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Welcome to the Rabbit Appreciation & Information Thread!

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The picture above is my rabbit, Sabriel.

Many people believe they are toys for little kids. Animals that can be locked in a cage for most of the day. Animals that don’t need attention. Animals that don’t need to be spayed/neutered. Animals that can be carrots for breakfast, lunch, dinner. If you know anything about rabbits, all of this is INCORRECT.
This thread has been created in order to get together the owners and lovers of rabbits, who would enjoy talking about their fuzzy cuties! Hearty debate is allowed, unless someone begins to become belligerent/rude/slanderous. Please, don't be rude about the pets we love either. We understand that many people may not like rabbits for any reason or not believe what we believe, we accept your opinion, as you should accept ours.

I am in no way nor do I claim myself as an expert, scientist, or veterinarian. I can give you advice about rabbits, as well as direct you to informative websites. I can also tell you what I do for my own rabbits.

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If you have made a thread similar to this or these Please PM Me and I will add you to my list here!

This thread was heavily influenced by the Rat Appreciation & Information Thread

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recklessisawreck's avatar

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A Little Bit About Me and My Rabbits!

I wasn’t really a rabbit person when I was a kid, until we rescued a wild baby bunny and I took perfect care of it for a week. That is what made my parents allow me to get rabbits- I showed that I was responsible. I found an adorable black otter Netherland Dwarf named Alice at the Humane Society. It took some convincing, and my parents said yes, and in two days time, due to my mom’s migraine, we were going to get her.
She had been adopted.
I was devastated, and after bawling my eyes out, we headed to another Humane Society. I wanted a rabbit, really bad. I am really glad I was determined, because I met my first rabbit.

Ever since then, I have been almost religious about gaining more information on rabbits and teaching others how much work they can be.. but also how great they are... now to introduce my rabbits!

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(rabbits getting along like this is rare by the way)

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She’s a feisty agouti mini-rex mix, without the mini-rex fur. She is 5-6lb, and skittish around humans. She can be fairly sweet though. She is 3 years old. She was separated from Sabriel when he broke his leg.

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He’s a lovey-dovey gray dutch, who had a broken leg from a fight with a fourth rabbit I brought home who escaped and attacked him through his pen. He is 4lb and he’s the cuddliest, sweetest rabbit EVER. He even licks- which is a sign of affection in rabbits. He is 3 year old.

Last but not least,
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He’s a super sweet lovey Flemish Giant, who is 4 years old and 12lb. He adores attention, but is afraid when picked up. He loves to lick me after I pet him, it’s like he’s returning the favor. I had always wanted a Flemish Giant, so when I saw him at the Humane Society, I knew I had to have him. He's super lazy and cuddly. I love to take him places and show him off (plus since he loves the attention) and I like taking him outside cause he loves it. He loves all other animals and rabbits- crazily enough.

Bunnies aren't the only things I love! I love Avengers, Marvel-stuff, Taxidermy, Animals in general, Bones, Cartoons, etc.

My other "family members" who are kept separate from the bunnies:

The Dogs
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A Pitbull/Shepherd/Chow, and a BIG BABY! =) She's got the fur color, tongue, and tail of a Chow, muzzle and fur of a Shepherd, and body shape/stance of a Pitbull. She's a chubby gal and 15 years old. Still goin` strong. She's like a sister to me and she's growing so senile.

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A black and tan Shiba Inu who is really big. He's around 50 lb I think. He's 6 years old, and so relaxed and lazy until the end of the day, then he has a huge spaz moment. (typical Shiba) He's afraid of like... EVERYTHING!

The Cats
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A black and white, chubby kitty. She's about 4 years old and used to be a feral/stray who ended up adopting us. She was an outdoor cat but she is now indoors. She's pretty feisty and can be kind of mean at times- but it's just because she becomes over-stimulated easily.

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A medium/long-haired tabby cat. She's a really tiny 2-3 year old cat who also used to be a feral/stray. She adopted us soon after Natasha, and like her, is also now indoors. She's very sweet and likes to ride around on my shoulders.
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A Few Things!

[rabbit] noun.
1. any of several soft-furred, large-eared, rodentlike burrowingmammals of the family Leporidae, allied with the hares andpikas in the order Lagomorpha, having a divided upper lip andlong hind legs, usually smaller than the hares and mainlydistinguished from them by bearing blind and furless young in nests rather than fully developed young in the open.

But I thought Rabbits were wild animals?
Of course, like many other pets rabbits have been domesticated over the years. Please! Do NOT attempt to tame a wild rabbit. Many can -carry- diseases and also parasites and most will never be tame. They are fearful of humans, and can grow aggressive. It is also illegal in many areas. Wild rabbits are not in any way the same as a tame domesticated rabbits.

I found some abandoned baby bunnies!
Do NOT take them! Most rabbits only see to their babies at certain times of the day. Unless they are being hurt in any way, you should not touch them, their mother will be back later. Mothers do not care about scent, but if you were a mother, how would you feel if you saw some strange giant touching your babies?

I want to buy a rabbit!
-Before buying, please look at your local Animal shelters! Adopt first. There are many animals out there that could use a loving home.
-Please do not support stores like Petland and other pet stores. Have you ever gone in and seen how it was set up? The rabbits are usually together with the guinea pigs- which is bad. The rabbits are usually too young to leave their mother. They are usually inbred and may have defects. Buying a rabbit from Petland is the same as buying a dog from there. Many do not live long. Many have diseases, and/or show signs of sickness and joint problems later on. Most are not fixed either, which prevents cancers in rabbits, prevents further rabbits, and levels out their temperaments.
-You can visit a local pet store, but please make sure ahead of time the pets are in the appropriate conditions they should be in. Males should not be mixed with females no matter the age. Your rabbit should be at the very least 8 weeks old.
-You can check out your local breeders, but make sure your breeder is treating the animals correctly as well as feeding them correctly. A rabbit that has been inbred too much can have many problems later in life. If your breeder knows what he/she is doing they will also have a lineage they can show you so you will know history of illnesses in the family.

Are there different types of Rabbits?
Of course! There are -many- types of rabbits. I will make a list in a further post.

