Rabbits are marvelous creatures, whether you own one or just admire the ones hopping around in your backyard. For the right family, a rabbit can be the perfect pet, but there are some very important facts that all rabbit owners or potential rabbit owners need to know.
1. Rabbit are a long-term commitment. A captive rabbit’s lifespan, depending on breed, can range from 7-10 years. Some live even longer. Spaying or neutering them has been shown to increase a rabbit’s life span amongst other benefits.
2. Diet is incredibly important. Rabbits are hind gut fermenters which means they need constant access to high fiber foods, such as hay, to keep their gut constantly moving. An imbalanced diet, or a lack of food intake will slow down the GI system and make a rabbit very sick, very quickly.
3. Rabbits have hypsodont teeth, meaning their cheek teeth and incisors are continuously growing. They require plenty of “chewing” materials to keep their teeth filed and free of sharp points.
4. A rabbit’s ears serve 2 functions. They are used for hearing from all directions which is vital for survival in a wild rabbit. They are also used for heat exchange to help a rabbit cool off or warm up.
5. A bunny’s rear legs are so strong they can actually kick hard enough to break their own backs. It is essential that they be handled properly at all times to avoid this.
6. Rabbits need veterinary care! They may not need vaccines like cats and dogs, but it is incredibly important to catch disease processes or issues with their careas early as possible to ensure the best outcome and keep your beloved pet healthy and happy!
As a side note, for wild bunnies, a lot of people believe they are doing baby bunnies a favor by “rescuing” them. The truth is, mother rabbits leave their nests for large amounts of time. Usually only returning at dusk and dawn to feed the kits. If you find them, please leave them alone! Orphan bunnies are extremely difficult to care for, even for someone who knows what they are doing.