By April Overholser, Long Island Rabbit Rescue Volunteer
Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, but is a rabbit the right pet for you? Before you decide, consider some very important things:
Rabbits can live up to 10 or 12 years if they are well cared for. Be prepared for a long-term commitment.
Rabbits need indoor housing to stay protected from weather extremes, predators, and parasites. As prey animals, rabbits
can have heart attacks when predators are just nosing around their home! They are social animals who thrive with time
and attention. They need frequent monitoring, as they are good at hiding it when they are sick.
Rabbits require rabbit-savvy veterinarians. Considered “exotic” animals, their care can be more expensive (or at least harder to find). They need yearly vet visits for routine health care. They need to be spayed or neutered for health, behavior, and odor reasons. A spay or neuter of a rabbit can cost upwards of $400.
Rabbits require space to exercise, jump, stretch and play.
Rabbits don’t usually like to be picked up or held. They may scratch or bite when frightened. They have fragile spines that can easily fracture when they struggle to get away and can become paralyzed if dropped, so it is advisable that rabbits not
be (primarily) cared for or (ever) held by children.
Rabbits like to chew things so you need to be careful to “bunny proof” their area.
Rabbits require a special and strict diet consisting of unlimited grass hay, rationed pellets and leafy green vegetables.
Failure to provide a proper diet can result in digestive and dental diseases, obesity, sore hocks, and shortened lifespan.
Yet there are lots of reasons why rabbits are great pet for some people:
• They are highly social, interactive and entertaining.
• They can learn their name and can greet you with enthusiasm.
• They are very clean, they groom themselves and don’t require bathing.
• They are easily litter trained.
• They can live alongside some other pets in your home but only if your other pets have a low prey drive, and they should always be supervised.
• They can be good for their owners’ emotional health as they create a sense of calmness and tranquility.
• They are great pets for adults who work during the day because they are most active early in the morning, they nap during the day and they are active again in the evening.
Sadly, many people who purchase rabbits don’t adequately research what a rabbit needs and as a result, many rabbits are abused, neglected and abandoned. Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group rescues, rehabilitates and places these abandoned
rabbits in loving indoor homes, and we educate the public on proper rabbit care and the importance of spay/neuter.
We are sustained completely by tax-deductible donations.
If you think a rabbit is the right companion for you, adopt a rescued rabbit! When you adopt, you save 2 lives: the 1 you adopt and the 1 for whom you’ve opened a space. Contact us at LongIslandRabbitRescue.org.