Do Rabbits Shed?
Yes. They molt twice a year and some constantly shed.

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Bunny Spotlight!

This is Kammykidd's Holland Lop, named Goomba!
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How cute is she!?

I will pick a rabbit every so often to show off on here. You can ask for your bun to be up here, or I'll just randomly choose. Most likely, everyone's bun will show up here at some point!

Any kind of rabbit is allowed here! Any breed, size, shape, and color!
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I’m Getting a Rabbit!


Awesome! You've taken the first step into the rabbit life, knowing that you want a rabbit! Here's a little checklist on things you should do and things you should buy.

1.) Research! Go to your local library and read up on the books it has. Google information, but don't take one website and only use that. Compare information, talk to breeders, maybe join a forum, and you can even ask here any questions!

2.) Have an idea in your mind where you're going to buy your friend. Do research on your local places, make sure they take care of their animals. Humane Societies are the best choice though, the rabbits come fixed and there’s a lot that need homes.

3.) Buy your cage first. Make sure it's an appropriate size for a rabbit. The rabbit needs to be able to stretch out and stand up freely. You can also buy a pet so that they can have more space, or free time out if you cannot bunny-proof your room/house.

4.) Also buy your food first as well! I recommend Zupreem Rabbit Pellets. Though these have corn, which a rabbit is not supposed to have, my rabbits love them and are not overweight like most rabbits. The pellets are timothy-based, which is better than Alfalfa-based foods. Rabbits must NOT have that colorful corn and such in their pellets. It is very bad for them. They must always have hay as well, Alfalfa when they are 6 months and younger, Timothy or Oxbow for 6 months and older. YOU MUST HAVE HAY. You can also get vegetables. A list of okay vegetables will be below.

5.) Rabbit proof your home if you are not going to get a pen or build one out of NIC panels. Rabbits need a lot of space and time out! That means putting up anything the rabbit may chew, especially cords, though you can cut aquarium tubing down the middle and wrap it around the cords. Some very determined bunnies will still chew their way through it though. Place a few litter boxes here and there.


7.) Now, head to the place in which you're going to receive your pal from. Pick out your new friends, and remember, rabbits can live up to 8-15 years!
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Some Do’s and Do Not’s

Do: Give your rabbits sufficient amounts of food every day.
Don’t Excessively give carrots, fruits, or other treats. Too much sugar is very bad for rabbits. Do not give them bread, corn, or other human-food. They should only get pellets, veggies, hay, and some fruit/carrots every once and a while. They CAN have craisens ONCE in a while though.

Do: Pet your rabbit. Love your rabbit.
Don’t: Pick up your rabbit if you do not know what you are doing. Rabbits can be hurt very badly if they get scared and jump from your arms. They can also hurt you on accident.

Do: Give them things to chew on. They need to be able to wear their teeth down, since they are constantly growing like most animals. If they don’t have toys to play with, such as cardboard, untreated wood, and such, they will become bored and destructive.
Don’t: Hold them by their ears or back legs. Holding them by their ears is extremely painful, and if you hold them by their back legs, it can break their back and kill them, or their legs, which is a very hard fix and could cost 1000’s of dollars if you don’t have to put them to sleep.


Do: Get your rabbit spayed/neutered. It may cost a lot now, but it will prevent Uterine and Testicular cancer, giving the rabbit a much longer and happier life. Not only that, they will stop “marking” their territory, use the litter box better, and they will also become sweeter. Unfixed rabbits are often aggressive, territorial, and destructive.
Don’t: Just put two rabbits together. They will MOST LIKELY fight. First of all, if they’re not spayed/neutered, you will be facing the VERY HARD job of a nesting mother rabbit. At that point you would need to separate the male and female. Second of all, rabbits don’t just accept a friend. They must be bonded slowly. Many rabbits are very aggressive with other rabbits. I know firsthand- I adopted a fourth rabbit, and she never even met my other rabbits, but she escaped her pen, sought them out, and attacked them. That is how Sabriel’s leg broke. Trust me, it’s the scariest thing ever, and rabbits can really hurt, even kill each other.

Do: Love your rabbit unconditionally. They will usually love you back.
Don’t: Expect others to love your rabbit, or your rabbit to love them. Most rabbits are afraid of strangers.

Do: Squeal and firmly say no if your rabbit nips and/or bites you, the squealing will make you sound like a rabbit who has been hurt. This is how rabbits tell each other to stop!
Don’t: Hit your rabbit. This will only make a rabbit fear you, or make him/her aggressive. It is never ethical to hit your pets.


Q: Do your rabbits have free roam of the house?
A: No they do not. They must remain in my room, due to the fact my two dogs would eat them. They do not have free roam of my room either, for there is too many things they can hurt themselves on. Silas has his own large pen made from NIC panels [Here is an example of a NIC pen] and Solara and Sabriel have their own pen, two large animal pens placed together. I do take them out to cuddle with them on my bed, but I usually go in the pen with them.

Q: My rabbit was nice when he/she was young, now he/she’s being aggressive.. what do I do?
A: Sounds like your bunny is going through the "Terrible Teens". When rabbits reach their age of maturity- 6 months, they go through a stage of defiance, cage aggressive behavior, and marking everywhere. The best thing for you to do is to get her spayed. This will rid her of her hormones and she will most likely become more friendly like she used to be. It will also help her live longer and lower the chance of her getting uterine cancer. Spaying/neutering does not always help with behavior though.


Q: My rabbit is chewing up all of my things! Help?
A: Rabbits naturally chew, it's what they do because their teeth keep growing. Don't punish them, because if you have given them something or left something out around them, then you should expect this.


Q: My rabbit just thumped, why is he/she doing that!?
A: Rabbits thump when they are scared or angry with something. It is usually to warn other rabbits, an instinct from when they were still wild.

