Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rabbits are not gerbils!

I realize that title is not very profound, but it does require stating for many people who mindlessly adopt rabbits without doing any research about what living with rabbits entails. I know people who had rabbits as children who complain now that "my rabbit never did anything." As we enter February, which is Adopt-A-Rescue-Rabbit month, it is critical to understand why rabbits are not just pretty animals to look at and are not there for us simply to gape at and watch and be entertained by.

First of all, gerbils do not, generally live a long life. Rabbits are a 12 year commitment who need more than a little wheel to keep them stimulated.

Second, rabbits are social creatures, which means they need similar companionship with another rabbit (spayed and neutered, please!) or they need your undivided attention for SOME part of your day. This means playing with them, stroking them, providing them with toys (yes, rabbits do play and if they get bored, kiss your furniture goodbye! Assuming of course that you do the right thing and let your rabbits have at least 3 hours to roam around outside the cage you provide them).

Rabbits also need you to learn their normal behaviors because you need to be able to detect when something is wrong. Rabbits are prey animals and generally don't like to let predators know when they are ill; and when they are ill, be it teeth issues, GI stasis, or other common rabbit problems, time is of the essence. Rabbits can die easily if their condition is not detected and treated in time. Knowing how your rabbit eats (and yes, poops!) or behaves is critical to your ability to tell when they are ailing.

Finally, to those who are dismayed at the complexity of a rabbit's behavior as opposed to that of a gerbil, I have to ask, just why are you adopting--or more likely, buying : ( -- an animal, if you have no intention of sharing your life with him or her? Is this animal only to entertain your child as a plaything or toy? WRONG answer if you say yes! If that is the case, might I suggest a stuffed animal instead? More importantly, PLEASE do your research before bringing any animal into your house. I strongly urge you to visit

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