Tri-Lakes Humane Society

Saving Little Lives and Speaking for Those Who Cannot since 1942.


9 Myths about Rabbits

Posted by tlhsny on April 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM

9 Myths About Rabbits

In honor of Easter, we are hoping to offer up some useful information about rabbits. There are a lot of misconceptions about rabbits out there, and that is why a lot of rabbits end up in animal shelters. Here are some of the common myths that we have heard about rabbits.


Myth #1 : Rabbits are low maintenance pets.

The truth is that rabbits are anything but low maintenance, and that is why a lot of people turn them into animal shelters. When they realize they were not prepared for the care and cost of owning a pet rabbit, sometimes they think it is easier to just give them away. Rabbits require regular cage cleaning, fresh food/hay and water daily, including fresh veggies and fruits. There are also times when veterinary care may be required for health issues. You may not have to take your rabbit for a walk like a dog, but don't be fooled, they do require a lot of care.


Myth #2 : Rabbits only live a couple years at the most, so I won't have to commit a long time to caring for one.

The reality is that most well cared for indoor rabbits can live 7-10 years, and sometimes into their teens. That's the same life expectancy for many breeds of dogs. If you can't commit to caring for a rabbit for its entire life, then you probably shouldn't be adopting a rabbit.


Myth # 3 : Rabbits don't need veterinary care like dogs and cats.

They may not require annual vaccinations, but they should visit a vet at least once a year. Regular checkups with a vet is a good idea to help detect any problems or health issues early on before they become major. Rabbits can also be spayed or neutered, which will help to improve both behavior and health.


Myth #4 : Rabbits are happier outside in a hutch.

The truth is rabbits that are placed outdoors in a hutch are often forgotten and neglected once the novelty of having a rabbit has worn off. Outdoor rabbits end up living life in solitary confinement. They are also more prone to health issues due to extreme weather conditions, fleas/ticks, flies and mosquitoes. They are very sensitive to heat, and can suffer heat stroke easily in the summer months. Predatory animals can also attack their hutch. The stress alone from having their hutch attacked by a dog could be enough to kill a rabbit.

To make your rabbit happy and safe...keep them indoors.


Myth #5 : Rabbits are dirty and smelly.

Rabbits happen to be very clean animals, and they wash themselves regularly. They can be littertrained to cut down on the amount of mess you have to clean up. Regular cage cleaning will eliminate odor problems. Also, having your rabbit spayed or neutered will help your rabbit not want to soil in their cages as much.


Myth #6 : Rabbits love to be picked up and cuddled, and rarely scratch or bite.

Some rabbits tolerate being picked up and cuddled, but others that have been mishandled, or are adjusting to being handled, may react negatively to being picked up and carried around. Their reactions can include squirming, kicking or nipping. The best way to get a rabbit used to being handled, is to be gentle and patient. If you remain calm, so will the rabbit. You must be gentle and careful because rabbits have very fragile spines, and if they begin to kick and thrash too severely, they can injure themselves. It may take time to get a rabbit used to being held, but if you put in the effort, you will end up with a friendly bunny.


Myth #7 : Rabbits, especially Dwarf breeds, don't need much space.

Rabbits are usually pretty active, and they use their strong hind legs to run and jump around. They need regular exercise outside of their cage to be able to stretch their legs. A cage should give a rabbit enough room to hop at least twice, and a shelf provides an extra perch for jumping up onto. Dwarf rabbits are at times even more active than other breeds, and may require even more space to move about.


Myth # 8 : Rabbits can be left alone for days at a time.

This is not a good idea EVER. Rabbits need daily monitoring, because problems like not eating or drinking can lead to life threatening problems if left untreated. If you are going out of town, it is best to find someone to check in on your rabbit everyday to make sure nothing is wrong and to provide fresh food and water.


Myth #9: Rabbits only need rabbit pellet food and carrots.

One of the biggest mistakes new rabbit owners make is not providing their rabbit with a proper diet. Rabbits need to have grass hay provided every day. Hay aids rabbits with digestion and they love it. Pellet food should be used on a limited basis. Fresh veggies like romaine lettuce, broccoli, carrots, and fruits like apples (remove seeds), are great for rabbits. Apple branches are also a good chew treat for rabbits, and it also gives them something to chew on and keep their teeth from growing too quickly. Rabbits can be picky about what they like to eat, so you may need to try different foods to find what yours will like best.


For more information on rabbit care and behavior, check out the House Rabbit Society website.

To see what Rabbits we have available for adoption, click here

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