Domesticated rabbits are one of the most popular pets, apart from dogs and cats. They look attractive, lovely, gentle, friendly and cute. They are easy to take care and undemanding in terms of care and housing. They will settle well either indoor or outdoor, at home.
There are 40 species of rabbits and hares worldwide. All domesticated rabbits are originated from European rabbits. The scientific name for domestic rabbit is Oryctolagus cuniculus.
Typically, domesticated rabbits weigh between 2.2-221lb (1-10kg). The domesticated rabbits can be fed on commercially produced rabbit food, pellets, hay, green food, root vegetables, tree bark, herbs and apple.
The gestation period of a rabbit is 31 days and the typical litter size ranges from 6-8 young. The lifespan varies with breed.
Keeping a rabbit as pet requires a good training system to prevent unnecessary destructions or hassle. For example, furniture and carpet chewing problems, pseudo pregnancy symptoms, litter problems, fights, behavioral problems, rabbit-house worries, sickness, fleas, predators and etc. Nevertheless, these challenges can be overcome when the owners have the knowledge and experience to deal with them. Thus, one of the recommended ways to acquire the important knowledge is to read widely and exchange practical information with experienced rabbit owners.
A good rabbit cage must be large enough for the average sized-rabbit. A rabbit’s living area must be spacious enough for a litter box, toys, and perhaps a cardboard box, with enough room left over for him to be comfortable. The minimum size recommended is 4 times the rabbit’s stretched out length as to ensure the cage is tall enough for the rabbit to stand up straight.
It is important to watch out for any abnormalities in your rabbits as rabbits are susceptible to various digestive ailments and other life-threatening diseases. For example, rabbits are vulnerable to myxomatosis and VHD viruses. These are the killer viruses!
There is no universal system of classification for rabbit breeds. Some popular breeds of rabbits include:
Domesticated Rabbits As Pet
The most important criterion before deciding to adopt a domesticated rabbit as pet is that you MUST have interest, love and willingness to take great care of your rabbit. This little cute bunny will need care and attention for approximately 10 years. Never adopt a rabbit and leave it uncared for at the corner of your house and the worst case is to abandon it in shelters, parks or even woodland areas. Once the poor rabbit is left wild, it has very little chance to survive. I am a rabbit lover, so I cherish rabbits a lot and treat them with bundles of affection.
What Are The Daily Rabbit Care Rituals?
A rabbit's diet should be balance, made up of good quality pellets, fresh hay, fresh vegetables and water.
Water should be fresh. It is recommended to change it twice a day. If water is not available, the rabbit will stop eating. The water container should be washed daily.
Treats such as bananas or carrots should be given in small amounts and only on occasion. Rabbits have a sweet tooth and will consume sugary foods to the exclusion of healthy ones. Never give a rabbit chocolate, sweets or chocolates. These stuffs may lead to an overgrowth of “bad" bacteria in the gut that leads to fatal cases of enterotoxemia.
Train your rabbits to use litter boxes. Replace litter boxes with fresh litter everyday.
PRECAUTION: Do not use any litter containing pine or cedar shavings as these contain oils, which can cause respiratory and liver disease in rabbits. Litter made of plant material (hay) or paper (cellulose) is the safest litter to use with rabbits.
Droppings should be inspected daily without fail. Normal droppings look like regular round dry marbles, called pills. There may also be some clusters. An abnormality in droppings can be the first sign of illness in rabbits. For example, if you find your rabbit’s droppings that are getting smaller, infrequent or misshapen, it signifies less is coming through. Thus, you ought to check out the reasons. It could be intestinal problems or any other kinds of illnesses.
Grooming & Health Care:
Rabbits enjoy human touch and love. By brushing and combing your rabbits for a few minutes daily will help them to feel your care and presence. Typically, rabbits shed every 3 months. Hence, it is absolutely for you to free your rabbits of this excess fur. It is perfectly common for rabbit to shed. So, spend enough time to help your rabbits to remove loose hair or fur.
Nevertheless, rabbits are self-cleaning and healthy small animals. They can groom themselves too. How do they do that? They can swallow excess fur! Once swallowed, these rabbits cannot vomit a fur ball, as what a cat can do. This excess fur can cause an obstruction. Technically speaking, we say that the rabbit has developed GI Stasis, a common slowing down of the GI tract. The symptoms of GI Stasis are smaller size droppings, lesser droppings frequency, loss of appetite, hunched up situation and teeth grinding due to pain. Bring your rabbit to your vet at once when you see these symptoms.
Exercise And Play Time:
Human must get daily exercise, so must your rabbits! The benefits of exercise for rabbits include smoother flow of blood circulation, stronger muscles and prevention from fragile bones. A rabbit's bone weight is only 7% of his total body weight compared with 15% in a cat.
Rabbits are crepuscular. Crepuscular refers to animals that are most active at dawn and dusk. The perfect time for your rabbit to get exercise is in the morning, when you are getting ready for work and in the evening when you arrive home. By the time you get home, your rabbit will have been napping all day! Bet you will be happy and entertained to watch him running and hopping around and doing bunny dances in mid-air, better known as “binkies".
Similar to kids, rabbits love toys! Rabbits like new toys daily! So, what are the toys that your rabbits love dearly? Some ideas of toys include toilet paper roll, cardboard box with a rabbit side doors, newspapers, towels, untreated wicker baskets and paper bags. Tunnels of any kind are always welcomed too!
This procedure is necessary if you want your rabbit to lead a healthy life, free from cancer. The risk of ovarian cancer in an older female is approximately 85% if she is not spayed during puberty (4-6 months). The reason for a male rabbit to be neutered is mainly behavioral reason. It is crucial as well as to eliminate random spraying, reduce hormone-related aggression and for easier housetrain.
The process of spaying or neutering your rabbit with minimum risk can be performed professionally by your vet. A bonded pair should each be spayed and neutered to avoid pseudo-pregnancies.
Rabbits like to gnaw as it is a expected action for them. Boredom is common reason for their chewing activity and other times, items such as electrical cords get in their way. Thus, they are smart to use their mouth and teeth to shift it. Rabbit is a must! It not only protects your belongings or furniture, it keeps your rabbit safe and sound.
All electrical cords should be concealed in vinyl tubing. Hide the cords before your rabbit move it.
By providing your rabbit with acceptable things like toys and card box boxes to chew will not hurt you rabbit. If you see your rabbit swallowing it whole, remove it.
All the best!
A Rabbit Lover