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Anyone ever owned a rabbit?

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elrohwen

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I need advice from pet experts!

I love having pets, but because of my high travel job, I can''t get a dog right now
FI is home every day, but he often gets home late so we need to stick with pets who don''t mind being left alone sometimes and don''t need to be fed or walked on a regular schedule. I currently have gerbils and as they get up in age I''m thinking about whether to get more when they''re gone or to get something else. I can''t get a cat as I''m very allergic and I''m not sure if a bird is the right fit for me.

What about a rabbit? Anyone ever owned one? What are the pros and cons? I like them because they seem much more cuddly and interactive than small pets like gerbils, but I may be wrong about how much cuddling they really enjoy. The gerbils don''t mind being picked up, but they won''t sit still for a second and they don''t like being petted. I''d prefer an animal that would actually like to held and interacted with.

FI is worried that they smell ... is that true? I''ve been around ferrets and I couldn''t live with something that smelly, but I don''t know where rabbits fall on the scale of smelly animals. Of course, cleaning up after them will make them smell less, but will there always be a rabbit smell in my house?

Thanks for your help!
 

MichelleCarmen

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I've never had a rabbit, but two of my friends have pet rabbits. The first had a few of them and she had set up about a 5' X 8' space as a "pen," where the rabbits could hop around. As a group they were happy, but honestly, even though rabbits are adorable, they are one of the most boring pets I've ever seen. Basically they're just like having a larger gerbil in a larger cage. They just sit there and occasionally hop over when you hand them a papaya enzyme. The house did have kind of a "hay" smell in there. ETA - I'm pretty sure my friend's rabbits let her pet them. That friend and I have grown apart, but her rabbits were her obsessesion until she became pregnant - lol. The deal is her pets just didn't seem to have a spark of interesting personality I've seen in other pets, such as dogs or cats.

The other friend has a rabbit in a smaller 4' X 4' "pen," and there is a smell only because the area isn't as clean. If the rabbit doo is cleaned up twice a day, then it'll be fresh. Anyway, that rabbit just sits there too.

What about a gold fish? lol
 

AprilBaby

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I have a patient who has rabbits she treats like children. They have the run of the house and are well behaved. They know both her and her husband and will sit for hours in their lap. I have never seen anyone with such a close pet. She says they are VERY intelligent animals.
 

OUpearlgirl

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My friend had a rabbit for awhile and it bit everyone! Otherwise, I think she was a fine pet. She could be held and petted. MC is very right though, they don''t seem to have very much personality.
 

Lorelei

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Hi Elh,

I have owned many rabbits and still do in fact, we have a house bunny called Noddy, a Lionhead or Bearded Rabbit, he is stinkin' cute! He has his own apartment in the house and loves a run around the rooms, but as they are chewers it is best to bunny proof the area and especially fence off any electrical wiring as they will chew it in my experience.

He can be very affectionate but on his terms, he goes mad when he sees us and runs up and down and climbs up for attention but he isn't much of a cuddler, in fact none of my rabbits have been, but having said that I do know some find their bunnies do enjoy cuddles. If our bunny is out in our bedroom he will jump on the bed and lie down beside you for ages!


I do not notice any smell from bunny at all, nor does anyone else seem to, of course much of this is down to good husbandry of the pet's quarters, but no issues there. I might catch a whiff occasionally if he wees when I am on the computer as his house is nearby, but thats about it.

We really enjoy our bunny, he is easy to keep and a real little character, even the cats like him! Also you could think about guinea pigs if a bunny isn't for you, in my experience they make super pets too!

Rabbits need a basic food mix which provides them with the nutrients they need, some hay to chew on as this is excellent for their digestion and fresh fruits and veg. Carrots, apples, a little lettuce but don't go overboard there, broccoli, cabbage leaves and so on, our bunny happens to be very fond of fresh peaches. Keep an eye on teeth that they align properly and don't get overgrown and that their claws don't get too long but plenty of exercise should keep those trimmed.
 

Lauren8211

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I''ve never personally had a rabbit, but my FF''s ex girlfriend did, and when I suggested getting one, he told me he''d rather let me get a third cat!


