This is a public service announcement about, you guessed it, lagomorphs!  (Rabbits, bunnies, our intelligent, social, and adorable-little-furry-friends).  Here is a great background on Lagomorphs.
Picture of a rabbit
As we approach Easter, the season during which people think getting a rabbit is a "cute" idea without being fully prepared or informed about rabbits as pets, let's talk about some important rabbit-related things.  (Keep in mind, this is just my opinion!  I am not a vet, but was the proud friend of two special bunnies in my lifetime and wanted to share some of my insights with you). 

As with any companion animal, it is important to do your homework about the needs of the particular species.  Rabbits are considered "exotic" and have different lifestyles than a typical cat and dog; here are some special facts about bunnies:

Rabbit-Specific Vets - When one of my rabbit friends became sick, I learned very quickly the importance of finding a veterinarian who has specific knowledge of treating rabbits.  Ask ahead of time if your vet does rabbit care.  If they do not, I found it helpful to ask for a recommendation of a local vet who does know the ins and out of rabbits as patients.  I learned that having a vet who is well-versed in bunnies and can help you make informed choices about the care of your rabbit (because they had a companion rabbit of their own), was truly beneficial to my rabbit's health and quality of her life when she went through an illness.
Picture of bunny fabric
Hippity hoppity!
(teeth) - Cool things to know about rabbits: they like to have things to chew on so that their teeth stay at a good length.  Maintaining good dental health in bunnies is important.  There are great wood houses and toys for rabbits out there on the market, everywhere from on Etsy to big box stores.  My bunny was always a fan of toilet paper tubes too, not necessarily for her teeth, but so that she could have fun and throw the tube around, or carry it around in her mouth (or wear it as a hat on her ears, which she actually seemed to enjoy). 

(nails) - A bunny's nails grow, and need to be clipped like our other companion animals' do.  A bunny vet is a good resource to use when learning how to clip a bunny's nails.  I found that different methods work for different rabbits, depending on the rabbit.  It is certainly possible to clip their nails yourself, but the bunny's vet can do it for you instead (the bunny vet is a valuable resource, did I mention that?!)

Food - Rabbits cannot regurgitate (sounds gross, but it's true).  I will leave discussion about the dietary needs of rabbits to the experts.  Please see the  helpful websites (at the bottom of this post) about the diets of bunnies (more info here, too).  I did lots of homework before getting my bunny, so I knew that her needs were different than cats' needs when it came to diet.  It's important to do your homework about these furry friends before bringing one into your home!
Picture of carrots
Carrots, not peppers!
Personalities - Rabbits are sweet!  They are playful, they are intelligent, and yes they are even stubborn little friends from time to time.  My bunny friend made friends with cats and grew accustomed to them from a young age.  Soon the cats came around, and they became fast friends with my bunny (under my supervised watch, of course!)  A rabbit is a time commitment like any other pet, and needs your attention!  Don't worry, they are very affectionate and easy to give your attention to. 

I'm not writing this to try to dissuade you from bringing a rabbit into your life as a companion animal if the Easter mood strikes you to do so.  Rather, I am asking you (and your family) to become educated about the care and needs of these wonderful animals first, before you take the plunge.  Being a bunny companion is a very rewarding experience that I will always speak highly of.  As with any type of animal that you welcome into your home, be prepared - gain the knowledge you need to be a responsible caretaker to your little lagomorph friend before deciding on a whim to get one.  That's my opinion, and I think it will benefit all parties involved for a long and happy life.

Here are two websites that I found to be extremely helpful when I had questions about my bunny companion.  Of course, if you have more specific questions, definitely ask your local rabbit vet.

House Rabbit Society

Thanks for reading, and have a very hoppy Easter!
Picture of rabbit
Have a safe & healthy holiday with your companion animals
3/29/2013 12:14:41 am

I never knew that rabbits were also called lagomorphs! Thanks for this informative post!

4/1/2013 01:57:41 pm

You're welcome! :)


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