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ilovechoc's avatar

Bunnies as pets?

Asked by ilovechoc (142points) April 18th, 2010

I loooovve bunnies.. lol.. I’m thinking of buying a baby bunny to keep as pet.. But I don’t know anything about bunnies.. Does anyone have bunnies as pets before? May I know how to take care of it, what kind of environment should I have, etc. – any infos about bunny care that I should be aware of before I purchase them because I don’t want to regret it after I bought them. Thanks! :)

PS: is there anyone who wish to sell their baby bunny? :)

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25 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

One thing I do know is that they will chew practically anything, including electrical cords, so it’s not like having cats. If you don’t want to end up with electrocuted rabbit, you’ve got to be prepared.

If you aren’t ready to vigilantly watch them every second you let them out of their cage, don’t commit to getting one. It’s kind of like having a child permanently in the toddler stage.

You should go to the library and get some books on rabbit care so you can be better prepared and know what you are getting into, what to feed them properly etc.

If you educate yourself on how to properly care for them, they can be wonderful pets.

You could also check with local animal shelters in your area who may have bunnies available for adoption, especially in the months following Easter season.

Unfortunately, there are significant numbers of people who buy them on impulse and later realize that there is a level of care, commitment and work involved in keeping rabbits as pets. Then the poor bunnies end up in shelters or put to sleep just because some store owners wanted to make a fast buck.

I can’t imagine you’d have difficulty finding a bunny needing a good home at this time of year.

These websites can give you lots of good info on what you need to know about keeping rabbits as pets.

I don’t know where you live but here in the US, The House Rabbit Society has local groups in most states who have a network of individuals who are dedicated to providing info about keeping rabbits as pets.

Some of them also act to connect people looking to adopt a rabbit with rabbits needing loving homes.

They would be another good resource for finding a bunny to adopt.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

First you stick a post in the ground and then you build a wire cage on top of the post. The bunny poop falls through the mesh into an ever-growing heap below the cage. Here is a fancy cage:

You poor some food into a hopper and change the water in the water bottle whenever it fouls and that is it. One day the rabbit is big enough to eat and everyone gets a lucky-foot trinket.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I had a few as a kid. They can be affectionate and quick to learn but inherrantly destructive gnawers and they also like to leave their poo pellets and pee splotches any damned place, preferrably hard to launder places, expensive fabric places, foot touchdown places. IMO, bunnies are more delicious than pet friendly.

gemiwing's avatar

The best pet I’ve ever had. don’t tell the cats He’s lovable, snuggly and playful. Go to a pet store and buy a book about rabbit care- you’ll need the book for reference later. Be sure to always check the list of things bunnies cannot eat. Bunnies are fragile creatures and certain foods will poison them.

Keysha's avatar

I’ve only raised them for dinner. Aris only had them as snake food. Sorry.

earthduzt's avatar

research, research. research….oh and did I mention research? The worst thing to do is buy a pet just because you think it is cute.

Buttonstc's avatar


GA Youre absolutely right. And that’s the main reason there are so many rabbits ending up dead or given up for adoption following the Easter season.

Too many people just bought them cuz they look cute without putting a second of thought into the care they need.

MissAusten's avatar

I agree with @Buttonstc. Read up on caring for rabbits so you know what you are getting yourself into.

I will also add that rabbits should be spayed or neutered. It can be hard to find a vet who will treat rabbits, so make sure you have one in your area. Before we got our bunny, I called around and found that many vets will neuter a male rabbit but will not spay a female (it is riskier). For that reason, we chose a male.

Pick up a book about caring for rabbits that explains how to litter train the rabbit. It will make your life a lot easier, especially if you plan on keeping the bunny in the house like we do. Rabbit urine stinks, and they pee a lot. If your rabbit doesn’t use a litter box, you will need to replace the soiled bedding daily to keep the odor down.

Our rabbit makes a great pet, but he does need a lot of attention. We don’t keep him cooped up in his cage all day, but give him time to run around in safe areas. He even has an outdoor “playpen” and sometimes goes for walks with his harness. The kids love him, he’s quiet and cuddly, and isn’t messy or smelly (thanks to the litter box). However, I read a book about pet rabbits before we got him so I would know exactly what we would need to do to take care of him properly. I cannot stress enough that you should do a lot of research before taking on the responsibility.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@MissAusten: “It can be hard to find a vet who will treat rabbits, so make sure you have one in your area” <== many people don’t think rodents get a vet visit. No one gives their pet hamster a vet. (Hopefully I am not about to hear about the hamster vet specialists.)

