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Bumblebee Bunny Rescues 26 Others

Bumblebee Bunny Rescues 26 Others

Things were hopping in Live Oak, California this week when a domesticated rabbit running loose prompted an animal control officer to do some sleuthing. The bunny zig zagged across the neighborhood lawns like a bumblebee and eventually led the officer to a backyard where he met another 26 rabbits who were the result of pet bunnies who had not been spayed/neutered.

All of the bunnies were surrendered on the spot and are safe now thanks to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and The Rabbit Haven, a rescue group that had close to 200 rabbits under its care before this latest influx. So what’s the real story here?

It would appear that education about pet rabbit care is still in its infancy. Too often pet rabbits become a backyard fixture, shut into tiny wire hutches as far away from the house as possible. Their guardians may occassionally visit the hutch with food and water, but what of the rest of bunny’s needs?

Bunnies will often enjoy the companionship of other pets

Here are six ways pet bunnies will surprise you:

1. They Wear Leashes: Many retailers offer bunny harnesses and leashes that offer bunny the freedom to enjoy some exercise and grazing time under close supervision. Alternatively, wire playpens can be set up with extensions to allow bunny to move about freely during times when their guardians are home and keeping a close eye on their wellbeing. Hawks can easily swoop into an open top pen, so be sure to never leave bunny unattended.

2. Think Green: The lovely little vegans need a variety of leafy greens and Timothy hay to maintain good health. The abrasive hay is especially crucial to keep the rabbit’s teeth from developing points that can cut the tongue and interior of their mouths. Some bunnies need regular vet visits to have their teeth filed. No bunny should be fed more than a tiny serving of pellet food each day as it should be no more than 10% of their diet.

3. Spay & Neuter Saves the Day: Altering rabbits is tremendously beneficial in reducing spraying, aggression and cancer of the reproductive organs in females.

4. They Will Electrocute Themselves:

Yes, it’s true, and while they don’t always get hurt, chewed cords can be a tremendous fire hazard. Any guardian of a house bunny will tell you that bunny-proofing is as critical as baby-proofing a home for a young child. Bunnies are known to chew through electrical cords, an act which mimics their wild behavior to chew through tree roots when creating a burrow. With a few special provisions, house bunnies can be treasured members of any household.

5. They Can Use a Litterbox: Bunnies prefer to live in a tidy environment and do not like their ‘belongings’ re-arranged. Establishing a fixed position for the litterbox, after letting bunny show you the preferred spot, can keep the floors spotless.

6. They Don’t Wish to Live in a Box: There’s no question that no bunny would choose to live his life within the confines of a small wooden box. Hutches deprive rabbits of all natural emotional and physical needs. These confinement cages are a throw back to a time when rabbits were a commodity, raised as meat.

For great tips on how to keep a pet bunny livin’ the good life, visit My House Rabbit.

Story brought to you by the Harmony Fund international animal rescue network.

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143 comments

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7:11AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:20PM PST on Feb 22, 2013

Darla, just WHERE did I suggest dogs or cats should be neglected? I doubt you read my comment properly.

1:38PM PST on Feb 22, 2013

Great story! I'm so glad the "bummblebee bunny" led the animal control officer to those other bunnies and they were rescued. As for the rest, great advice for people who want pet bunnies.
Diane L, cats and dogs cannot be neglected either. They may not be as sensitive as bunnies but they need love, care, and attention too.

5:55AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Good intuition!

5:03AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Re the need to keep electric cords away from bunnies, one website described it thus: "Bunnies are techies at heart. If there is a cord anywhere remotely close, they will find it and chew it."

5:01AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

One thing the article left out is that bunnies do best living indoors. It's fine to take them outside when they are supervised, but they should live indoors. This has a couple reasons.

For one thing, they are very sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures. They overheat or get hypothermia very easily. Unless you want to build them a condo with heater and A/C (which my cousin, whose teenage daughter is really serious about HHHH and showing her bunnies, did), keeping your bunnies outside could kill them. I actually ran my A/C for my bunnies long before I ever would have turned it on for myself!

But another big reason to keep bunnies inside is that they are the natural prey of just about everything. The article mentioned hawks, but there are other animals to worry about too, such as coyotes. And even if you have your bunny in a hutch that will keep other animals from getting to it, bunnies are so sensitive to the fear of predators that some have actually had heart attacks just out of the fear that they may become someone's dinner!

Most bunny rescue groups will not place a bunny in a home that does not keep the bunny indoors, and they also largely recommend the use of an "ex-pen" upon a rug or piece of carpet, with a corner dedicated to the litter box, which they very quickly pick up using.

6:57AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

People who falls in love with the tiny baby rabbits does not realize that having a pet rabbit at home is almost having another kid at home. Needs to clean their litter box daily and feed them daily and play time is also necessary. You cannot keep a bunny in a tiny cage locked up the whole life. I know these stuff because I had a Buuny and daily we took him out of his cage and allowed him free to run around & walke in the backyard garden. Another important factor is to spay/neuter the Bunny at the beginning. They can multiply pretty fast.

11:10PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

What a sweet story :)

2:42AM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

Well said, Julimar. That was indeed, my entire premise. The average person does not have the expertise to handle rabbits as pets in a humane way, and expects them to be like dogs or cats and they are not. You can't let them roam freely around the house, and if they are kept in cages, as was my own experience, even though they are handled daily and given all the necessities of life, INCLUDING pets and affection, they can react in a way to make them less desirable to their "handlers" as they are "prey" animals and are just merely being instinctive in their behavior. They then end up being abandoned or worse. Cats can be neglected to a certain extent and end up taking care of themselves (surviving) by hunting or scrounging for food. So can dogs, but a pet rabbit that is abandoned to fend for itself ends up food for something else most of the time. As you said, the "cutness" factor affects many species, but what is "cuter" than a baby bunny before Easter?

1:31AM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

Hi Diane,

I agree that people need to be educated regarding rabbits and all other pets. Often people will focus on the cuteness of pets only to find they require hard work. However, I think the comment that "for the most part, rabbits do not make good pets" can easily be taken out of context and does seem to generalize a bit. While I am immensely against people buying rabbits as pets, mostly because of the Easter fad, I can concur with many other rabbit owners that an adopted rabbit can be a great pet. In fact, most people I've met who told me about rabbits who were disagreeable had to admit these rabbits were in cages all the time! I think rabbits, although obviously not like dogs and cats, do make wonderful pets if cared for properly; the same goes for other species. Of course, you will find rabbits that are not good pets, but I can say the same about cats, guinea pigs, etc. I am glad many of us here agree that people need to be educated regarding the proper care of pets; I would also add educating about adoption.

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