Thinking of getting a pet Rabbit? Please take the time to read the following information when deciding if a rabbit is suitable for you and your family.

Rabbits as Children's Pets

Many rabbits are acquired as children's pets. Unfortunately, many people are surprised and disappointed to find that rabbits rarely conform to the cute-and-cuddly stereotype, thus making them unsuitable for young children. Rabbits react strongly to loud noises and sudden movement. If the rabbit feels frightened, it will kick and struggle which means children can get hurt. Rabbits also have sharp teeth and bite hard. It is unreasonable to expect a child of any age to take sole responsibility for the care of any pet. Symptoms of illness are often subtle changes in appetite, behaviour or droppings that even older children may miss. The rabbit and your children will benefit greatly from you accepting that care and responsibility for the animal will be yours. Remember that rabbits can live for 7 years or more. Will your children still be interested in the rabbit for this long?

Costs of Keeping a Rabbit

Have you considered ALL the costs of keeping a pet rabbit? As the list below demonstrates, the set-up costs can run into several hundred dollars.

  • Hutch: $160 - $220

  • Run: $30 - $70

  • Hutch equipment (water sipper, wooden chews, litter tray): $20 - $25

  • Oaten Hay (1 bag per week): $3 - $7

  • Rabbit Pellets (1 kg per week): $2 - $5

  • Sterilisation male: $110 - $150

  • Sterilisation female: $150 - $200

  • Vaccination (Annually): $40 - $60

  • Vegetables (1 weeks worth): $9 - $12

Quality feed and fresh vegetables must be provided. Feeding vegetable seconds or scraps will be detrimental to the health of your rabbit. Remember this rule: If you wouldn't eat it, you shouldn't feed it! It is not advisable to purchase second hand or used hutches as they could harbour disease or harmful fungus. If you can't afford to purchase a brand new hutch and equipment, can you really afford to keep a rabbit?

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You and A Rabbit: A Match Made in Heaven

"For Better, For Worse" - your rabbit will be completely dependant on you. He/She will need affection and attention every day. Can you provide this on a daily basis? Who will care for your rabbit if you are ill or go away?

For Richer, For Poorer" - although a pet rabbit is usually inexpensive to buy, the start-up equipment for keeping a rabbit can run into the hundreds of dollars. A hutch and run, food, bowls, toys, bedding, etc. Plus sterilisation and yearly vaccinations are expensive. Have you considered these expenses?

"In Sickness, and in Health" - your rabbit will need to be sterilised and have annual vaccinations against Calcivirus. Rabbits also require regular dental checks. Veterinary fees for a rabbit are similar to those for a cat. In case of an unexpected illness, can you afford treatment?

"Till Death do us Part" - The average lifespan of a rabbit is 7 to 10 years. You are taking on a pet for around a decade. If the rabbit is for a child, will he/she still be interested in the rabbit in 10 years time?

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Where to get Your Rabbit

There are hundreds of unwanted and abandoned rabbits in shelters across the country needing loving homes. If you intend to acquire a rabbit, please consider adopting from your local rescue group or shelter. However, if your heart is set on a pedigree rabbit, only purchase from registered breeders as they usually only breed quality rabbits. Always ask to see their breeding registration papers and look around their breeding quarters - if they are kept in filthy cages, do not get your rabbit from here.

NEVER PURCHASE YOUR RABBIT FROM A PET SHOP. The information you receive from pet shop employees is usually unreliable and inaccurate. Most pet shop employees have little knowledge in the care, dietary and veterinary requirements for keeping a healthy and happy rabbit. Most see the rabbit as a product that needs to be sold quickly before it becomes too old. The fate of unsold rabbits is unclear. Horror stories exist in which these rabbits are often given to butchers or sold for snake food.

Pet shops also try to sell products that are useless and bad for your rabbit's health. For instance, rabbit 'muesli mix' contains corn, lupins and sunflower seeds which all cause severe stomach upsets. A 'rabbit wormer' is often sold to new rabbit owners, but is completely useless as rabbits do not get worms! Pet shops encourage impulse purchases which greatly increases the number of abandoned and neglected rabbits in need of rescuing.

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Rabbits to Avoid

Rabbits are either longhaired or shorthaired. Shorthaired rabbits are easy to keep whilst longhaired rabbits require daily brushing and shaving in hot weather. Avoid longhaired rabbits as they are prone to grass seed abscesses as the seed can get caught in their thick, long fur, and migrates to the skin.

Most rabbits have soft dense fur whilst some breeds have a 'rex' or 'velveteen' coat. AVOID THESE BREEDS AT ALL COSTS as they often develop terrible skin problems and allergies. Their coat is very short and the fur on their feet is very sparse which leades to painful sores and abrasions. They usually require frequent veterinary treatment and need specialised bedding and housing. Please consider all of these things when deciding on a rabbit and don't get bowled over by the first cute and fluffy bunny you see.

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rabbit pictures