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Pet Rabbit Essentials
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Mary: Okay so we’re talking today about what to consider before acquiring a rabbit. And I say acquiring rather than buying because many people buy rabbits from stores not realizing that you can adopt them from shelters or rescue groups. Really important thing to know because there was many, many rabbits who needs homes that are available in your local shelter or rescue group. As you adopted.
Amy: I went…my first rabbit I bought in a pet shop and then…
Mary: Oh, no way.
Amy: …and then all the information they had for bunnies was wrong.
Amy: So that’s also…we can talk about that later.
Mary: Your second rabbit…
Amy: I adopted from…
Mary: House Rabbit Society, yeah. And Amy’s rabbit is a beautiful rabbit now aged…
Mary: …12 we think about 12 years old. So what do you need to think about before you get a rabbit? A main thing to think about is how much space you have in your home for the rabbit. Not only for cages which should be generous in size. We recommend at least four times the body length of the rabbit when he’s stretched out but also space to exercise the rabbit outside the cage. You will need a rabbit proofed area and we’re doing another video on rabbit proofing so you’ll have information on that. But you’ll need a nice safe area to exercise the rabbit in where he can’t chew things that will hurt him or get him in trouble. And you need a place that has traction. If you have bare floors the rabbit will never run the way he will when he has traction and that’s why we like to show these rugs. These are nice cotton washable rugs that you can buy in lots of different stores and put them on top of your other rugs or on top of wood floors. If they slide on your wood floors you want to get a non-skid piece of rubber. You can get these in the dishware section of almost any home goods store. Keep the rugs from sliding around, give the rabbits traction.
Amy: Because otherwise if they don’t they’re backs are so fragile that they could break their backs.
Mary: They can skid and hurt themselves when they’re running. Another thing to think about is, do you have kids? And a lot of people think of rabbits as low maintenance starter pets for kids or as animated stuffed toys and they’re really not. These are very fragile animals and they’re prey animals which means everybody else is lunch in nature. These are animals that are very easily frightened and kids are naturally exuberant and spontaneous and all those wonderful things but that’ not good for a prey animal it makes them feel unsafe and unstable.
Amy: So get rid of your kids.
Mary: Get rid of your kids. Wait until your kids are a little bit older rather than getting rabbits for young kids. That’s a big consideration before you acquire a rabbit. Another one is the amount of time you have to spend. A lot of people think because you don’t have to walk rabbits the way you walk dogs that it’s no serious time expenditure. Talk to me about time expenditure.
Amy: Right, well yeah.
Mary: You spend a significant amount of time with your rabbit every day.
Amy: Keep it down, keep it down. Yeah I’m lucky I’m home a lot.
Mary: Exercising and massaging. Yeah that’s something people need to understand though. And another consideration is money. Rabbits don’t get like rabies vaccines and other vaccines that some other animals get that are common pets but they require veterinary care and the veterinary care for rabbits is often more expensive than very care for dogs and cats. And a lot of people think they’re getting a low budget pet when they’re getting a rabbit and it’s not low budget. Here in the New York area, for example just to spay or neuter a rabbit the cost can range into several hundreds of dollars and it’s very hard to find low cost alternatives because you can’t get the kind of certificates for rabbits that you can for dogs and cat