Are you thinking about adopting your first bunny? Take this quiz to find out if a rabbit is the right pet for you.
Once you’ve decided that a rabbit is the right companion for you, the next step is to find the one that fits your family best. Feel free to research different breeds, but please remain open-minded: rabbits have very distinct personalities, and you will be happier with your choice if you choose a companion by who he is rather than what he looks like. Think about what you would like from your bunny: do you want a quiet friend who will hang out with you while you read; or perhaps a trouble maker who will make you laugh with all of his antics? Your first instinct may be to get a baby bunny, but are your ready to clean up after a baby who isn’t yet litter box trained and is peeing and pooping everywhere? Are you prepared to work with your rescue group to get him neutered when he’s old enough? And he may let you hold him all the time right now, but once he becomes a teenager, he may change his mind about that! That tiny, little baby bunny with the floppy ears may be super-cute, but if you two don’t bond, you won’t be happy with your pet.
Therefore, when you go to meet the rabbits available for adoption at your local animal shelter or rescue, plan on spending several hours. Bring a book, and sit on the floor with a few different bunnies. Read and ignore them for a while, and you’ll find that they’ll come investigate you and that your interactions with each will be very different. You’ll probably “click” with one or two for no apparent reason, but that’s the animal you want to adopt! It really doesn’t matter what he looks like.
That being said, if you have small children in your home, consider getting a larger bunny. Our general rule is, “The smaller the person, the larger the rabbit!” Since rabbits’ spines are so fragile, they can easily be hurt if a child innocently mishandles them, and not only will a larger rabbit be less fragile, but your child will be less likely to pick him up. (That’s a good thing.) One of our favorite breeds for families with kids is the New Zealand. These bunnies are very calm and friendly, in general, and are less likely to be scared by little kids. Some people are put off by their pink eyes, but remember that in a couple of weeks, you won’t notice those eyes at all; you’ll just see your rabbit’s wonderful personality.
Another consideration is the length of the bunny’s fur. Angoras and lionheads are beautiful and soft, but they need combing EVERY DAY. If you don’t have the time and interest to groom your angora on a daily basis, please choose a different breed. Matts build up in their fur, and very quickly become painful (and difficult to comb out).
A final thought is that if you’ve never had a rabbit before, you might consider adopting a senior rabbit. Since they can live 10-14 years, an older bunny will be with you for a shorter period of time and would give you the opportunity to see what it’s like living with a rabbit without the decade-long commitment.
- Preparing your house for your new rabbit. Now, you need to prepare your house. Too often, people adopt a bunny on the spur of the moment, without knowing what they’re getting into. Soon, they’re upset with the rabbit for nibbling on everything in sight, and the bunny ends up at the animal shelter. This whole situation could be avoided if you simply prepare yourself and your house before-hand.
- Learn how to feed your bunny. There are lots of misconceptions and bad products out there. If you love your bunny, feed him right.
- Learn how to hold your bunny. He’s fragile, and you could accidentally break his back if you handle him inappropriately.
- Then, there’s litterbox training…
- Do you know how to clean up after your rabbit? Find out here.
- Learn how to groom your bunny.
- Finding a Vet is your next job. Best to do it now, while your rabbit is healthy!