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Care and Behaviors of House Rabbits

Living with your bunnies natural habits and behaviors

Do not decide to get a bunny if you have the preconceive idea that they are the least bit trainable. Many can be.
If you happen to get a rabbit that has a few more IQ points then the average thumper than that's great. But donít expect every bunny to be litter box trainable 100%.
A lot is riding on your ability as a trainer, a rabbits natural behaviors and the bunnies little brain. 


What can I do?

Bunnies work well with bribery. Theyíll come out from under furniture for a treat.

If a place is off limits then youíll have the least stress and  the best luck by to block it off. 

If your buck sprays the curtains, youíll either have to exercise him elsewhere or try having him neutered.

If your bunny is a chewer then get bunny a pen to exercise in instead of let him roam the house.

Bucks will hump stuffed animals or anything of suitable size that is on the floor. You can get him his every own stuffed toy (a humpy), have him neutered, or before he is allowed to roam clean up. LOL

Tape or hook all electrical cords up and out of reach of bunny.
They gravitate to cords and the buttons on your remote and anything else rubbery.
My bunnies arenít chewers. However they have managed to seek out and find my Remote and my cordless phone and chew a couple buttons off just for fun.


What should I never do? 

Never shout at your rabbit or hit it, no matter how lightly.
You'll scare him this type of discipline doesn't work on rabbits.
They are not pack or herd animals like dogs or horses so they donít understand what you mean by this type of communication. They will just see you as being aggressive and will not associate it with a behavior they are doing. The Majority of Rabbit behavior is natural and you wonít be able to change it.

Donít use ďtoolsĒ like a stick or broom to move a rabbit out from under furniture.
Rabbits are not herd animals and they see this as an act of aggression.
Eventually your rabbit will start to behave aggressively in return by growling, lunging or Biting.

Never pick a bunny up by the ears it is very painful.
The magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat by the ears is a cartoon.


Rabbit dumping out his food and water dish

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12 ounce color may vary
5 in x 2.25 in tall - shipping wt - .5 lb

Above photo is a top and bottom view
They are made for wired bottomed cages.
Just turn over & place the tab in
the floor wire (1/2in x 1in) and
twist- it stays in place!

I use these crocks. They snap on to the side of the cage.
EZ Crock
made of tough chew resistant plastic
Small EZ Crock 5 ounce - Approx. $2.50
3.25 in x 2.75 in x 2 in tall 
They come in larger sizes.

Rabbit Digging in his food dish

Generally rabbits do this if you feed them treats
in the same dish you put their pellets in. 
Sometimes they do it because they're bored.

Use a separate treat dish for your rabbit.
Make sure he has lots of toys in his cage and playtime outside of his cage.
If he still digs and it's become a habit.
Use a very small round bottomed mixing bowl for pellets.
The best dish to prevent a rabbit from dumping his food dish looks like the one in the photo below. Super Pet has red clay ones the last time I looked.
The lip of the bowl rounds inward making it almost impossible to scoop out the contents. The weight and thickness makes them too difficult to pick up or upset.

Super Pet also has scatter-less Dome Dishes, I've never used those since my fuzzy lops have large heads. I suppose it would work with over rabbit breeds.

Use a large bowl with a MED size rock or rocks in the bottom of it.
Make sure the rocks are much too big to fit in the rabbits mouth.
The rabbit must be able to reach his food around the rocks.  when
he digs the rock/rocks are in the way making it difficult.
Use a dish that attaches to the side of the cage and rise the height
of the dish so he can eat but it's not as fun to dig.

Scatterless Pet Ware Dome Dish 4.5" &  6.5" 
From Super Pet 
Scatter-less Dome Dishes feature a domed scatter-less design that helps prevent messy, accidental food and water spills. Perfect for rabbits who dig in their food dishes. Heavy-duty to prevent overturns. 
$4.46 and $8.94 


Rabbit Teeth Problems and chewing the wire on their cage click here.


thumpbny.gif (1436 byte)Aggressive Behavior:

Some Rabbits become aggressive when they mature and their hormones change.

If it is hormones that are causing the aggressive behavior then spaying or neutering can help. I'm told this is more successful for females than Males.
It is better to Neuter a male before he displays aggression.
It costs around $110.00 here in Ontario Canada.

If child has been chasing the bunny around, if the bunny has had a bad experience with a family member or other pet, then they will likely stay aggressive and afraid. It would take a lot of work to build trust.

If the bunny was shy and not socialized when you got him, (but not mistreated) than daily handling will eventually tame him or her.

Some bunnies donít like hands reaching into their cage. They become aggressive and frightened.
They can also just be territorial (which is natural for bunnies so donít try to change one that is territorial, it wonít work).
You can try a cage that opens from the top. a lot of  cage aggressive bunnies are O:K with that. I've had great success with putting a box in the cage. It gives the Aggressive rabbit somewhere to hide while I feed and water it. They are less likely to try to bite you. They learn to wait in the box while I work around them. If I need to remove a rabbit I can open the top of the cage a throw a towel over them, then pick them up.


Poisoning and Poisonous Plants Ė Outdoors and Indoors

Pretty much all houseplants (herbs being the exception) are poisonous. All spring and summer bulb plants like Tulips and Iris are also very poisonous.
If it isnít untreated grass, carrot, carrot greens, kale, parsley, raspberry leaf, rose, pansy or dandelions, then treat all others as if they where poisonous and keep bunny away.

If you know your bunny has eaten poison, than a vet can give the bunny medicine to flush him out. It normally takes 8 to 12 hours for food to pass through a bunny. Then they eat it a second time and it takes 4 hours to pass thru as dry pellets. So the less time the poison spends in the bunny the better chance heíll have to live.


thumpbny.gif (1436 byte) Bunny Talk

Grunt, Growl, and Lunging
Get away from me; this is mine!

Feet Stomping
Danger Hide!
I am so cool!
Bucks do it after they breed 

Mounting by buck or doe
Iím the boss or
Iím just plain horny

Jumping and Leaping
I am super happy!

Iím Horny or
I just want to play with you

Chewing on things
Iím bored or
Yummy who knew the buttons
on a remote could taste so good?

Extreme fear or pain!

Rubbing their chin
Thatís my table, thatís my human,
On everything Thatís my chair, mine, all mine !!!

Buckís spraying pee
Whatever the pee touches is mine.
Those are my curtainís, thatís my wall,
And doesnít it smell sexy now?!?!?!

Iím bored, I really mad
Iím going to have a baby

Poop trail on the floor
This area belongs to me.

Pee on the carpet
This area belongs to me
Or I really had to go pee

Rabbit Rescue and Rehab      http://www.rabbitcare.org/article-index.htm

The Bunny Bunch S.P.C.A.     http://www.bunnybunch.org/rabbitcare1.html



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