Rabbits are mammals of the order Lagomorpha. There are about fifty different species of rabbits and hares. The order Lagomorpha is made of rabbits, pikas and hares. Rabbits can be found in many parts of the world. They live in families and eat vegetables and hay. In the wild, rabbits live in burrows, that they dig themselves. A group of rabbits living together in a burrow is called a warren. Rabbits are famous for hopping and eating carrots.
A male rabbit is called a buck, and a female is called a doe. A baby rabbit is called a kit, which is short for kitten. Rabbits have a gestation period of around 31 days. The female can have up to 12-13 kits, very rarely litters as big as 18 and as small as one. Some people have rabbits as pets. Rabbits are also raised for their meat. Rabbits are of a different biological classification than hares.
Since rabbits are prey animals, they are careful in open spaces. If they sense danger, they freeze and watch. Rabbit vision has a very wide field, including overhead scanning. Their enemies are foxes and dogs; also bears, raccoons, minks, weasels and snakes. Birds of prey sometimes take rabbits. People are also known to shoot rabbits because they eat crops. Their escape method is to run for their burrow, where they are usually safe.
Rabbits have a complex social structure and, like dogs, they have a hierarchy. Rabbit ears probably have several functions. The main function is to give warning of predators, but they may be used for signaling, and temperature regulation.
Rabbits As Pets[change | change source]
Rabbits can make great pets and tend to bond very closely with their owners. They can be extremely social, and love being around people, making them loyal companions. They also have a tendency to be very independent, which makes caring for them less stressful compared to other pets. Being very social and playful mammals, rabbits are easily distracted by toys. Training a rabbit can be quite easy, using similar techniques as one would train a dog.
2. Essential Equipment
In order to successfully own a rabbit, there are essential items that are needed. First, it is important to have a cage that the rabbit can call home. It does not need to be big, just somewhere that the rabbit can live comfortably and relax. Secondly, it is important to have a water bottle or water bowl that is replenished with fresh water daily. A litter box for the corner of the cage is a great purchase because it can help potty-train the rabbit, and can easily be cleaned on either a daily basis or every other day. It is also essential to have toys for a rabbit. Since they are very social and playful animals, it is important for them to have toys to play with while their owners are not able to be with them.
After purchasing essential housing items for a rabbit, a new owner needs to purchase bedding for the cage. Having newspaper handy makes cleaning the cage extremely easy and (hopefully) a little less messy.
Grooming a rabbit is essential for their health and wellbeing. Purchasing a brush at a local pet shop comes in handy when grooming. It is important to groom a rabbit on a weekly basis because they tend to groom themselves obsessively, but it becomes dangerous to their health due to the fact that they swallow so much of their fur.
Rabbits are extremely easy pets to feed. It is important to make sure that they are being fed fresh hay and grains on a daily basis. Providing a rabbit with fresh, well-washed vegetables every day is essential for a balanced diet and digestion. Fruits can be given to rabbits every once in a while as a snack, but it is important to keep a rabbits’ fruit intake limited due to all of the sugars.
In order for rabbits to live happy and healthy lives, it is important for them to get out of their cages and exercise on a daily basis. Hopping around the house for a couple of hours a day will allow a rabbit to explore its surroundings and stay healthy.
Bunny-proofing a rabbit owners’ home is vital. These curious critters tend to be drawn towards electrical wires, wood, shoes, furniture – basically everything within a normal household. It is important to be present when a rabbit is venturing outside of its cage to ensure its safety, or have an area for it to hop around in that does not have any dangerous items.
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Wild rabbits[change | change source]
Wild rabbits are normally called hares, but you can get wild rabbits.
We bought our daughter a baby rabbit for a pet when she was 2-years-old. She couldn't say Bugs, so he became Buggy. We took this little Rex-mix bunny home and then got on the Internet to find out how to care for him properly. We found out all kinds of things including that they are not recommended as pets for small children. They claw and some are biters.
We read about what kind of cage to get for them, and got one with close woven wire on the floor. The cages with wire that are farther apart can hurt their feet. We also made sure he had plenty of room. We made sure to get the correct bedding for him. We read that there were two kinds of wood bedding: pine and cedar. Cedar chip bedding is poisonous to rabbits and can make them very sick. Make sure to get the pine bedding, or the shredded paper bedding.
