Rabbits are NOT toys. Rabbits are NOT boring. Rabbits are NOT just visual pets. Rabbits are DEFINITELY NOT easy cheap start up pets for children.
So, what is so great about them? I spoke to a handful of serious rabbit owners to find out. I asked each of them to give me one adjective to describe a part of their rabbit’s character that they love, this is the list and the comments they came up with:
PLAYFUL. Always throwing toys about and dashing through their tunnels.
INTELIGENT. They know when it’s cleaning out time and exactly when their food should be served. It doesn’t take them long to work out where you’ve hidden their favourite treat!
LOVING. My rabbit snuggles up to me when I sit down on the floor with her. Happy, sad or stressed after a hard day at work, she seems to always understand my mood.
LOYAL. They learn to trust their owners and form a really close bond with their “special” human companion.
ACTIVE. Hopping around in the run, climbing on to their lookout box, playing hide and seek with each other in their tunnels. Scratching about in the digging tray and looking for tasty treats.
HEARTWARMING. Watching two closely bonded bunnies grooming and comforting each other.
REWARDING. When they dash out to greet you and you just know that you’re their special friend.
CHALLENGING. Gaining their trust initially or bonding newly introduced rabbits. Teaching them tricks.
RELAXING. Some rabbits really enjoy being groomed, it’s very therapeutic gently combing through their fur.
SOCIABLE. My rabbits love the company of their special rabbit friends and me, their owner. Such good companions.
COMPLEX. Caring for rabbits is really interesting when you learn about their diet and how their digestive system works. Watching their different behaviours and “reading” their body language makes you understand just how complicated these gentle souls are.
AMUSING. I love to see them playing or both trying to eat the same piece of cabbage even though there’s plenty for all. Seeing a really happy bunny suddenly leap into the air and twist around. That’s “binkying,” it means ‘Hey life is great, I’m having the best time ever”.
There you have it, just some of the reason serious rabbit owners love their pets so much. To understand rabbits, you have to know rabbits. Keeping them in a tiny hutch at the back of the shed is NOT acceptable. You have to give them space to express normal behaviour, toys etc. to keep them amused, regular health checks and annual vaccinations at the vets, understand their dietary needs and most of all you must give them your time and company.
With an average life expectancy of 10 years, choosing a rabbit as your own or your families pet is just as big a commitment as choosing a dog or a cat. Children can have a lot of fun interacting with the rabbit(s) and learn a lot about pet ownership from helping YOU, as the responsible adult, to care for the rabbit. Ultimately though, just as with a dog or a cat or any other pet, YOU must have the time and resources to take on the responsibility of caring for the rabbit for many years.
Rabbits are a lot of fun given the right environment to behave naturally. They can even bring out the creative side of your own personality if you decide to design a bespoke shelter and run for them. They are wonderful companion pets and thrive on company, a proper diet and loads of love and attention.