Rabbits make wonderful pets and are suitable for people who enjoy playful, fascinating, and independent pets at home.
They are the most common form of a pet found in homes today. Over 1,534,000 US households keep 2,244,000 rabbits as pets. However, although they are the third most popular companion animal in the US, they also make the third most abandoned pets.
Many rabbits land up in shelter and animal rescue every year, incredibly a few weeks after Easter!
Why are rabbits mostly abandoned?
One of the significant problems is overbreeding of rabbits. Breeders often encourage an overpopulation crisis in shelters and rescues for producing animals with a particular set of physical traits.
Moreover, rabbits aren't short-lived, low-maintenance, or cheap pets. They require a lot of care and high cost, which most pet owners are unaware of. Hence, most pet rabbits are abandoned during the few months after Easter.
When rabbits reach puberty (at five eight months), they begin displaying unwelcome behavior such as spraying, poor litter habits, aggression or fear, and chewing. Children often lose interest in fully-grown rabbits, which often becomes an expensive burden.
These are the primary reasons why rabbits are abandoned.
Why adopt an abandoned rabbit?
February has been proclaimed "Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month to raise awareness about rescuing and adopting rabbits."
If you love rabbits and are considering bringing a new pet, you should seriously consider adopting a rabbit. Adopting a rabbit saves two lives, the one being brought home and the one that will take its place to find its own home.
Adopting a rabbit also helps avoid costs that may include spaying/neutering and the first veterinary exam. Bringing in grown-up rabbits may also avoid the need for litter training and early socialization.
Currently, there are 50 breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association that come in all sizes and colors.
Things to Keep in Mind
Here are some essential things to keep in mind while adopting a rescued rabbit.
Owning a pet rabbit comes with added financial responsibility. Rabbits aren't cheap pets; they required proper housing, diet, house proofing, supplements, spay/neuter, and occasional veterinary bills.
Expect to pay $20-$40 for a store rabbit and $5-$20 for a rescued rabbit. The ongoing expenses will range from $20+ per month—the check-ups average $25-$55 per visit. For a high-quality pellet, hay, and fresh foods, a reasonable estimate is at least $25 per month.
Rabbits are social animals, and they enjoy being raised both outdoors and indoors. Housing for rabbits ranges from outdoor hatches to indoor cages.
Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and many enrichment activities; hence a homely environment is essential to keep them indulged at all times. They should also have regular access to a secure outside area.
You can let them accessible when you have successfully bunny-proofed your house.
When you bring a bunny home, you must consider bunny proofing your house to keep both your things and bunny safe. Rabbits are curious animals, and they enjoy nibbling on almost everything they may find.
Rabbit proofing your home involves three things:
- Preventing destruction of your property.
- Protecting your companion rabbits from harm.
- Providing safe and fun chewing alternatives for your rabbit.
Bunny proofing also prevents rabbits from chewing on electrical cords and being badly burned or electrocuted.
You'd need to keep your pet engaged, entertained, and indulged in preventing damages. Enrichment activities allow your pet to nibble on essential papers, rugs, and upholstery.
You must consider providing them with entertainment to keep them indulged. Keep empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products in their shelter so that they can nibble on them.
Pet rabbits need a high-fiber (18% to 22% DM), low-protein (12% to 16% DM) diet for maintenance. Timothy grass hay pellets should be fed for maintenance because they are lower in protein, calcium, and calories than alfalfa pellets.
Fiber is the most staple diet of rabbits; hence they must have access to unlimited grass hays at all times. Be prepared to spend at least $25 per month on high-quality pellet, hay, and fresh foods.
Children and Rabbits
Rabbits should be supervised when small children are around. The animal experts advise that because rabbits are physically delicate and require specialized veterinary care, they are not appropriate for families with young children.
What to Do If You Found a Stray Rabbit?
If you land up in a situation where you would rescue a stray rabbit, these are what you need to do.
Alert the animal rescue
The first thing you need to do is inform the veterinary clinic, shelter, or animal rescue around your area about the stray animal. The rescue center has likely heard about the stray rabbit.
Before you jump into rescuing the animal, you should keep the animal rescue in touch. They would likely send help immediately to bring the stray animal in their safe possession.
Capture the rabbit
If you've spotted the stray rabbit in your backyard, around the home, nearby park, or street, and are not quite sure what to do, the first order of business is to capture the animal and put it in a safe place.
It's often easier to lure young bunnies and catch it by hand, but most of the time, it will take a while. Place out water, food pellets, or fresh vegetable outside. Use a net to capture the rabbit, or in the meantime, call the animal rescue for help.
Determine the rabbit species
Rabbitrunaway.org.au recommends establishing whether the rabbit is either a bush rabbit, a baby hare (or leveret), or a domestic pet. Bushbabies and leverets are best left alone as their mothers or nests could be nearby.
It's better not to move the wild rabbits. However, you can keep checking every day to see if the mother has come back to feed the babies.
Assess the rabbit's health
WildlifeHotline.com offers advice on how you should check for dehydration to determine if the mother has fed the bunnies recently. The site also provides a checklist to help you assess the animal's wellbeing.
If you found a stray animal that shows signs of bleeding, difficulty breathing, parasites, or injury, the best thing is to take it to a veterinarian.
Keep the rabbit safe.
Once you have succeeded in capturing the rabbit, you should keep it safe until you take it to the animal center. A crate, a bathtub, or a large box can serve as a temporary home. Don't forget to bring a bowl of fresh water and fresh vegetables.
Adopting a rescued rabbit is way cheaper than purchasing from a breeder. Furthermore, the rescue centers can help match you to the right rabbit as they already know about their animals' personalities.
Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital, the best pet hospital in Urbandale.