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Rabbit Information Directory - Part 1

The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is the only species of rabbit to be domesticated. All pet breeds of rabbits, such as dwarf lops, are of this species. However, rabbits and humans interact in many different ways beyond domestication. Rabbits are an example of an animal which is treated as food, pet, and pest by members of the same culture.



Rabbit Information

So You Want A Rabbit?

Are you thinking about getting a rabbit as an animal companion? More and more people are selecting rabbits as an alternative to dogs and cats. While rabbits require daily care, they do not bark or need to be walked frequently like a dog, and they are more social than a cat. They are prey animals and should be kept in the house where they will be protected from predators. Rabbits are self-cleaning like cats, are easily litter box trained, and respond well to a loving home environment. They fit into most lifestyles because rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are most active in the morning and evening. Rabbits are not usually recommended for children under 8 years of age because of the child's loud voice and activity level which can cause stress to the rabbit. In addition, rabbits are not fond of being picked up or held because they are prey animals and believe a predator is grabbing them. In time, and with trust and patience, a rabbit may tolerate being held. As you can tell, rabbits are not for everybody and it is a good idea to learn about them and their care before getting one. The following information will help you decide if a rabbit is the correct animal companion for you.

Daily Rabbit Care:

Diet--A rabbit's diet should be made up of good quality pellets, fresh hay (grass or timothy), water and fresh vegetables.

Pellets should be fresh and high in fiber (at least 18%). Do not use pellets sold in plastic bags or cardboard boxes that pet shops and grocery stores sell since these may have been sitting in warehouses for a long time. Fresh pellets can be purchased at feed stores and some pet supply stores in bulk. Even fresh pellets can go stale after 2 months, so just buy 2 months worth at a time. Pellets should be limited in amount, as the rabbit grows older. To replace the nutritional value without the calories, increase the vegetable serving.

Vegetables should be fresh and crisp. Look for a selection of different varieties of dark, green leafy veggies and root veggies such as carrots, and green leaf lettuce. Stay away from beans and rhubarb. For a complete list of veggies please click on "Diet".

Hay (not cubes) is essential to a rabbit's good health and should be available 24 hours a day. It provides roughage that reduces the risk of G.I. stasis (see Grooming below). A rabbit younger than 6 months should have alfalfa hay, but an older rabbit should have grass hay or timothy hay because it has fewer calories and calcium content than alfalfa hay.

Water should be fresh and changed twice a day. Rabbits prefer a water bowl to a water bottle. If you decide to use a bottle instead of a bowl, check the sipping tube by bumping your finger against it to see if the water will come out. If water is not available, the rabbit will stop eating so it’s imperative you pay strict attention to it. The water container should be washed daily.

Treats such as bananas or apples should be given in small amounts and only on occasion. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and will consume sugary foods to the exclusion of healthy ones. Avoid giving a rabbit chocolate, cookies, crackers, cereal, bread or other "human treats". These items may contribute to fatal cases of enterotoxaemia, an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in the gut.

Page Two >



More Rabbit Information

Rabbit Breeds
Research into the many beautiful breeds of rabbit available for your enjoyment.

Rabbit Breeders
Arranged by state, locate a qualified breeder in your area.

Bloating in Rabbits
Read a great in-depth article by Linda Seeman, MSN, on GI Stasis and it’s effect on your rabbit.

More Rabbit Information
Rabbit Breeds
Research into the many beautiful breeds of rabbit available for your enjoyment.
Rabbit Breeders
Arranged by state, locate a qualified breeder in your area.
Bloating in Rabbits
Read a great in-depth article by Linda Seeman, MSN, on GI Stasis and it’s effect on your rabbit.

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