Q: Is it true you can litter train a rabbit?
A: Yes! Of course! You should use paper-based litter like Yesterday’s News for rabbits or wood-based pellets like Equine Fresh, which you can get at Tractor Supply. NEVER use clay-based litters for cats or corn-based litters. Rabbits nibble their litter and these things are very bad for them. Put their hay in their litter box to help litter train them, for they like to eat and go potty at the same time. If they pee outside of the litter box, soak it up with something, then squeeze it into the litter box. Put their poop in there too. Many rabbits will choose one corner to go potty in, place the litter box where THEY choose.

Q: My rabbit still poops outside of the litter box, why?
A: Rabbits are territorial animals, and use these poops to mark their territory. They can just be picked up and placed in the litter box. They also sometimes poop in their food to mark it, so don’t be surprised if they do.

Q: My rabbit is eating his/her own poop! Why?
A: Rabbits do eat their own poop. These poops are called cecals, and are soft, mushy, and shaped like blackberries. They are the nutrients that the rabbits did not get the first time they digested their food. They must eat these, usually you won’t see them eating them, for sometimes they eat them straight out of their butt. If they are leaving around a lot of extra cecals, there may be something wrong with your bun.

Q: My rabbit is running around, and then he/she will jump up and twitch. Does he/she have tourettes?
A: No, this is what they call a “binky”. When rabbits are happy/excited, they will do these a lot. It looks silly doesn’t it?

Q: How much will a rabbit cost? it's cheap, right?
A: Absolutely not cheap, no animal is cheap. For starters, depending on where you get your rabbit, it will cost 20-40$ at the Humane Society. 75-100$ at a rescue (but they will pair you up with the rabbit right for you). 80-100$ at the Pet Store. Sometimes you can get them free. But the highly recommended spaying/neutering is 500-700$ if you don’t get them from a Rescue/Humane Society. They litter I buy is 20 lb for 5.99$. The pellets I buy are 5.99$ per 5 lb. We buy around 30-40$ worth of veggies ever 2-3 weeks. Toys are 6.99$ for a small one, imagine buying a lot of them. We usually give them cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls.

Q: How much do vet visits cost?
A: They cost A LOT. Rabbits are considered exotic animals, so it is hard to find them a veterinarian in the first place. For example, taking Sabriel to the vet to get anesthesia (which is VERY risky for rabbits) and get an X-ray, cone, and medicine for his pain and antibiotics… 550$. If his leg doesn’t heal from his cast, we will either have to get it amputated or fixed… each around 2000$. Euthanasia is another option, but I will not put my baby to sleep for something so trivial. You should always save money just in case of an emergency.

Q: Do rabbits know their names?
A: Yes! Mine come when called!

Q: Can rabbits be trained?
A: With a lot of patience and work, yes they can. Clicker-training works best. They can learn things like spinning, standing, walking on their hind legs, kissing you with their nose, jumping over things, jumping on things, going through tunnels.
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Rabbit Safe Foods

Select at least three kinds of vegetables daily. A variety is necessary in order to obtain the necessary nutrients, with one each day that contains Vitamin A, indicated by an *. Add one vegetable to the diet at a time. Eliminate if it causes soft stools or diarrhea.

• Alfalfa, radish & clover sprouts
• Baby bok choy
• Basil
• Beet greens (tops)*
• Bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
• Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)*
• Brussels sprouts
• Carrot & carrot tops*
• Celery (Note: to avoid any potential problems, slice or chop the celery against the grain so the veins aren't stringy - veins can be swallowed without proper chewing and can cause serious gastrointestinal problems)
• Chinese celery
• Cilantro (no roots)
• Clover
• Collard greens*
• Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)*
• Dwarf choy sum
• Endive*
• Escarole
• Gai long
• Green peppers
• Kale (!)*
• Mint
• Mustard greens*
• Parsley*
• Pea pods (the flat edible kind: snow pea or sugar snap pea)*
• Peppermint leaves
• Raddichio
• Radish tops
• Raspberry leaves
• Romaine lettuce (no iceberg or light colored leaf)*
• Spinach (!)*
• Watercress*
• Wheat grass
• Yu choy

(!)=Use sparingly. High in either oxalates or goitrogens and may be toxic in accumulated quantities over a period of time

Rabbit Safe Fruits
• Apple (remove stem and seeds)
• Blueberries
• Melon
• Orange (without the peel)
• Papaya
• Peach
• Pear
• Pineapple
• Plums
• Raspberries
• Strawberries

Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be used only sparingly, as occasional treats. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and if left to their own devices will devour sugary foods to the exclusion of healthful ones.

Please Keep in Mind that a lot of fruits and foods that you will eat are high in fat and can cause obesity. All food should be given appropriately to your rabbit in moderation.

Avoid feeding your rabbits…

• Beets (sugary)
• Breakfast cereals
• Chocolate (NEVER give this to any pet - it is poisonous to most)
• Corn (rabbits can't digest the hulls of the corn kernels)
• Diatomaceous Earth - this is made from finely ground shells, and even the highest quality can have edges which act like razor blades against the thin lining of a rabbits stomach lining. Do not use for food or litter.
• Fresh peas
• Grains
• Green beans (can cause gas)
• Iceberg lettuce (and any light green lettuce leaves - they are high in water content but low in nutrients and may cause diahrrea) - can be gven in small amounts or when you have no other greens to offer, but watch the output for soft stools
• Legumes
• Nuts
• Onions (see this page)
• Pelleted food with seeds mixed in (it's a treat to the bunnies but the seeds cause stomach problems)
• Potatoes (white or red)
• Seeds of any kind
• Starches of any kind
• sugar, in any form (small quantities of treats are allowed, but no more than a tablespoon of fruit or raisins or anything containing any types of sugar)

Foods that contain compounds that destroy nutrients:
• Sweet potato
• Cassava
• Bamboo shoots
• Maize
• Lima beans
• Millet
• Bracken fern
• Tea leaves
• Coffee plants

