Cute & small, but the responsibility of owning a rabbit isnt all small & cute. We have met many kinds of bunny owners over the years, and many who wanted to get a rabbit because its small and cute.. Ask any rabbit owners and they will tell you that keeping a rabbit isnt quite what they had expected, for many reasons.
Im not going to sugar-coat here but here’s some honest truth that any newbie might find useful or bubble-bursting.
1. Rabbits are generally not recommended for young children, unless the parents are responsible main caretakers.
Rabbits are associated with many children’s items and Easter and toys... but they live for 8-10years or more, longer than the usual lifespan of a kids’ toy in your home. They need to eat, pee, poop and hence need cleaning up. They have emotions, they get sick and need vet visits. Thats amounting to having a little kid in the house. Rabbits do not stay still for children to tug, pull around, chase, scream at... they run, they kick, they scratch, they can scream really really loud too.
2. Rabbits are fragile animals, not that they break easily (but they can break their bones from improper handling, unsuitable housing conditions or falling).
They need a close eye as they get gastrointestinal problems easily. Gut Stasis (GI Stasis) is probably the number one cause of death in rabbits and it can happen really randomly. Most vets will tell u that rabbits are unpredictable.. i have seen really well cared-for young adult rabbits suddenly get onset of GI stasis, go to vet within a day and still not make it.. Stress from unfamiliar or loud noise can cause heart attack (im serious it does happen) or throw them into stress mode which can lead their gut processes to change.. Changes in environment, changes in food or incorrect diet can also cause problems in the gut. Bloat and is also another common gut issue in rabbits. Ingesting too much fur can also cause gut problems. Rabbits can die as fast as within 2 hours from onset of any problems.
3. Fur. Rabbits are full of fluffy fur. And all of the coat will shed.
Because Singapore is really hot and we have temperature fluctuations through the year, rabbits typically shed a full coat 2-3 times a year here recently. Each shedding can last from 1-3months, remember they shed a full coat, thats every portion of their body must change a new coat. We mainly groom rabbits and I cannot tell you how many owners have been telling me that their rabbits never ever stops shedding.. These rabbits are healthy and without skin issues, but they still shed throughout. Some rabbits are born with denser coats, these are the usual heavy all-year-round shedders. Getting a short hair rabbit doesnt mean they dont shed, they do, just that the fur looks shorter.. infact the long coat angoras fur isnt quite as dense as the short coated holland lops / netherland dwarfs. You will need to brush them weekly or more often to help remove the coat, to prevent ingestion of the fur or tangling of the fur. Yes short hair rabbits can get very very tangled too. When they lick themselves, their fur can stick together, or when they step/sit on pee/poo their fur can stick together and get messy.. (Like dogs, rabbits need grooming too. Their nails typically need trimming every 2-3months to prevent overgrowing and breakage). That said, I personally have rabbits that shed once or twice a year, shedding only lasts for a week - but that’s because we have them kept in a constant aircon temperature 24/7.
4. Rabbits Bite. I kid u not.
Every animal with teeth has the potential to inflict a bite wound. In the wild, a rabbit’s only defense instinct is to run, kick & scratch and bite when cornered. At home, rabbits can potentially turn territorial and start to bite to protect its territory or spray pee/leave pee or poo markings around the floor to mark its territory. Some guard their belongings and claim their space, any intruder (be it another animal, a hand, a leg) is to be warned and chased away. This is something that cannot be predicted when young. This usually happens when they enter maturity above 4months old. Some start younger, some becomes aggressive as age progresses about 1 year and up, some bite when theres the scent of other rabbits. Some bite out of fear. Many owners deal with this by changing their habits and approach towards their rabbit, but doesnt mean the rabbits wont attack anymore, the owners just do things differently to prevent the rabbit from getting into biting mode. Some sterilise their rabbits to minimise the territorial behaviours..
5. They get sick too. Vet bills are expensive.
Rabbits are live animals and can fall sick as do humans. But note that they are considered exotic animals, not all vets are well-versed in handling rabbits. Only a select few veterinarians in Singapore are rabbit savvy. You may text us to find out a list of reccomended vets or you may do a google search online.
So unless you’re ready to welcome all these, I’d suggest that its better to hop over to someone’s house and play with their bunnies instead of keeping one haha. Despite all these, really, keeping a bunny is a really rewarding experience. They can be trained to do tricks like dogs, oh check out my little Jingle doing tricks in the video link below! Rabbits have emotions too! Our kids come cuddle with us when we come home, come when called. All rabbits have the different personalities and love us in different ways, but we embrace all the same lah, some prefer to give me their butt, some prefer to lick me, follow me around, some prefer to just lay beside my lap...
Jingle’s little Tricks. Comes naturally, learned to “spin” in 2 hours and “stand” the next day in another 2 hours.