Rabbits can come in many different colors and sizes, from a 2 pound dwarf, to the 20 pound Flemish Giant. Rabbits also come in a variety of hair length like these Angora rabbits which require hair trimming a minimum of once a month.
1. Do you want a long-term relationship with a pet? Rabbits can live 10 years or even longer. Don’t get a rabbit if you aren’t willing to make a long term commitment.
2. Rabbits are happiest and healthiest as house pets. Summer and winter’s extreme temperatures and spring and fall’s sudden, drastic temperature changes make survival difficult for outdoor rabbits. Natural predators including dogs, cats, raccoons, hawks, owls, and snakes are also a serious threat to rabbits left outdoors at night.
3. If someone in your family has allergies, think carefully before adopting a rabbit. Many people who are allergic to dogs/cats are not allergic to rabbits. Be aware that hay, an important part of a rabbit’s diet, can irritate allergies. If you want a rabbit and are concerned about allergies, check with your doctor or contact the House Rabbit Society and arrange to visit one of our foster homes.
4. In addition to food and water, rabbits need daily exercise, affection, and companionship. They should not be caged 24 hours a day. If your rabbit will spend a lot of time in a cage, be sure it is at least 4′ x 4′ x 2′.
5. Be aware that all baby rabbits are small but not all breeds stay small. Most adult domestic rabbits are larger than wild rabbits you may be used to seeing. Do research on breeds before you decide, and do not rely on a pet store to provide accurate information.
6. If you have small children, a larger rabbit is a better choice for several reasons. Most rabbits do not like to be picked up and all rabbits can be seriously injured if handled improperly. A child is less likely to be able to pick up a large rabbit against its will. Many larger breeds have especially gentle, mellow personalities that make them good with children.
7. Rabbits can coexist happily with other pets, including dogs and cats. However, if you have an aggressive dog or cat, don’t get a rabbit. No matter how gentle your dog or cat is, careful supervision is critical.
8. Unless you are willing to tolerate dramatic personality changes at puberty, don’t get a rabbit less than a year old. Adolescent rabbits are every bit as difficult as teenage children. Older rabbits that have been neutered/ spayed are easier to litter train, are more social, and chew less than younger, unaltered rabbits.
9. Consider adopting a pair of rabbits. Single rabbits are more likely to be bored and get into trouble. Two rabbits who have not been raised together need to introduced slowly and should be carefully supervised at first. A neutered male and female will normally accept each other more easily than will neutered same-sex pairs. A bonded pair of rabbits will entertain and provide companionship for each other.
10. Remember that domestic rabbits are completely dependent on humans for survival. If you discover you can’t care for your pet rabbit, do not turn it loose – it will not survive. Domestic rabbits do not know how to hunt for food or to protect themselves from predators. If you decide you must get rid of your pet rabbit, please contact the Missouri House Rabbit Society at 816-356-3900 for information on how to find a home for your rabbit.