Foods that are toxic to rabbits:
Note: do not allow your rabbit to eat dried leaves from any trees - too many types are very toxic and some can cause cyanide poisoning (this includes specifically apple tree leaves, oak leaves, maple leaves, etc). If you allow your rabbit an outdoor run, please clear the area of leaves as the rabbit may find them very tasty, but they are very dangerous!! (see also this page on cyanide poisoning)
Generally toxic:
o Rhubarb leaves
o Raw lima, kidney or soy beans
o Onions
o Citrus peels
Oxalates (causes pain and swelling of mouth and throat, swollen tissue can restrict breathing or cause suffocation.)
o Begonia
o Caladium
o Calla lily
o Diffenbachia
o Dumbcane
o Jack in the pulpit
o Philodendron
o Schefflera
Minor Toxicities (causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea)
o Aloe vera
o Amaryllis
o Bird of paradise
o Birch
o Boxwood
o Cedar
o Chrysanthemum
o Daffodil
o Daisy
o Eucalyptus
o Galiola
o Hydrangea
o Haycinth
o Iris
o Juniper
o Redwood tree
o Rananculus
o Sweet pea
o Swwet william
o Violas
Extremely Toxic (one leaf can kill)
o Angels Trumpet
o Azalea
o Black Acacia and Locast
o Bleeding Heart
o Carmellia
o Carnation
o Carolinia Jasmine
o Castor Beans
o Christmas Beans
o China Berry
o Clementis
o Coffee Tree Plant
o Cyclamen
o Daphne
o Delphinium
o Easter Lily
o Elderberry
o Flax
o Four-o-clocks
o Geranium
o Heavenly Bamboo
o Hemlock
o Holly Berries
o Ivy
o Jerusalem cherry
o Lantana
o Larkspur
o Licorice plant
o Lily of the valley
o Lobelia
o Milkvetch
o Monkshood
o Morning glory
o Mountain laurel
o Narcissus
o NightshadeLoeander
o Pea family
o Pig weed
o Potato plant
o Pivet
o Rhododendron
o String of pearls
o Thorn apple
o Toyon
o Vinca
o Wintergreen
o Wisteria
o Tew

The problem with calcium:
• Bladder and/or kidney stones
• Bladder sand or sludge - the bladder fills with a thick, calcium-rich urine that also lines the urinaty tract and is an irritant and also a painful condition to endure. The bladder always feels full and the rabbit has difficulty urinating.
• passing sludge/sand can lead to a urinary tract infection
• the inability to fully empty the bladder may make the rabbit "leak" urine from an continually full bladder, and this can lead to urine scald
• it makes it very difficult and eventually very painful for the rabbit to urinate, and they will strain more and more in the litterbox
• you can't just remove all calcium from a rabbit's diet to avoid this issue because then his body will absorb whatever calcium it needs from the bones and the rabbit will become extremely fragile as the skeleton is weakoned due to the lack of calcium
• treatment options are not pleasant - if it's serious enough, the bladder must either be flushed with a catheter, or surgery may be necessary.
• chalky residue in the litterbox, a definite indicator of mineral-rich urine (sometimes it hardens to the point where you can't easily scrape it off) is not, by itself, an indication of build-up - it may simply be normal elimination of the excess calcium so that it doesn't accumulate in the bladder, so the only real way to determine if there is an issue is an x-ray. Calcium is a metal and shows up light in an x-ray, so it's very easy to see when a rabbit is suffering from a calcium-lined urinary tract.
Some things you can do to try to influence any calcium build-up that you suspect is to offer some of the following. We offer these suggestions as nothing more than folk-lore home remedies as a precursor to seeing the vet if the condition doesn't improve:
• Water spiked with some cranberry juice (a natural diuretic) - but do NOT make this the only water you offer, or your bunny may become dehydrated if he doesn't like the spiked water
• Add pepitas (shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds) to their food or if they like them, offer them as treats
• Polycitra - the active ingredients are citric acid monohydrate, potassium citrate monohydrate, and sodium citrate dihydrate. It is administered 3 times a day, which can be stressful on both you and your bunny. You must get a prescription and your vet's advice to use this product.

A rabbit's diet is largely opinion based, owner to owner. However, the Toxic/Dangerous Rabbit foods should always be avoided.

• Do not get the pellets with seeds and banana chips and such in it - it is a treat to the bunnies but it isn't healthy and can cause stomach problems. Unfortunately, some manufacturers refuse to accept this and market what looks, to a human, like a really nice dinner for their rabbit, but in fact it is bad for them. Pellets are not even the most important part of a rabbit's diet (hay is), but care should be given not to offer pellets that are bad for the rabbits, or that have treats that are bad for the rabbits mixed in.
• Pellets can go stale just like bread and become unappealing to the bunny's pallate, so store unused pellets in an air-tight container, preferably in the refrigerator.
• If you get a large quantity of pellets, the best way to store it is to separate it into smaller sealed containers (ie, ziplock bags) and store them all in the refrigerator, and only open one at a time to get food from. The unopened ones will stay fresh much longer. Do not store in the freezer as this can cause the small amount of moisture in the pellets to ruin the food (as water crystallizes, it expands and forms sharp edges which break the cell walls of other materials) Oxygen is the most corrosive element there is - it reacts with pretty much everything - every time you open a container, you introduce fresh air (wich contains approximately 20% new oxygen) to be used in the chemical reactions that spoil food. Using smaller bags and pressing out as much air as possible, and only opening one at a time, means that all the unopened bags will use up the available oxygen and degradation will slowed dramatically, keeping the food fresher for longer.
• Typically you can allow a healthy growing bunny to free-feed on pellets (he can eat as much as he wants)
• The most common recommendation we hear for healthy adult rabbits (that do not need to gain weight) is that they should only have about 1/4 cup of timthy pellets per 5 pounds of bunny
• If your rabbit shows any signs of stomach problems, such as runny stool, take away the pellets and veggies and feed plenty of timothy hay and contact your vet

Hay is needed ALL of the time. It helps them crush the fur they ingest and it helps their teeth. Timothy or Oxbow hay for 6 months and older (preferably Timothy) and Alfalfa for 6 months and younger. This is sweet and fattening so should not be given past 6 months.

Rabbit food information from: 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue

Here are some bunny salads I make for my bunnies- I make them every night.
From left to right, the bowls are:
Sabriel (2.5 cups), Silas (4 cups), and Solara (2.5 cups)
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They usually contain Escarole, Endive, Kale (only on Mon, Wed, and Fri), Dandelion Greens, Bok Chou, Celery, Parsley, Cilantro, Romaine Lettuce, Red/Orange/Yellow/Green Bell Peppers, and once in a while, a treat.
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My Rabbit is Sick! Help!

