Are you thinking of adopting a rabbit for a pet? We don't blame you--rabbits are very cute animals, who can give you many years of affection and amusement.
However, be sure you are ready for the responsibilities of taking care of this animal. While they are certainly easier to manage than dogs, they still require some attention.
For example, rabbits molt four times a year, so be prepared for a little fur on your sofa every few months. They'll need hay, a litter box, and a cage (clean frequently with white vinegar to remove odors). If you use hay or woodstove pellets for their litter boxes, you can use these to fertilize your garden when it's time for a litter change.
When you own a rabbit, you need to accept that a little nibbling is part of the territory. Protect electric cords with casings (available at hardware stores) since the poor pets may get quite a shock if they try to test their teeth on them!
You should also be willing to pamper your rabbit with petting and play (rabbits get depressed if they don't get enough exercise). Rabbit gyms are available in pet stores. They have tube tunnels that will encourage your pet to run and race, even if you can't let him out in the garden. Those tube tunnels will also make an interesting conversation piece for your guests--talk about the "new" form of "installation art"!
Not all veterinarians are trained to take care of rabbits, who are considered "exotic pets"/ You may need to shop around and call various clinics, which are usually listed in the phone directory. The pet store may also refer you to veterinarians. .
And finally, if you have children, do talk to your pediatrician first before buying a rabbit. The doctor is in the best position to tell you whether your child has any allergies, asthma problems or other health concerns that may be aggravated by rabbit fur. It's better to be safe than sorry!
But these sacrifices are nothing compared to the benefits of having a pet rabbit. For one thing, your pet will inspire you to change your diet--since you have to keep a supply of fresh vegetables for him, you might as well make yourself a salad! Recent studies also reveal that owning a pet significantly reduces blood pressure and can even help with depression.
You don't need to take rabbits for a walk, or worry about the inconvenience of walking around with a "pooper scooper". Just let him out in the early morning or dusk, and watch him play while you enjoy a cup of coffee.
Nor do you have to worry about your rabbits disrupting the neighbors. They don't bark or meow, and the "loudest" they ever get is the patter of their feet on the floor. That makes them ideal pets for apartment dwellers.
Rabbits are also ideal pets for the elderly, who may not have the energy to take care of a very large animal. They love being petted and are the ideal "lap pets".