I do know some stuff about rabbits. If not properly socialized, they can bite and scratch. I wouldnt necessarily get a rabbit if you want an affectionate pet to cuddle with. They tend to be more aloof. They don''t necessarily need your direct attention, but definitely need exercise, which will likely have to be supervised by you.

They need either a large pen or rabbit-proof room to run around in. They need exercise and can''t be kept in small cages for long periods of time.

They can be destructive! They will chew practically anything, so you really need to rabbit-proof.

They do make great pets, but they''re not as low maintenance as one might think. I''d say they''re probably on par with cats, but maybe a bit more destructive.
 

elrohwen

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MC, my biggest fear was that they would be like big gerbils that involved a bigger cage and more clean up time. Lol. But AprilBaby, your story makes me hopeful! I would love a rabbit that would sit in my lap and watch tv with me. Like I said, the gerbils aren''t really into that as much as exploring and running around.

And OUPeargirl, I definitely wouldn''t want one that bit all the time! Yikes. I''m glad your friend was still able to enjoy her pet.

Strawberrys, the needing interaction part was what made me start to think about them. The websites I read make them sound like they are fun to be around.

Even though I''m not a cat person at all, I''m starting to wish I wasn''t allergic so I could get one. Oh well.


FI says he doesn''t want a rabbit and he''ll just let me get a puppy
, but I need to find a new job before that happens. With this economy I haven''t had much luck!
 

bee*

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I love rabbits and we have lots of clients that have them as indoor pets and have them housetrained to use litter trays. Personally though I prefer Guinea pigs-to me they''ve always had more personality than the rabbits that I''ve met.
 

elrohwen

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Lorelei, thanks so much for your response! I remember your bunny avatar from a while back and wondered if he was yours. Super cute
It''s great to hear your experiences with owning a bunny. If I get one, I will definitely research breeds and visit breeders to get one with a personality I like. Hopefully that will minimize any chance of biting and maximize the chance of cuddling
It''s also nice to hear that you don''t experience any smell as long as the cage is cleaned. Is yours litter trained? I''ve read that a litter training helps a lot with keeping the small down because it''s really easy to clean up.

Elle, your FF sounds like my FI with wanting to get anything other than a bunny. Haha. I think it goes back to his experiences with guinea pigs as a little kid. Thanks for the info!
 

elrohwen

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Thanks Bee! I''ll have to start doing guinea pig research now as well
 

Cleopatra

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WARNING - THIS POST IS A LITTLE DISTURBING - SO DON''T READ IF YOU CAN''T STOMACH IT!!

I had a couple of rabbits when i was younger - my uncle gave them to me as an Easter present one year - they were PSYCHO!!!!!

My female rabbit got preggers and we were so excited for baby bunnies - she gave birth before we got home from school one day and both her and the male rabbit ATE the babies...yes, they ate them. I will never forget that as long as I live, and will never ever ever own another rabbit....

told ya it was gross...
 

cellentani

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Rabbits, huh? Well, when I was a kid, I had 2 dwarf rabbits, and some huge stray rabbit that we adopted, but they were all in outside hutches. Yes, they smell - well, not the rabbits themselves, but their excrement is pretty strong.
If you change the paper/bedding every day, it might not be so bad. As far as being a cuddly pet, I imagine that like any other pet, you''d need to invest some time up front. Even gerbils need some time getting to know the owners. Mine weren''t so tame, so if I wanted to hold them, I''d have to chase them down. Once in my lap, they''d stay, but I dont'' think they really enjoyed it. My brother took one of the dwarf rabbits to college for a little while (this was back in the ''80''s); he said it would go hopping down the hall sometimes, and the girls liked it.