They eat hay, commercial rabbit pellets, and love vegetables and fruit. We always shared our bananas with him. He got pick of the peelings and some of all the vegetables we had. We did find a few that he didn't eat but not many. We pulled fresh grass for him and he ate that too. He also loved apples and watermelon but not citrus. Surprisingly, rabbits should not be given a lot of carrots or other root vegetables. They are too high in sugar. Dark colored lettuces are the best over the light colored. They have more nutrients. Light amounts of fruits and vegetables are best. Hays and grasses are best, as they help wear the teeth down and keep their tummies healthy.
We watched and this little rabbit grew but never seemed to claw or bite. He fit right into our family. We had him in a cage until my husband read on one of his fact finding searches that they made good house pets loose.
We would take him out and play with him several times a day but he lived in his cage most of the time. They would even litter box train. Cool, we were going to try this. We got a litter box, turned him loose on it, and stepped back to see what happened. We watched, he grew. He used the litter box most of the time. At least he just missed with the solid pellets. I could live with that, he didn't miss by much. He just didn't get his back feet in the box. It was on tile covered by tarp and an old mat. I just swept it up. He did get better at it. He slept in the cage and went in there to rest. We just put it on the floor with the door propped open.
We had a big, gentle female mixed breed dog that mothered him. She would groom him and follow him around. She would bring him to us when we could not find him, just by telling her to find Buggy. She did the same when the hamsters got out of their cage. We would tell her to find the hamster. She would run around the house sniffing until she found the hamster. If she could reach it, she would bring it to us, damp but safe. If she could not reach the hamster, she would yip and get our attention so we could come get it. One got into her dog food bag once. She went nuts barking at the bag. We thought she wanted fed, but she had food in her bowl. We finally went to get her some food and there was a hamster. We hadn't even discovered it had escaped yet.
Our little growing bunny was fun to have around. He would sit under the rocking love seat. That was his spot. He would peek out from under and watch what was going on. The dog would stick her nose under and they would play. It never got serious. She was a big dog but gentle.
Buggy loved to have an old phone book to play with. We would put it down in the middle of the room and he would rip pages out. He also chewed on it. Rabbit's teeth grow for their whole lives. They have to chew on things or they can grow out through their jaw bones. Either give them something to chew or you will have to nip them, like cutting a dogs nails. We gave him wood. Not cedar, it is poisonous to them. We gave him pine, poplar, and oak. They were in our yard so we just gave him a piece of firewood or a fallen branch. He had a ball. I used the ShopVac a lot. They also need their claws clipped occasionally. In nature, they would wear them down by digging. I used the dog nail clippers. Just don't clip them too short or you can make them bleed. If you are afraid to do these things, use the vet.
Make sure to anchor your electrical cords out of their reach too, they think those are great to chew on. I had one chewed through before we caught him. They can get electrocuted by chewing on the cords.
Rabbits like to watch TV. We would sit down to watch TV and he would come out from under to watch with us. Sometimes from the seat next to us, sometimes on our laps, sometimes on the floor. He would stare at the TV if it was on. His head would move back and forth with the action.
When we had guests, he thought it was funny to sneak up under the chair they sat on and poke them in the back of the ankle. They would jump and get all excited until they found out it was the rabbit. You could just about see him laugh over that one. He had quite a sense of humor. He had a hard plastic ball that he would bat around and chase after. He had many similarities to a cat in that respect.
We lost our Buggy after 5 years. We had other rabbits by then. We had put him outside for a few hours to breed with a female rabbit we had, who was almost identical to him in looks except her spots were black instead of gray. We left for a few hours knowing they were safe. They were in a chain link kennel with chain link on top of it. It had a chain link floor so nothing could dig in or out. When we came back, Buggy was missing, the female was dead, and the cage was cut open. Someone had deliberately cut it to let their dog in. We never found him or any sign of him. We lost heart about having rabbits after losing him and eventually got rid of the other rabbits. I still miss him and it has been many years.
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