit.
They live a long time
Like dogs and cats, rabbits live 10+ years. That’s perfect if you’re looking for a long-term furry companion but not so perfect if you think your kids will get bored or lazy after a couple years.
Bunnies cost around $60 to adopt from a shelter. The Humane Society strongly recommends adopting your bunny instead of buying it from a pet store because rabbits are the third most surrendered animal at shelters behind cats and dogs, so there are often many available. Plus, if you get a bunny from a pet store, it likely comes from a bunny mill.
You should also consider the upfront costs of purchasing everything your rabbit needs—a hutch, litter box, toys and food—which will total about $300 according to My House Rabbit‘s estimates. After that, you’ll be spending about $85 per month for everything your bunny needs.
Indoor space is essential
Your pet bunny will need space to exercise and play. First, you must keep them in a large hutch at least 30 inches long x 18 inches high x 24 inches deep, according to the Animal Humane Society. They also advise that, “bigger is better.” Second, you’ll need to give your rabbit time and space during the day to jump around. This could be a large room in your house or, once they’re entirely litter trained, maybe you’ll be comfortable letting them roam around your entire home! Of course, you’ll have to do some bunny-proofing—here’s how. Third, you should never keep pet rabbits outdoors because it makes them vulnerable to isolation and predators.
They’re a big kid pet
Rabbits are prey animals which means they’re timid and always in protection mode. Loud, sudden noises or attempts to suddenly pick up a rabbit will only scare it and potentially hurt it as it will kick away to get free. A bunny is delicate and needs to be treated as such, so small children are not the best owners, despite what some children’s books will have you believe! The daily cleaning of the hutch and litter box, however, are suitable chores for older kids.
Bunnies have delicate digestion
Unlike most dog’s that eat pretty much the same thing every day, bunnies need a variety of foods every day that are very high in fiber. House Rabbit Society recommends a diet consisting of: 80% grass hay, 10% veggies, 5% healthy pellets, and 0 to 5% healthy treats such as carrots or pineapple.
Aggression is usually preventable and fixable
Rabbits are docile by nature and shouldn’t pose any aggressive threat, which is usually what makes them such good pets. However, some conditions can make them kick or bite, which can be surprising and scary. Here’s what you’ll need to do to: Get your bunny neutered or spayed before four months of age because it can “dramatically reduce aggressive behavior,” according to House Rabbit Society . For any aggressive behavior, check with your vet or online resource like House Rabbit Society to learn how to change your own behavior to help your pet.
Social interaction is a must
Rabbits have incredibly unique personalities that they’ll want to show you, but you have to make time to get to know them. Be sure that you have at least 2 to 4 hours a day to let your bunny roam free and spend time with you. Since they’re social, they also sometimes do best with a bunny buddy. And, don’t forget bunny toys like this one from Amazon.
The bottom line: Bunnies can be very good pets but, as with most pets, you need to be prepared for the work they require. If it sounds like a bunny is the right option for you, then start your adoption search!
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