I just read this over, and realize it''s not very helpful. Maybe there''s a breed that''s particularly docile. They''re not biters, but if they don''t want to be picked up, they''ll use their hind feet to kick and scratch. They''re awfully cute looking though.
 

anniee19

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I had a mini lop that lived to be about 6 years old. I had him through college, and he moved with me to Charlotte, NC, back to Michigan and now to my current home. Unfortunatly, he died right before Christmas, but he was the sweetest pet I''ve ever had! He had a very big personality- when anybody would walk past his cage, he would "beg" for treats by standing up on his back feet and stretching as tall as he could to the top of the cage. We let him out of his cage frequently, which he absolutly loved! He got along fine with our little dog, and when he''d get hopping fast across the floor, he would spring his back feet up and do little twists in the air! He didn''t mind being cuddled at all and was very content to be sitting on a lap, or even letting children hold him. He never bit anybody either.
As far as smell, as long as his cage was kept clean we never noticed him stinking!
I''ve been considering getting another rabbit, and have been watching the local humane society to see if any come up!
 

tlh

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OK, rabbits are soo sweet. But only get one... wow, I thought it was a joke about bunny fights... but they mean business.. it is horrible and scary to introduce them... like a pitbull fight only with bunnies.

I have owned rabbits, and they CHEW. My rabbit was wonderfully socialized, I took him with me everywhere, and he loved my cat. But if you don''t spend a lot of time with them, they can be REALLY destructive. Plus they need a LOT of room... more than jsut a bigger gerbil cage. Mine chewed all the linoleum off of the floor, and the wood trim off the walls. He''d play with the toys I''d give him, but he just liked those things better. They can be litter box trained too... which is sweet. Cept for their little pellets... they sometimes drop those not in the box.

Oh, and I ended up having to get rid of him because my mom, who was NOT allergic to cats, was terribly allergic to bunnies.

Best wishes!
 

emeraldlover1

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I had a rabbit growing up. I loved him so much! I had to give him away when I went to college because I couldn''t take care of him. One thing I should mention to you since you said that you are allergic to cats and dogs is that I was VERY allergic to my rabbit. I didn''t even realize how bad it was till he wasn''t in the house anymore. I think I mentioned to you in one of my other threads that I have a hairless cat. I''m not allergic to him and that could be an option for you but the breed, sphynx, is pretty needy so if you aren''t around a lot it may not be the best option.

One more thing about my rabbit. I used to let him out to run around my room and he used to get so excited. He made noises when you fed him and he used a litter box. Ugh, I miss him.
 

elrohwen

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Cleopatra, that sounds awful! I''m sure that was very hard for a young child to see.

Cellentani, thanks for the info. It definitely seems like the more you put into it the more you get back, but that''s true of all pets!

Anniee, what a sweet story! I would love a sweet bunny like that
That would be my ideal.

Tlh, I''ve seen gerbils fight, and that''s scary enough. I can''t imagine a bunny fight! I''m not really excited about the chewing thing ... it''s like having a puppy who never gets sick of chewing. But I guess it would be supervised at all times, so I could cut back on the destruction. Thanks for the reminder about the allergies! I''ll have to get tested for that one next time I''m at my allergist.

Emerald, that''s so sad that you had to give up your bunny! I''m very allergic to cats, but not at all to dogs, horses, or birds, so I''m on a pretty invididual animal basis. I would definitely need to spend some time with rabbits or have my allergist test me before I would consider getting one. I know I''m slightly allergic to my gerbils, but it doesn''t bother me if I just remember to wash my hands after playing with them. I can imagine a shedding bunny would be much worse though if I happened to be allergic. And I''ve never seen a hairless cat in real life! At this point I''m going to wait for a dog instead of getting a cat, but maybe a bunny would be a good intermediate option for me if I don''t have a problem with the allergies.
 

Lorelei

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Date: 2/2/2009 12:14:29 PM
Author: elrohwen
Lorelei, thanks so much for your response! I remember your bunny avatar from a while back and wondered if he was yours. Super cute
It's great to hear your experiences with owning a bunny. If I get one, I will definitely research breeds and visit breeders to get one with a personality I like. Hopefully that will minimize any chance of biting and maximize the chance of cuddling
It's also nice to hear that you don't experience any smell as long as the cage is cleaned. Is yours litter trained? I've read that a litter training helps a lot with keeping the small down because it's really easy to clean up.

