Saturday, 28 July 2012

Keeping rabbits as pets

According to the RSPCA there are over a million rabbits kept as pets in the UK! If there were a league table of pets then this would put rabbits in third place behind dogs in 1st place and cats in 2nd (there is little to chose between these two in terms of numbers, however, the age old question and opinions are still strongly divided).

Traditionally a rabbit is often seen as a kids pet and one that does not need much looking after, this could not be further from the truth.

It is unreasonable and unfair to expect a child of any age to take care of a rabbit, saying that it is perfectly reasonable to lead the child to believe that he is the "owner" and that it is "his rabbit" this might help with the contribution of the upkeep of the animal, however, it is something you should always be overseeing.

Owning and caring for a rabbit is great fun and very rewarding, but it is a big responsibility and a long-term commitment in terms of care and finances, just how a child could finance the upkeep of a rabbit is an issue that I think most people would struggle to address!

One of the most important things to consider when getting a rabbit is if you will keep it indoors or outdoors in a hutch, rabbits are social animals meaning they ideally need the companionship of humans (but in some instances other animals are okay). The absolute best way to get to know your rabbit and give it the companionship it requires would be to keep it in the house so that you, your family and he rabbit can all experience one another and get to know one another, however, as rabbits are seen as traditional outdoor pets this is often not the perceived first choice and they can enjoy a happy life outside too.

Given the outline of rabbits liking human interaction above it also seems important to add, at this stage that many people are surprised and disappointed to find that rabbits rarely conform to the cuddly stereotype you pick up from kids stories. Rabbits but more particularly bunnies (and young adult rabbits) are too busy dashing madly about, squeezing behind furniture, and chewing baseboards and rugs to be held. Also, rabbits are physically delicate animals which means they can be hurt by children picking them up.

There have always been dog and cat people but I think that there are a lot of closet rabbit people out there too!

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