First you need to see what is wrong with your rabbit.

Is your rabbit not eating? This could be an intestional blockage, or gas (rabbits cannot burp, fart, puke… etc). This can be life-threatening.

Is your rabbit’s teeth too long? Sometimes rabbit’s teeth can be too long and this can make it painful to eat. They will need to have their teeth trimmed and then they will need more stuff to chew. Many have to have their teeth trimmed every other month by a veterinarian or an experienced rabbit breeder.

Is your rabbit’s head tilted or are they shaking their head a lot? Rabbits can get a sickness commonly known as “The Head Tilt”. It strikes a lot of fear in Rabbit owners. A head-tilt is VERY deadly if not caught as soon as possible. Even if it is caught, your rabbit can be stuck with that head tilt their whole life. They can still live though, so don’t lose faith!

Is your rabbit sneezing a lot? Your rabbit could have Pasteurella, a disease that most rabbits carry, they just don’t show symptoms. When they do, they get gunk on their nose, they sneeze a lot, rub their noses a lot, and get yucky front paws.

You should get your rabbit to the veterinarian immediately in most worrying cases.

Common Rabbit Illnesses

Ear Mites - This one is exactly what it sounds like. Cats commonly get ear mites and so do rabbits. There are several things that can bring them on, but identifying them is the most important thing. Looking into your rabbits ear you will notice brown and yellow buildup. If your rabbit has this, it undoubtedly has ear mites. Another sign of this if your rabbit is shaking its head excessively. Treatment is easy. Often the same medicines used on other animals will work fine. Your local vet may be able to help you with this. One medication commonly used by rabbit breeders is VetRx.

Snuffles - This is another common illness among rabbits. This is the rabbit's equivalent of the common cold. Unfortunately for rabbits, it is not quite as harmless as it is for humans. If the Snuffles are left alone, they will only get worse, turning into Pneumonia.
This illness is easy to identify. Your rabbit will most likely start to sneeze. This is the number one sign. Your rabbit will have discharge from his nose. Treating this is important, and it is vital that it is done quickly before the illness progresses. This is best treated with a shot of antibiotics, which can be provided from a veterinarian. VetRx can also be used to treat this, if it is caught very early on.

Sore Hocks - This is probably the most common rabbit illness. Your rabbit's hocks are located on the bottom of their hind feet. Often when a rabbit does not have thick fur on the bottom of its hock, what they do have will wear off, causing their bare skin to be exposed to the wire cage.
Identifying this is easy. You will notice that your rabbit is developing open sores on the bottom of his hocks. This is why it is important to take your rabbit out for an examination from time to time. Sore hocks often occurs in rabbits that are overweight.
Treatment is not easy. You must put your rabbit on a diet and give him something such as a dry wall board to sit on. It is important to apply triple antibiotic ointment to the sores until they are healed. Do not apply bandages! They will only make it worse!

Malocclusion - This is a common disease among rabbits that will often be noticed from the time of your rabbit's birth. If your rabbit is older, and you notice that they are not eating like they should, they may have Malocclusion. This is when the rabbit's teeth are too long and often curl out. Malocclusion is a hereditary disease.
The best way to identify Malocclusion is to take a look at your rabbit's teeth. It will be obvious and visible if there is a problem. The best way to treat this is to clip your rabbit's teeth, which is the only way to keep them short enough so that your rabbit can eat. It is also best not to breed the rabbit because the disease can be passed down.

Gas - Have you ever had a really bad stomach ache? Gas causes that with rabbits too, and it is very painful to them. They can have problems passing gas which can lead to severe pain and a life-threatening situation. You can help. First, get to know what your rabbit's stomach feels like when he feels fine, and you'll be able to guage how far from normal he might be. You can also treat the rabbit any time you suspect gas with simethicone(infant anti-gas drops contain this ingredient). Simethicone is not actually a drug, it is a surfactant/defoaming agent - instead of working via chemical reaction, it breaks down the surface tension of gas bubbles embedded in mucus in the GI tract. As surface tension is altered, the gas bubbles are broken or coalesced so that the gas can be eliminated more easily by the body. It does not interact with any medications and is not at all harmful even if used when it wasn't necessary afterall. Besides treating with simethicone, you should also very gently massage the stomach towards the rear end in the hope of gently pushing the gas through the system. Rabbits many times have difficulty passing gas and can run into trouble if not for attentive caretakers. When gas is an issue, a farting bunny is a happy bunny. If both the simethicone and massage have failed, it's time to call the vet.

Some of the indicators of a gas episode are:
• loud gurgling noises coming from the gut
• signs of discomfort or lethargy
• loss of appetite
• sitting hunched over (sort of the same as how people hunch over when they have really bad stomach aches) or pressing their stomachs against something
• abnormally tight stomach
• abnormal posture

When caring for rabbits, you may experience a lot of rabbit diseases and illnesses, not all of them have to be fatal. Most are easily treated. Although many vets do not deal with rabbits, it still never hurts to ask. Always remain in contact with a vet who does treat rabbits because it may help you in the future. This will also help for obtaining medicines.


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Rabbit Cages/Setups

Do’s and Do Not’s

No NOT use wire bottom cages. Rabbits do not have pads on the bottom of their feet so this is very painful for them and can cause sore hocks.

Do NOT have a slippery bottom cage if your rabbit is going to be in there for long periods of time. This can cause your rabbits to get splayed legs, which can affect their organs and ability to walk.

Do get a large cage that the rabbit will be able to stretch in freely and stand on their hind legs freely. Leave room for a litter box, toys, and places for them to move and stretch.

Here are some pictures of nice cages:
(the cages above were built out of NIC panels, which you can buy from Target or Walmart, just be wary of the size of the holes. You don’t want your rabbit slipping through them!)

I just built this one for my new rabbit:
It was easy and quite fun!