Elle, your FF sounds like my FI with wanting to get anything other than a bunny. Haha. I think it goes back to his experiences with guinea pigs as a little kid. Thanks for the info!
This bunny is exactly the same as mine, even to the colour! And I am glad I was able to help, we really love our little chap! And like I say, the only time I ever catch a little whiff is if he wees. Yes he is litter trained and extremely clean, he has paper in one section of his quarters which he uses to pee and poo on, easy as a wink to change it!

lionhead.jpg
 

chrono

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Lorelei,
That bunny is so cute! Make me want to cuddle him/her on my lap!
 

Lorelei

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Date: 2/2/2009 1:44:28 PM
Author: Chrono
Lorelei,
That bunny is so cute! Make me want to cuddle him/her on my lap!
Hehehe!! Isn't he though????
Chrono, ours will jump on the bed and snuggle up beside you, he lounges on his side with his l'il bunny slippers spread out, I have even caught him ' floundering' flat on his belly with his little feets straight out behind him!
 

tlh

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Lorelei, your bunny looks like my old bunny Charlotte! only with a fro! Very cute!
 

Lorelei

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Date: 2/2/2009 1:46:47 PM
Author: tlh
Lorelei, your bunny looks like my old bunny Charlotte! only with a fro! Very cute!
LOL!!!!!
You can even comb his little wig!
He doesn''t mind at all!
 

elrohwen

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Date: 2/2/2009 1:46:24 PM
Author: Lorelei

Date: 2/2/2009 1:44:28 PM
Author: Chrono
Lorelei,
That bunny is so cute! Make me want to cuddle him/her on my lap!
Hehehe!! Isn''t he though????
Chrono, ours will jump on the bed and snuggle up beside you, he lounges on his side with his l''il bunny slippers spread out, I have even caught him '' floundering'' flat on his belly with his little feets straight out behind him!
We like to call that "Superman-ing it". Hahaha. FI''s mom has a corgi who sleeps like that all the time and it''s adorable.

I wish I had a cute little bunny like that to lay next to me in bed!
 

coatimundi_org

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Date: 2/2/2009 1:41:57 PM
Author: Lorelei

This bunny is exactly the same as mine, even to the colour! And I am glad I was able to help, we really love our little chap! And like I say, the only time I ever catch a little whiff is if he wees. Yes he is litter trained and extremely clean, he has paper in one section of his quarters which he uses to pee and poo on, easy as a wink to change it!
 

oobiecoo

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I''ve had rabbits twice in my life. I had 2 when I was about 8 or so and we never bonded. They scratched and bit and would jump down and hop away. I got another one a couple of years ago... he has a mini lop named Elvis. He was soft and cuddly and would "binky" which is really cute... but then he became posessed by Satan himsself. He would bite, scratch, pee... ugh. He also lived in my room(since we had a small apartment) and would make all kinds of noise at night and keep me awake. I just couldn''t handle it! I gave him away.

I had an 8 year old guinea pig that was passed on to me many years ago and he was the sweetest thing. I recommend one of those
 

WistfulAurora

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Rabbits can be good and bad...

My rabbit is in the bad category.
Like any pet it''s really important to invest time and give them lots of attention. And for rabbits it''s really important to hold them and pet them so that they are used to being pet and held. My rabbit is really mean... my SO took care of him when he was very young, and held him a lot, but he didn''t have other people hold him (I was in another city). So now he will attack and kick if anyone else tries to pick him up. He has a huge cage with different levels for him to jump on, and he''s litter box trained (it''s super easy!) so he doesn''t smell. But he is one mean bunny. Our dogs (45 lbs and 35 lbs) are scared of him, and he will freak out if any other animal is in our home (he''s always safe in his cage and we usually close of the entire room so that he can''t even SEE the other animal... he still knows though and thumps for hours).

I recommend getting a female rabbit, and definitely only one... My bunny is super aggressive which could be because he''s a male and not neutered. The aggression could be fixed if we had him neutered but there is high risk of death in neutering bunnies, and we decided it wasn''t worth the risk. I love my bunny and I wish I could hold him but it''s not in the cards... If my SO and I ever get another rabbit (after this one goes to bunny heaven) we will only get one and it will be female...

