Tuesday, 5 March 2013

#Bringing #Home the #Bunny: #Cages & #Rabbit #Rooms

Bringing Home the Bunny

By Stacey Gonzalez



Photo by Stacey Gonzalez Copyright©
They are cute and cuddly and can be fun to watch as they play and hop for hours. Rabbits are gentle, social creatures with big personalities, and even bigger popularity with pet parents.

These little cuties are commonly thought of as part of the rodent family, but they are in fact lagomorphs.

There is also a misconception that small animal pets such as rabbits are low cost and low maintenance. But just like dogs and cats, these pets require regular veterinarian check-ups and have their own specific needs. Rabbits are often adopted at Easter time and given as gifts- unfortunately, many of these rabbits end up in shelters. Commonly thought of as a low maintenance pet, rabbits actually require as much care as a cat or dog.

All that aside they are playful, spontaneous and sometimes mischievous creatures with big hearts. They love human affection and companionship and can be great pet partners in crime. These are the realistic and important facts a first-time rabbit owner must know when welcoming the new pet into the family.
Cages and bunny rooms
Rabbits are very social and can be kept in pairs, but it is important to keep unneutered males and females separated since rabbits can reproduce quickly. Rabbits need a cage that is 30” x29” x18” minimum- or six times the size of your rabbit-  and if you have multiple rabbits the cage should be much bigger. Multi-level cages are a great way to keep your rabbit exploring and encourage active play.
It is best to use a pet-specific cage- the rabbit could chew the cage bars and pet cages don’t use materials such as lead and zinc that are harmful if ingested. The cage should have a solid bottom but no wood- it absorbs the animal's waste and is impossible to clean. Wire bottoms can cause foot deformities and arthritis. Rabbits will chew anything in their home so the bottom should be a pet-friendly plastic.
The wire spacing of the cage should be small enough that the bunny can’t get a foot or paw caught in between the bars. Some pet owners allow their rabbits to roam free in their own bunny-proofed room. If you chose to do this it is best to get a pet fence to keep the rabbit from chewing any harmful materials. Some rabbits will chew anything which can include molding or walls. The floor of the bunny-proofed room should be kept clean. It is almost guaranteed that the rabbit will rearrange its home- rabbits like their habitat a certain way and love flipping things around.
There are pet owners that keep rabbits outside as they do not need to hibernate in the winter but rabbits are prey animals so there is a chance it could be attacked by another animal. Outdoor rabbits are also more prone to diseases so frequent trips to the vet and keeping up to date with vaccinations is very important.
Now that you have a home for your bunny its time to turn it into a suitable habitat for your new pet. All that will be covered in the next article Bringing Home the Bunny: Habitat and Homemaking.

Everything you need to know about adopting a rabbit!

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