Ugly things u probably didn't know about Rabbits
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 owner 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. (I know we sell rabbits yet I'm seemingly talking about such things to "scare" away potential buyers. Even my mum thinks I'm crazy to be so upfront about the drawbacks of owning a rabbit, because she thinks I "write until so scary, later nobody want to buy, how?". But I think I have the responsibility to let anyone know what you will have to deal with, (if you are seriously considering a rabbit, beyond that cuteness).
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. That's 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 1 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 is also another common issue in rabbits. Ingesting too much fur can also cause problems. Rabbits can die as fast as within 2 hours from onset of any problems. Other unpredictable things like liver lobe torsion (where the liver twists and constricts on its own with no apparent reason), will cause death if surgery is not done asap. Surgery for liver lobe torsion goes above $5k.
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, sometimes 4. Each shedding can last from 1-3months. Remember they shed a full coat, that is- every portion of their body- must change to a new coat.
We mainly groom rabbits and I cannot begin to tell you how many owners have been complaining that their rabbits never ever stops shedding.. These rabbits are healthy and without skin nor health 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 angora's fur isnt quite as dense as the short coated holland lops / netherland dwarfs. You will need to brush all rabbits 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).
Rabbit above is a short coated holland lop rabbit.
Many people may think short coat rabbits are easy to handle and they dont need brushing unlike long coated rabbits.. but unfortunately the reality is this, all animals can potentially get this tangled and dirty if not cared for meticulously.. their housing set up, daily maintenance and cleanliness is important.. if something is not working, its nots going to magically get better. U need to think of how u can change its housing or retrain your rabbit to aid in easier maintenance in future. Sometimes its not as simple as - letting your rabbit get super dirty then just send to the groomers.... Honestly i dont think these rabbits appreciate being held for hours to remove all these tangles and stains.. the rabbits shouldnt have to go through such agony if more care was taken to manage it early.
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.
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic rabbit. Unless you are referring to a totally HAIRLESS rabbit. Even rabbits with the shortest coat - the mini rex, will shed.
Castor color young Mini Rex rabbit above. Just started his shedding cycle. The owners asked us to brush out as much coat as possible cos there is too much fur dropping in the house! So u see, mini rex although super short coated, they shed alot too, as long as the rabbit has fur, it will drop regardless of length. By the way do u know that mini rex have a denser coat than other rabbits (that is what make its fur so velvety textured), which means even more fur dropping!
Bunny above is an orange colored Netherland Dwarf. She's a healthy rabbit, not diseased ah. Just going through her usual shed cycle. the darker coat on her body are shorter looking- those are NOT shaved ah. Its the new emerging fur growing out. But because the old coat was not brushed out previously, so it stuck to the rabbit, and slowly drops around the house when the rabbit scratches itself or runs around. Or worst, the rabbit might eat the fur while it is grooming itself (licking her body). So we always advise to brush daily during shedding. This photo was taken after she was brushed thoroughly to remove all the loose coat. NOT shaved.
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 display aggressive behaviour 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 that doesnt mean the rabbits wont attack anymore- the owners just do things differently to prevent the rabbit from getting into biting mode. Or, or of working around to avoid getting bitten. Some sterilise their rabbits to minimise the territorial behaviours..
This is a photo a customer sent, of her toddler's finger that needed stitching after bitten by a 2month old baby dwarf bunny. Honestly we were not sure what the toddler did, other than knowing the daughter was crying for help. That rabbit was a very cuddly, relaxed and calm rabbit. We believe the rabbit was not trying to kill the finger, but most likely the child tried to put her finger into the rabbit's mouth. But as you can see, the damage is quite bad..
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 recommended vets or you may do a google search online. House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) or Bunny Wonderland website has quite a comprehensive list of vet and the kind of costs you can expect in general for treating a rabbit in Singapore.
Consultation alone easily costs $40 for the most affordable clinics. Nowadays, in order to get a more accurate understanding of your pet rabbit, it is advisable to do a blood test and Xray. Xray alone is $150 per view. Blood test about $100 plus.
Also, in the event they need hospitalisation, a stay in the rabbit specialist hospital can cost you $800-1000 per 1day. That is NOT including consultation about $200+ per 1 day, NOT including medications, syringes, procedures, and whatever other tests that may be needed.
It is really very expensive to upkeep a rabbit through its life... the bills easily outweighs the cost of the rabbit, r u prepared?
AT THE END OF THE DAY....
I guess its more about, "are you suitable for a rabbit?", rather than, "is the rabbit suitable for me?"...
So unless you’re ready to welcome all these I pointed out, 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 the overwhelming information, really, keeping a bunny is actually a very 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 running to us when we come home, "come" when called. All rabbits have 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, some prefer to be left alone and watch you from afar... BUT I MUST SAY THIS- rabbits generally do not love to be cuddled, they prefer being stroked more, but they can tolerate being held (some people have asked me for a rabbit that "love to be cuddled", but in all honesty, most rabbits dont exactly adore being hugged like a teddybear for hours... i know some dogs love it)
Jingle’s little Tricks. Comes naturally, learned to “spin” in 2 hours and “stand” the next day in another 2 hours. (having some issue locating the file after we did a relocation of the website, let me find it and reload later)