"The Bunny Guy"
- with -
His Three Bunnies
Lucy, Ricky, and Star
|My House Rabbit Philosophy
I am not going to pull any punches regarding this subject. All the information I share is only in regard to house rabbits and does not apply to “backyard” bunnies. If you are stubbornly clinging to some notion that an outdoor rabbit can live as happily, healthily, and safely as one who lives inside, then this website is not for you. My whole purpose is to explain to you how to successfully adopt, live with, and care for a house rabbit—in other words, a rabbit that is kept inside the house (not in the garage, not in the basement, and not in some other building; strictly in your home with you).
One of the things that I feel very strongly about is that pet bunnies are indoor rabbits and livestock rabbits (rabbits raised for meat) live outdoors. If you are going to be companions with your pet rabbit, then he needs to be near you, interacting and enjoying life’s day-to-day moments. It is not enough to “go visit” your rabbit outside every day, because rabbits are social creatures. They crave company and social interaction. It is a big part of their natural life; wild rabbits commonly live in warrens of 100-150 bunnies.
A backyard bunny is a terribly lonely bunny, even if he is let out to run loose all day in the yard (which is another no-no). The thing your rabbit needs the most is attention and love. If you have ever watched two bonded rabbits together, they are constantly cuddling and grooming with each other. The natural way rabbits express happiness and love is by being close and giving and receiving attention. This is crucial to having a happy bunny.
When you relegate a rabbit to a lonely solo existence, you become out of touch with their feelings, needs, and important moments. This is not what having a companion is all about. As a good bunny caregiver, you’ll want to be constantly be in contact with your bunny in order to ensure your rabbit has everything he needs as well as to immediately be able to see if your bunny is not feeling well or is sick. While healthy, well-cared-for bunnies rarely get sick, it can happen, and it is imperative that you notice this right away to improve your pet’s chances of surviving the illness. Rabbits can become extremely sick and even die in as few as 24 hours from some relatively common situations.
When you consider that around 80% of all pet rabbits live in the backyard with most in appalling conditions, you can see why I felt compelled to write a book and undertake the huge job of trying to educate millions of people that rabbits are INDOOR pets.
It is truly sad that so many rabbits do not live as many years as they could and that most are relatively unhappy because they are lonely and neglected. Even worse is the well-meaning rabbit owners who forgo even putting their backyard bunny into a cage, thinking that he is happier running around free in the back yard. This never ends well and the story I have heard over and over from dozens of people when asked, "What happened to that bunny?" and the answer is always the same... "Well, he just disappeared one day".
How can a person who cares at all about their rabbit accept a thing like that? What is the difference between a cat or a dog going outside and getting eaten by a coyote or other predator? Would that be as accepted?
We have a long way to go before rabbits are getting even close to the same humane treatment that is now common for cats and dogs. All too often, rabbits are thought of a cheap throw-away pets. If one is lost, then another can be obtained inexpensively at the local pet shop or breeder.
I feel that part of the reason for this is that people do not make an attachment to a pet rabbit unless he lives indoors where his brilliant and amiable personality can be experienced. So many people never get to know their rabbits and think they are dull and have no personality, when in reality exactly the opposite is true. Once rabbits are universally kept indoors, their owners will begin to think differently about them as pets.
This time is a long way off in the future, but those of us who understand these things can make a difference through education. Teaching our children is the first thing that we must do. They are the future generation and therefore are where we should be concentrating our efforts.
Banning classroom rabbits is a big start. Unfortunately, almost all children are exposed at one time or another to the "classroom bunny". For many this is their first exposure to pet rabbits. Virtually all classroom bunnies are not properly housed or cared for. They are either left alone each weekend or during school vacations or worse, they are sent home with a child who has no experience in rabbit care and whose home is certainly not bunny-proofed. This is the wrong message to give to kids about rabbits.
Rabbits are fragile high maintenance pets and I am sure this is not what the children are learning from having a caged bunny in their class. It would be nice if they were learning the proper way to feed and house a rabbit, but this rarely occurs.
There are a few teachers who personally take their rabbits home each evening and that do teach the proper things about rabbits, but they are one in a hundreds. For 99% of bunnies who live in a school, this is not the case. While I applaud those teachers who do teach the right thing, I want to emphasize that this is very rare.
What are your children learning at school? If you were to investigate, I bet you would find at least one small critter living somewhere in your child's school. This horrible practice will only stop, when we as parents insist on it. Visit your kid's class and bring this subject up with his teacher if he is keeping animals in the classroom. Teach your children the message that animals should not be owned unless they are going to receive the proper care, feeding and medical attention they need, otherwise it should not be adopted in the first place. This is teaching responsibility and will help change how future generations think about their pets.
The Bunny Guy