Rita Rabbit - Adopted from MADRAI had a number of rabbits as a child and I was lucky enough to recently adopt a fantastic rabbit named Rita(pictured left) from MADRA in Galway. Rita* is around six years old. She was left behind in a garden to fend for herself when her previous owners moved away. Not a great situation for a small creature to be in! Luckily she was picked up before she was harmed or killed. Rabbits can be a great pet if you know how to care for them.

 

*Rita turned out to be a Mr Rita Rabbit. He lived happily until January of 2017 when he died at the grand age of 10.  

Are Rabbits a good pet for a young child?

While I loved all the rabbits I had they are not really a good pet for a child. If they are not socialised very well they do not like to be picked up. Even when they are well socialised they don't like being held for long. I have been scratched and bitten by my lovely fluffy bunnies!

Work involved daily

There is a lot of cleaning involved! So if you have purchased a rabbit for your child expect them to get sick of cleaning up the hutch very quickly. Rabbits go to the bathroom a lot and even though they will generally pick one side of the hutch or run to do this in it does need to be cleaned up very regularly. Ideally their hutch will have a quick clean once a day and be fully cleaned once a week.  

 

Rabbit Enclosures 

A big mistake a lot of people make when buying rabbits is to buy a hutch and not adding a run. Rabbits like to run and hop so an ideal home for your rabbit will include enough space for them to do this. Rabbit Enclosures
If not you will have a very unhappy rabbit.

Rabbits also make great indoor pets and as they naturally chose one space in their house to use as a bathroom they can be easily toilet trained similar to cats. Rita loves nothing more than being inside and having a nice snooze by the fire.

 

Buying from Pet Shops

Pet shop rabbits are bought by the stores from rabbit breeders. They breed them for profit so they can have various health problems, one of the most obvious being problems with their teeth. At some point in her life Rita had to have her front teeth removed. If rabbit’s teeth don’t match up correctly they will protrude and need to be trimmed by a vet every few weeks. When the teeth are too bad they have to be removed fully.

What sex rabbit should I get?

Joey The RabbitRabbits love company but another problem when buying rabbits from a pet shop is that they generally advise buying two rabbits of the same sex to avoid breeding. Firstly it is very difficult to sex a rabbit so they often get this wrong. Secondly a male-male or female-female pairing is not generally advised. When they mature they will get territorial. If you want to have two rabbits it is best to have a neutered male and spayed female. Rabbits bond for life so it is nicer when they have a friend. Rita is too old to be spayed now and we did take in a rabbit named Joey (pictured right) originally to be her friend but a couple of serious fights later and we had to rehome him. As Rita wasn't spayed it would have been very difficult to get them to bond as she is very territorial. 

Joey was the result of an unwanted litter of rabbits. The owners were told by the pet shop they were getting two male rabbits which turned out to be untrue. These rabbits then had a litter and their two rabbits turned into five! Joey was then returned in a terrible state to the pet shop where they bought the original rabbits. It was lucky for Joey that the pet shop were willing to take him in as a lot will not do this. His hair was completely matted and he was a very nervous rabbit and clearly not been handled very much. We had him neutered and the matted hair removed. He is now living happily with a spayed female rabbit name Penelope, picture together at the bottom of the page. 

 

More Information

I really do recommend rabbits as pets but only if they are definitely the right pet for you. If you are interested in adopting a rabbit there are rescues around the country who take them in just ask your local rescue if they have any available, if not get in touch with us and we can point you in the right direction. For more information on rabbit care have a look at the My House Rabbit website.

Joey and Penelope