MissAusten's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish You’re right, but rabbits are sometimes prone to certain problems that only a vet can handle. Besides needing a vet to neuter the rabbit, we once had to take him in because he stopped pooping and stopped eating. It’s a common and potentially deadly condition for pet rabbits where the digestive system just stops. It’s treatable if caught early enough, and if it happens again I probably won’t have to take him to the vet. Anyway, rabbits can often be treated by someone with the knowledge to do it, and they live quite a bit longer than hamsters. They are also usually more expensive if you buy them in a pet store. The last time I saw a bunny in a pet store, it cost almost $100. Ours came from a local farm and was only $10. Maybe with the investment of time and money that goes into a rabbit as compared to a hamster comes the idea that a trip to the vet is “worth it.”

We had a lot of hamsters and gerbils when I was a kid, and only once did my mom take my hamster to the vet. The vet basically said that such small animals are almost impossible to treat and that he couldn’t do anything other than put it to sleep. :( Maybe there are hamster specialists out there, but they’re probably only slightly more common than vets who treat goldfish!

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@MissAusten: $100! Maybe Bugs Bunny or Peter Rabbit or one that grows its own patent number in its fur!

YARNLADY's avatar

Please do not believe that having a bunny is as simple as @malevolentbutticklish would have you believe in his/her first post. If this animal is a pet, you will need to provide a much more friendly surrounding that a cage.

I suggest you talk to a local bunny owner and find out all the possibilities before you buy or obtain one. (You can get them free on

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@YARNLADY: Some people spend $100+ on the aquarium for a $0.10 goldfish. Other people put it in a 1 gallon pickle jar and it does just fine.

MissAusten's avatar

@YARNLADY brings up a very good point. Rabbits shouldn’t be confined to a cage their entire lives. They won’t be friendly or healthy that way, and do need attention besides food and water. I’m sure a rabbit could live a long life just sitting in a cage, but if that’s what you do with it, why bother to have one?

Our rabbit care book suggests rabbits need three hours a day outside of their cages. We set up a baby gate at the end of the hall, close all of the bedroom doors, and let him run around there with some toys or an empty paper bag. In the spring and summer, we bring him outside whenever the kids go to play in the back yard. Since he’s been litter trained, he doesn’t leave droppings or puddles all over the hallway but “holds it” until he’s back in his hutch.

If you decide to get a pet rabbit after reading up on them extensively, buy one that is used to being handled. It makes a big difference in the rabbit’s temperament. I wouldn’t go with a pet store bunny, but would find a breeder or small farm that hand-raises the rabbits so they make good pets.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@MissAusten: “I’m sure a rabbit could live a long life just sitting in a cage, but if that’s what you do with it, why bother to have one?” <== That is all people do with fish. Lots of people are happy with their fish despite never taking them out of their cage. I am happy with my fish despite the fact that they live at the pet store. I can visit them whenever I want.

MissAusten's avatar

Fish and rabbits are not the same. Clearly you cannot take your fish out of the tank to play with it in the back yard. A fish doesn’t NEED to be taken out for exercise and interaction, but a rabbit does.

rangerr's avatar

@MissAusten Is right. You definitely need to read about them. Pet store, book store, library.. anywhere would have great books that go into a lot more detail than I feel like typing out.
I’ve had rabbits my entire life, but just recently switched to having an outdoor hutch. Even with them living outside, they still get more attention than anything else in my house. I now wake up two hours earlier to let them outside in the pen to run around while I spot clean the cages. I wake up in the middle of the night to go check on them as well. They run around outside before I go to class and as soon as I get back.

Ask yourself some questions before you decide that you’re ready to bring a rabbit home.
Are you going to be comfortable trimming their nails? Every rabbit I have had has squirmed around which makes me nervous about hitting the quick.
Are you going to be okay with having to take them to the vet if they get sick?
Are you going to be okay with having to give them meds daily if the vet tells you to? Those little syringes are hard to make a rabbit accept.
Are you still going to care for the rabbit after it grows out of a “bunny” stage?
Are you ready for the 6–15 year commitment that a rabbit can be?
Can you deal with the shedding that a lot of rabbits do?
I’ll stop here.

@malevolentbutticklish Shut up.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

I have three. Basically, stick them in a cage with fresh food and water. Clean the cage once a day.

rangerr's avatar

@xRIPxTHEREVx “Basically” doesn’t apply when taking care of a pet.