Good luck!! And remember other furry friends like chinchillas!! And guinea pigs are awesome too!
 

WistfulAurora

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Date: 2/2/2009 12:07:41 PM
Author: elrohwen
Even though I''m not a cat person at all, I''m starting to wish I wasn''t allergic so I could get one. Oh well.
You could look into non-allergic cat breeds too! I''m really allergic (break out in hives) to cats and my cat could lick my arm up and down and I wouldn''t even sniffle or have one little hive. He''s a Russian Blue and I think actually bred as a "non-allergic" breed. My mom is allergic too and she didn''t sneeze once around him.

Just something to think about!!!
 

tlh

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Date: 2/2/2009 3:07:27 PM
Author: WistfulAurora
Rabbits can be good and bad...

My rabbit is in the bad category.
Like any pet it''s really important to invest time and give them lots of attention. And for rabbits it''s really important to hold them and pet them so that they are used to being pet and held. My rabbit is really mean... my SO took care of him when he was very young, and held him a lot, but he didn''t have other people hold him (I was in another city). So now he will attack and kick if anyone else tries to pick him up. He has a huge cage with different levels for him to jump on, and he''s litter box trained (it''s super easy!) so he doesn''t smell. But he is one mean bunny. Our dogs (45 lbs and 35 lbs) are scared of him, and he will freak out if any other animal is in our home (he''s always safe in his cage and we usually close of the entire room so that he can''t even SEE the other animal... he still knows though and thumps for hours).

I recommend getting a female rabbit, and definitely only one... My bunny is super aggressive which could be because he''s a male and not neutered. The aggression could be fixed if we had him neutered but there is high risk of death in neutering bunnies, and we decided it wasn''t worth the risk. I love my bunny and I wish I could hold him but it''s not in the cards... If my SO and I ever get another rabbit (after this one goes to bunny heaven) we will only get one and it will be female...

Good luck!! And remember other furry friends like chinchillas!! And guinea pigs are awesome too!
My bunnies were all fixed. Fixing makes them less aggressive, less destructive, and calmer.
I took them all in when they were just little, before I got too "attached" I would have been devistated if anything happened, but I have had much success with vets that deal w/ smaller "rodent" animals. One vet even did surgury on a dwarf hampster after being attacked by a cage mate... and lived for almost 3 years. If that little guy can live, anything can.... with a great vet!
 

elrohwen

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Oobie, that's scary that your rabbit had such a personality shift. Do you have any idea why? It would be awful to get a pet that can live for up to 10 years and not get along with it at all. I'd feel horrible. At least gerbils are happy in their cage and only live a few years, so if one turns mean it's not the end of the world (though I absolutely get more enjoyment out of the friendly ones!)

Wistful, it's interesting that you recommend a female. A breeder's website I was checking out said that males are her recommendation for pets as females can get territorial when they're at "breeding age." It probably comes down to the individual animal more than anything else. But she absolutely recommended spaying and neutering to make any bunny a better pet. I didn't realize there were possible health problems with neutering though. I also had no idea that Russian Blues were hypo-allergenic (or approaching hypo-allergenic). I thought only hairless cats fit that description. I think Russian Blues are beautiful.

Tlh, you're right that a good vet can do wonders. I had a gerbil who got a scent glad tumor on her stomach. I don't think it was really hurting her, but it was open and if I didn't get it removed it would've eventually become infected. Despite her old age, the operation was successful and she lived at least another 6 months (she was already almost 3 when she had the surgery, which was old for a gerbil). I think your suggestion to get a bunny fixed is definitely something I would do. I'm all for it having a calmer personality.
 

elrohwen

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I''ve been reading up on breeds and if I get a bunny (big if) I think I would get a Holland Lop because they''re generally described as super affectionate and social. Here''s a picture I found online for your bunny viewing pleasure. I
this bunny!

lf bunny picture.jpg
 
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