9 Common Rabbit Myths
Think you know all about rabbits? You might be surprised by what’s a myth and what’s reality about these furry little friends. Check your knowledge below!
Myth 1: Rabbits are good, low-maintenance starter pets for kids
Reality: Parents should use caution when it comes to children and rabbits. The House Rabbit Society (HRS) advises that, despite their hearty appearance, rabbits are actually pretty delicate and fragile. So, young kids who are naturally rough and clumsy may hurt rabbits. A young child’s well-meaning affection might frighten the rabbit, and they may scratch or bite to protect themselves. Each year, says the ASPCA, thousands of rabbits are abandoned at animal shelters for this reason. And, children can accidentally drop a rabbit, causing the pet serious leg or back injury. The bottom line is that "a rabbit is an adult responsibility," according to the HRS.
Myth 2: Rabbits don’t live very long so they’re great short term pets
Reality: If you’re expecting a short-term commitment with your new bunny, you’re in for a surprise. According to the HRS, the average lifespan for a spayed or neutered house rabbit is 8-12 years. So get ready to start a retirement account for your bunny; he’ll be by your side for a while!
Myth 3: Rabbits don’t need to see regularly see the veterinarian
Reality: House Rabbit Society recommends taking your rabbit to the vet at least once a year, and twice a year for rabbits over 5 years of age. And, don’t forget to have your rabbit spayed/neutered. According to House Rabbit Society, this procedure prevents or solves many common behavior problems for rabbits, keeps the population from expanding and in some cases, keeps your rabbit healthier.
Myth 4: Rabbits should live outside in a hutch
Reality: Rabbits are social and are happiest living indoors with their families. Domestic rabbits are much different than wild rabbits, and they do not do well with extreme heat or cold. Even in a safe enclosure, rabbits can be scared literally to death by predators, according to the HRS. It can also be harder to observe your rabbit for subtle medical signs if he lives in a hutch rather than inside with the family.
Myth 5: Rabbits are dirty and smelly
Reality: By nature, rabbits like to be clean, and will do their best to keep their living environment clean too. According to the ASPCA, rabbits will usually even pick a corner of their cage as a bathroom to keep things contained.
Myth 6: Rabbits love to be picked up and cuddled
Reality: Given a rabbit’s delicate nature, House Rabbit Society advises that many rabbits do not like to be picked up and carried. And, if your rabbit is handled roughly by a child (or anyone else for that matter) they are more likely to scratch or bite.
Myth 7: Rabbits don’t require much space
Reality: Although rabbits are small they need room to roam, jump and play. If you keep your rabbit in a cage, the House Rabbit Society recommends the adage “bigger is better” and suggests providing a larger, safe (bunny-proofed) play area so they can get their exercise.
Myth 8: It’s okay to leave your rabbit alone while you travel
Reality: Absolutely not. Just like many pets, rabbits need daily attention. The House Rabbit Society recommends making plans for your rabbit when you’ll be away.
Myth 9: Rabbits eat carrots for every meal
Reality: Grass hay is a very important part of your rabbit’s diet. It helps keep their intestinal tract healthy. Unlimited hay should be available at all times. Rabbits also eat quality rabbit pellets and lots of dark green leafy vegetables. Of course, water is essential.
So how did you do? Armed with this knowledge, are you ready to adopt a bunny and bring him home to join your family?