Choosing a Rabbit
Housing a Rabbit
Good news for Tubby Bunnies
Introduction to Houserabbits
Litter Training Houserabbits
Choosing a Rabbit
Sonya J. Miller-Smith
It is easy to be bowled over by the first fluffy rabbit seen in a pet
shop, but it
is better to be prudent before buying. You should consider:
||The best age to acquire a rabbit is when it is between 9 and 12 weeks
old, when it will be easy to handle and tame.
||Small and medium breeds, such as the Netherland Dwarf and Dutch, are
usually better for the inexperienced rabbit-keeper or for children. Heavier
breeds, such as the Californian or Flemish Giants, or Angoras make ideal
pets for the more experienced handler.
Rabbits are social animals and should be provided with a companion wherever
possible. Littermates can be kept together, but should be neutered if of
opposite sexes. Unrelated females will usually tolerate each other if sufficient
space is provided, but they can fight, inflicting nasty wounds. Un-castrated
males will fight and inflict severe injuries.
Which ever you choose, it is essential to check that your rabbit has
been correctly sexed. Even pet shop keepers and vets have been known
to make mistakes in sexing
an animal, so, to be on the safe side, double check for your self.
Always handle a rabbit before acquiring it. This will allow you to
assess how tame the rabbit is, and to check over the following points:
- The rabbit’s coat should be sleek and glossy, the ears clean
right the way down the inside and the eyes bright, with no discharges.
- Claws should be neither too long nor torn at the ends, and the teeth
should be clean and also not too long.
- There should be no visible
wounds or abscesses on the body, and the back should be firm, without
- Beware of any rabbit with a runny nose or diarrhoea – check
for signs of diarrhoea, staining or matting of the fur under the
- Equally, there
should be no signs of discharge from eyes or nose, nor should the rabbit
- The fur around the nose and on the inside of the forelegs
not be matted.
Where to buy a rabbit depends partly on whether a purebred is wanted
for showing, or whether a healthy, attractive pet will do just as well. A top
show rabbit will have to be acquired from a specialist breeder, who can be
contacted through rabbit clubs or by way of specialist magazines.
pet shops also sell rabbits, which may be either pedigree or of indeterminate
Alternatively you may like to offer a home to a ‘rescue’ rabbit,
as sadly, like cats and dogs, many rabbits end up in rescue centres. Please
ask at the practice for contact numbers of rescue centres and individuals who
re-home rabbits, or see the ‘Rabbits - Further Information’ page
at the end of this section.
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All rights reserved.