Some rabbit cages at the Pet Store are okay, but not for extended periods of time. When my bonded pair are together (since they aren’t right now due to Sabriel’s leg), they have a small rabbit cage from the pet store, but they’re only confined in it at night, so they don’t make a lot of noise.

Silas, the Flemish Giant, is in a large dog cage.
These are an alternative to the normal rabbit cages as well. While Sabriel is being held separate, he is in a slightly smaller one than Silas is in, but there is room for a litterbox and for him to move and lay down.

Safe Litters
(I’d recommend NOT using bedding for rabbits. When a rabbit can me litter box trained, it is just messy and unethical.)

House Rabbit Society recommends organic litters, made from alfalfa, oat, citrus or paper. (Some brands to look for: Care Fresh, Cat Country, Critter Country, Yesterday's News, and Papurr).

Stay away from litters made from softwoods, like pine or cedar shavings or chips, as these products are thought to cause liver damage in rabbits who use them.
CatWorks litter has been linked to zinc poisoning.
Swheat Scoop Litter should be avoided, because rabbits will often ingest it. Because it is comprised of wheat, it is very high in carbohydrates and can cause obesity, excessive cecal production, diarrhea, bacterial imbalance, and other health issues.

Another approach is to place a handful of hay in each box, or to simply use hay as litter. It is helpful to put several layers of newspaper under the hay, to absorb urine so that your rabbit is not standing in the urine. Most newspapers today are using soy-based ink, which is safe for your rabbit, but check with your local newspaper to make sure first. Obviously, you need to change the hay fairly frequently (daily), since your rabbit will be eating it. This method often helps to encourage good litter habits as well as to encourage hay consumption, since rabbits often eat at or near the same time as they use the litter box.

Pros and cons of the various types of litter include:

• clay litter is dusty--if your bunny is a digger, the dust can make her vulnerable to pneumonia
• the deodorant crystals in some clay litters are toxic
• clumping litters will clump inside the rabbit's digestive and respiratory tracts (the latter if they manage to make enough dust to breathe) causing serious problems and often leading to death
• pine and cedar shavings emit gases that cause liver damage when breathed by the bunny
• corn cob litter isn't absorbent and doesn't control odor, and has the the risk of being eaten and casing a lethal blockage.
• oat- and alfalfa-based litters (available from Purina, Manna-Pro, and King-Soopers groceries [not sure what the geographical range of this chain is]) have excellent odor controlling qualities, but if a rabbit eats too much, they expand and cause bloating; these, too, can be added, with the bunny's waste, to compost
• newspapers are absorbent, but don't control odor
• citrus-based litters work well, offer no dangers, and can be composted, but may be hard to get and expensive in some areas of the country/world
• some people have reported success with peat moss which can also be composted
• Many people have great success with litter made from paper pulp or recycled paper products. These litters are very good at absorbing and cutting down on odors. A litter called CAREfresh is available. You can find out about local places that carry Carefresh by emailing absorbs@absorption-corp.com or by calling 1-800-242-2287. A similar litter in a pelleted form is called Cellu-Dri 1-800-382-5001. These litters are harmless if ingested.
• Compressed sawdust pellets: are inexpensive, highly absorbent litters used in many foster homes. They are made from softwood or hardwood sawdust, but they are not toxic because the phenolic compounds are removed during their manufacture. Their wood composition helps control bacterial growth and odors. Wood stove fuel pellets and Feline Pine are two examples of this product. (The litter I use is like this one)
• Litters made from Aspen bark are safe and good at absorbing odors. One brand is called GentleTouch 1-800-545-9853.

Information on litter from Rabbit.org

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Rabbits are very different than what many people believe. Rabbits cannot be placed together and be expected to get along right away. Though rabbits are VERY social animals, there are a few things that need to be done.
You should not be trying to bond an unneutered male and unspayed female, unspayed female and unspayed female, or an unneutered male and unneutered male. This will cause unneeded confrontation. Spay and neuter first!

How do I bond them?
My best recommendation is to house the rabbits next to each other for a couple of weeks and switch their litter boxes and food dishes back and forth. This will allow them to get used to each other’s presence.

Then, what I did with Solara and Sabriel, I took them into the bathroom, and into the bath tub. I ran the vacuum cleaner right out the door to make them nervous and make them look to each other for comfort. The bathtub was a neutral space that was neither of theirs, so they didn’t need to fight over it, and it was too slippery for them to fight.

REMEMBER. Disinterest is better than over interest.

There will be humping. But that is a part of the natural dominance order. But do not allow either of them hump for too long, the one being humped could get angry. And do NOT allow face-humping. It is very dangerous and the rabbit’s private parts could get bitten.

Always keep gloves and a water bottle handy in case a fight breaks out. Watch for signs of aggression such as ears straight ahead, tail up against back, grunting, and lunging.

How long will bonding take?
It depends on how your bunnies react with each other. Some take a couple weeks, some up to nine months. You can set up “meetings” at your local Humane Society or rescue and find a rabbit that your current rabbit seems interested in.

What genders are the easiest to bond?
Girl and boy are obviously the easiest. The second easiest is boy and boy. The hardest is girl and girl. Girls are VERY territorial.

Does age/size/breed matter?
Not at all! You could bond a 15 lb 5 year old Flemish Giant and a 2 lb 1 year old Netherland Dwarf… the only setback is if the bigger one is significantly bigger, he/she could cause stress to the smaller one when they hump them. You just have to watch out. The other setback is the older one will die (sad to say) before the younger one, and that’s sad. But overall, age/size/breed does not matter.

How do I know they have been bonded?
The best bet is to slowly expand the area you take them in. It is all played by how much you trust your bunnies. Start with leaving briefly for a couple minutes and coming back. This will show you how they’ll act when you’re not around. These are the stages I took:
1. Bathtub with vacuum running.
2. Bathtub without vacuum
3. Whole bathroom
4. Pen in room where cages are not
5. Solara in her cage, Sabriel in pen
6. Both in Solara’s pen/cage (this was because Sabriel was the dominant one)
7. Connect pens, sleep separate
8. Sleep together
It took about a month for their bonding to be finished.