MissAusten's avatar

If the rabbit is litter trained, you don’t have to clean the cage every day. :)

nisse's avatar

My experiences (i’ve had two) are that

- They hump everything that moves.
– They chewed up all electrical cords and my super nintendo controllers.
– They cannot be potty trained.
– They often mistake your finger for a carrot, which hurts. Alot.
– They dont like to be petted, for their reaction, see point above.
– They live for ~10–13 years.
– They are not as intelligent as other pets, which makes for a not very exciting pet after a while.

So i would advice you to think twice.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

@rangerr Idk I’ve been doing that for 6 years now and those rabbits are still going strong.

rangerr's avatar

@xRIPxTHEREVx You just “stick them in a cage” ? For 6 years?

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

@rangerr Sometimes we let them out to bask in the sun. And I feed them and stuff of course, but yea. They don’t do much.

nicobanks's avatar

Please do not listen to @malevolentbutticklish or @xRIPxTHEREVx. I don’t know if they think they’re being funny or if they really mean what they say, but they are giving truly terrible advice.

Anyone thinking of bringing home a rabbit (or any pet, for that matter) needs to research their care and behaviour beforehand. Posting questions on fluther is good conversation but doesn’t count as real research. There are books, but there are also many wonderful online resources. I’ll list some at the bottom of this post.

There are 4 main categories you’ll want to research:
– Diet
– Habitat
– Health & Medical
– Cost

Very briefly:

– Fresh, clean water at all times
– Hay: Rabbits need to eat hay more than any other food group. Hay should be available to them at all times in unlimited supplies. Hay should be fresh. Adults need grass hay (like timothy), while babies need alfalfa (a legume hay).
– Fresh, leafy greens: Rabbits need greens every day. Some greens are healthy, other greens are healthy in moderation, other greens are risky, other greens are toxic. (Which are which? Do the research.)
– Pellets: Most rabbit pellets on the market are too high in protein and fat, many are also too low in fibre. (What makes a good pellet, exactly? Do the research.)
– Treats: Commercial rabbit treats are unhealthy and expensive – avoid them entirely. A good treat can be a small sliver of apple, or a blueberry.

– Most cages on the market are far too small. Wire floors are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, and anyway unnecessary as most rabbits litter train easily. A very good scenario is a free-range rabbit in a well-proofed room. (Proofed? Do the research.) Another good scenario is setting up an exercise pen or corral in a room and letting your rabbit out for exercise and society daily. If you must cage your rabbit, choose a large dog crate, or build a condo out of NICs. (Rabbit condo? Do the research.) Your rabbit should be able to stand up on its hind legs, stretch out its full length, and hop at least a few times, with room left over for a litter box, “nest” (i.e. a safe place to hide, such as a cardboard box with 2 entrances cut in the sides), food dishes, and a few toys.
– It’s really not good to house your rabbit outside. Predators can be very tricksy, even if you think there’s no way in. Even if they can’t get in, rabbits often die of shock and fear of a predator prowling around outside the hutch. There’s also risk of humans stealing or abusing the rabbit. There’s also risk of parasites and illness, pollution, environmental poisons, hypothermia, sun stroke…
– A bored rabbit is a destructive rabbit. Provide your rabbit with suitable toys. (Suitable toys? Do the research.)
– Let your rabbit out to socialize and exercise every day.

Health & Medical
– Rabbits should be taken to the vet for a check-up at least once a year. Most vets know nothing about rabbits, but if they’re greedy, they may take your money anyway. Rabbits are very different from dogs/cats and if the vet transfers dog/cat medical knowledge to a rabbit, he will probably kill the rabbit. Find a rabbit-savvy vet. (How? Do the research.)
– You should give your rabbit a home check-up once every few months and build up a first aid kit. (What will you look for in the check-up? What should you stock in the kit? Do the research.)
– Many common medical problems can be avoided by keeping your rabbit indoors.
– Many common medical problems can be avoided by properly proofing your home.
– Many common medical problems can be avoided by feeding a diet rich in fibre (plenty of hay, a high-fibre pellet).
– Rabbits often live 12+ years. The “average lifespan” is much lower of course because people do not take care of their rabbits.

– Set up your rabbit’s habitat and buy the first batch of food before you bring you rabbit home. That way you won’t be caught off guard about start-up costs when you already have the rabbit.
– Determine the regular costs (food, litter material, a new toy now and then, regular vet check-ups) ahead of time. Can you afford them?
– The real cost associated with rabbits is emergency vet bills. These fees are enormous, usually more than those for cats/dogs. You should start an emergency fund before you bring the rabbit home, and thereafter contribute to it monthly. Ask your vet what they recommend. I recommend starting with $2,000.

Here are some good online rabbit resources:

Here are some good online rabbit forums:

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