What are some positive and negative behaviors while bonding?
Negative: Grunting, ears pushed forward, tail pinned to back, circling, excessive humping, biting, lunging, and scratching.
Positive: Licking, grooming, cuddling, chasing playfully, binkying.

One of the rabbits is pulling the other’s whiskers out! What’s going on!?
This is natural, the dominant one will usually pull the non-dominant’s whiskers out. Some do it even when bonded, some will stop.

I bonded my rabbits and now my non-dominant one is humping the dominant!?
This is natural for the first few days of completely living together. The humping will most likely stop completely after a week or so.

A couple videos of a good bonding session:

More info soon.
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Rabbit Breeds

Contrary to popular belief, there are many different breeds of rabbits. Most rabbits you will find, unless from a breeder, are mixed breeds. Here is a list of all of the ARBA accepted breeds and their max showable weight. Some may be smaller. Information from the ARBA website and other sources.

Here are some rabbit breeds you can choose from.

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American - Max weight, 12 lb

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American Chinchilla - Max weight, 12 lb

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American Fuzzy Lop - Max weight, 4 lb

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American Sable - Max weight, 10 lb

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Belgian Hare - Max weight, 9.5 lb

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Beveren - Max weight, 12 lb

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Blanc de Hotot - Max weight, 11 lb

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Brittania Petite - Max weight, 2.5 lb

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Californian - Max weight, 10.5 lb

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Champagne d'Argent - Max weight, 12 lb

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Checkered Giant - Max weight, None

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Cinnamon - Max weight, 11 lb

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Creme d'Argent - Max weight, 11 lb

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Dutch - Max weight, 5.5 lb

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Dwarf Hotot - Max weight, 3 lb

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English Angora - Max weight, 7.5 lb

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English Lop - Max weight, None

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English Spot - Max weight, 8 lb

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Flemish Giant - Max weight, None

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Florida White - Max weight, 6 lb

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French Angora - Max weight, 10.5 lb

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French Lop - Max weight, None

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Giant Angora - Max weight, None

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Giant Chinchilla - Max weight, 16 lb

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Harlequin - Max weight, 9.5 lb

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Havana - Max weight, 6.5 lb

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Himalayan - Max weight, 4.5 lb

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Holland Lop - Max weight, 4 lb

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Jersey Wooly - Max weight, 3.5 lb

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Lilac - Max weight, 8 lb

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Mini Lop - Max weight, 6.5 lb

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Mini Rex - Max weight, 4.5 lb

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Mini Satin - Max weight, 4.7 lb

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Netherland Dwarf - Max weight, 2.5 lb

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New Zealand - Max weight, 12 lb

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Palomino - Max weight, 11 lb

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Polish - Max weight, 3.5 lb

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Rex - Max weight, 10.5 lb

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Rhinelander - Max weight, 10 lb

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Satin - Max weight, 11 lb

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Satin Angora - Max weight, 9.5 lb

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Silver - Max weight, 7 lb

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Silver Fox - Max weight, 12 lb

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Silver Marten - Max weight, 9.5 lb

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Standard Chinchilla - Max weight, 7.5 lb

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Tan - Max weight, 6 lb

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Thrianta - Max weight, 6 lb

All information found at ARBA.net

There are many other breeds out there unrecognized by ARBA, such as the Enderby Island Rabbit, the Lionlop, Continental Giant, and the Cashmere Lop.
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Rabbit Myths

Myth #1
Rabbits can be weaned at 3-4 weeks and given away.

The Truth: This is a horrid myth. Even though baby bunnies start nibbling on solid food at four weeks, they are not ready to leave their mother until 8 weeks. They still need the nutrients from their mother’s milk to build up their immune systems.

Myth #2
Rabbits are rodents.

The Truth: While originally classified as rodents, rabbits were found to be so distinctive as to have their own separate category, Lagomorpha, above all because they have two more incisor teeth than rodents. Lagomorphs are separated into two families: pikas and rabbits/hares.

Myth #3
A rabbit and a hare are the same thing.

The Truth: Hares differ from rabbits in that they don't dig burrows and their young are born more mature. Rabbit young, or kits, have a gestation of approximately 28-31 days. They are born naked and blind and require a period of time to grow in a safe nest before they can run. The hare, on the other hand, is born after a gestation of approximately 42 days. The young, called leverings, are born fully furred, eyes open, and they are ready to run immediately after birth.

Myth #4
Domestic rabbits can interbreed with hares and cottontails

The Truth: Hares (Lepus) have 24 pairs of chromosomes while the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus) has 22 and the cottontail (Sylvilagus) has 21 pair. While mating is possible between the different species, the resulting embryos will die after a few cell divisions because of the differences in the number of chromosome pairs. The Domestic Rabbit can breed with the wild European Rabbit though, for that is the rabbit that had been domesticated to create the domestic rabbit we know now. It is not recommended.

Myth #5
Rabbits are soundless animals.

The Truth: So many non-rabbit people are amazed when they hear that rabbits make a lot of noise. From the angry grunt to the happy murmuring while they eat, they are filled with sounds!

Myth #6
Rabbits are "dirty" and smelly creatures.

The Truth: No, it is the people who do not clean the cages often enough. Rabbits will normally go in one corner of their cage and can be litter-box trained.
Due to the fact that the rabbit is a "prey" animal, it instinctively keeps its home clean to prevent a build-up of odor that would reveal its location. When confined to a cage, rabbits usually will pick one spot in the cage and will continuously use it as their "potty" spot. Observant owners can watch this potty spot to help keep track of their animals' health.

Myth #7
Netherland Dwarfs are nasty-tempered and unsuitable for children.

The Truth:[/i There are a few evil-tempered ones, but then again that is true for any breed! Just like any other pet, a rabbit lives as it is treated. A rabbit that is handled gently and carefully will be a happy rabbit and a joy to handle. A rabbit that is treated roughly will be a frightened rabbit and will respond in kind. The breed of the rabbit bears little influence on how it develops.

Myth #8
All rabbits are easy to breed regardless of breed.
The Truth: There are several difficulties with breeding most of the smaller breeds. I've met young people who purchase a pair of dwarfs, expecting them to produce "like rabbits." Many factors are involved in producing a live litter, which most people don't realize.

Myth #9
A doe will kill her babies if you touch them.

The Truth: A doe rabbit that is used to being handled won't object to her owner handling her kits in most cases. But on occasion, you do find the over-protective mother who doesn't want anyone touching her kits. Each rabbit has to be considered individually.

Myths found from Rabbitweb.net
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Rabbit Language

Stamping or drumming with the hind feet:
This is an expression of fear, a threatening gesture, or a warning. Wild rabbits drum the ground loudly with their hind legs at the approach of an enemy, thus warning their fellows, which then disappear into their burrows with the speed of lightning.

Lying flat on the ground with ears folded flat:
This posture, in which a rabbit hopes to become invisible, is assumed at the sudden appearance of danger or in response to unexpected, loud noises. But watch out if your rabbit assumes this posture indoors. It may break into panicked flight and run straight into a wall.

Raising up on the haunches:
A rabbit not only gets a better view of its surroundings in this posture; it also can sniff out scent sources better, see behind visual obstacles (as in tall grass), and hear better. Rabbits also rise up onto their hind legs to reach tempting food, such as tender young shoots on branches. A rabbit in a cage will rise up or jump up happily when it sees its caretaker approach with food.

Rolling on the ground:
This is an expression of well-being.

Relaxed squatting with ears folded back:
This is a resting posture. Sometimes rabbits also move their jaws contentedly, as though chewing. Don't disturb your rabbit when it is in this mood.

Lying on the side with one leg outstretched and eyes falling shut:
The animal wants to go to sleep. Rabbis often lie down like this when they are exhausted. Sometimes, if they are to hot or have been running hard, they stretch out both hind legs.

Light nudging with the nose:
Sometimes this is merely a gesture of greeting, but it can also be a request to be petted.

Brief shaking of the ears:
I have observed this behavior mostly in larger breeds with long ears like Silas. It means "That's enough!" Rabbits do it after being brushed or shorn of if they have been held to long.

Licking of the hand:
This means "Thank you" or "I like you." Sometimes, once they have started licking while being petted, they get carried away and go on to lick the floor after they have withdrawn your hand. Rabbits also express affection toward each other by mutual licking.

Tense body, straight tell, head stretched forward, ears pointing straight ahead:
This posture expresses concentration, curiosity, and, at the same time, caution. Rabbits meeting for the first time assume this stance before sniffing each other. Watch out: If the rabbit now folds its ears back, the mood has turned aggressive. Attack and biting may follow.

Rubbing the chin against things:
The rabbit is marking the objects with a substance, odorless to humans, which is produced by a scent gland under the tongue and secreted through pores underneath the chin. It is a rabbit's way of marking territory and announcing to its fellows: "This belongs to me."

Digging and scratching:
The rabbit is trying to construct a burrow. This behavior is very pronounced in does that are in heat or pregnant. But sometimes digging simply indicates a desire for physical affection, "Keep on petting me!" My doe Mohole also scratches in her litter box when she detects an unfamiliar smell there of she doesn't approve. Excited bucks also scratch the ground, for instance at the approach of a rival.

Soft squeaks and other noises while the rabbit is being pet or eating. It means they’re content or happy. Some make this noise, some do not.

Loud grunting:
Your rabbit is pissed off. Could be something you did, could be cage aggression. They could be grunting at another rabbit.

Soft Grunting:
This indicates happiness. Often, the rabbit will run circles around you and poop around you. That is called the love dance, but sometimes they just grunt softly while hopping to you.

Loud squeaking:
This indicates fear.

Loud grinding of the teeth combined with a dull look in the eyes and general apathy:
This is always a sign of terrible pain, as when a rabbit has tympanites. It should not be confused with soft teeth-grinding sounds produced when the jaws move as in chewing, which expresses a feeling of comfort and is displayed primary when you scratch a rabbit on the back of the neck.

Soft teeth-grinding sounds:
This is called the “tooth-purr”. It’s similar to a cat’s purr, but it is done by the rabbit grinding their teeth softly together as if they were chewing. Should not be confused with the loud teeth-grinding of pain.

High-pitched screams:
This sound is produced only in a state of mortal terror or under excruciating pain.

Flopping completely on side:
This is called the "Dead Bunny Flop". Many first-time bunny owners think their rabbit is dead. It just means they are very content.

Biting something and throwing it:
It means they want it OUT OF THEIR WAY.
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Walking Your Bunny

You can walk your bunny. But you have to be very careful and let your bunny lead you.
If your rabbit freaks out or pulls too hard, they could seriously hurt themselves, or get loose and run off.

The right harness is key to this.

You should not be walking your bunny on a string harness or a normal collar.

The best type of harness to use is this kind:

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It is the kind I use.

Sure, pet stores sell "special rabbit harnesses", but those are often restricting and scare the rabbit. They think a predator has caught them.

Make sure the harness looks like the one above if you get it, and not like the two below.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
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Why NOT to get a Bunny for Easter!!

Contrary to Easter-time hype, rabbits and small children aren't a good match. The exuberance of even the gentlest toddler is stressful for the sensitive rabbit.

Children like a companion they can hold, and cuddle. That's why stuffed animals are so popular. Rabbits are not passive and cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and insecure when held and restrained. The result of a short-sighted purchase of an Easter rabbit: the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned.

Easter bunnies soon grow large and reach adolescence. If left unneutered they will chew, spray or dig. Many end up neglected or abandoned. The result? Humane organizations such as House Rabbit Society see a huge increase in the number of abandoned rabbits after Easter. Help us stop this yearly cycle by educating yourself and others!

Know the Facts.

-Rabbits are not "low-maintenance" pets, and are a poor choice as a pet for children.

-They have a lifespan of 10 years and require as much work as a dog or cat.

-Your home must be bunny-proofed, or Thumper will chew cords and furniture.

-Rabbits must be neutered or spayed or they will mark your house with feces and urine.

-They should live indoors, as members of the family.

Clearly, rabbits aren't for everyone!!!

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