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Pet rabbits , also called “house rabbits,” are gentle, lovable creatures that make wonderful companion pets with the right care and attention. Depending on the breed, pet rabbits can be small (2-4 pounds,) medium (4-8 pounds,) or large (over 8 pounds.) They are growing in popularity as house pets, but rabbits are not exactly low maintenance pets. They are sociable creatures, so they need a lot of interaction with their owners and/or other rabbits, as well as requiring other special needs. However, pet rabbits are not good for active young children because they don’t like being picked up and cuddled. They can be easily frightened by loud noises and can even be harmed by mishandling due to their fragile bones. Very young children, under the age of 10, don’t have the maturity to know how to stay calm and gentle around a pet rabbit. For this reason, house rabbit organizations do not recommend them as pets in households with small children. But there is no doubt that pet rabbits are playful and entertaining to watch. Pet rabbits are best kept indoors in order to keep them safe from predators and extreme weather. Remember: domesticated rabbits do not have the same natural abilities for survival as their wild relatives. Pet rabbits will also need veterinary care, and like cats and dogs, should be spayed or neutered.

Pet rabbits can become part of the family, just as cats, dogs and birds and they often get along well with other pets. It’s even not uncommon to see a pet rabbit grooming a puppy or cat. This type of interaction, called “bonding,” takes time, though, even between two rabbits. In fact, until two rabbits bond, they tend to be territorial and can be a danger to each other, so care should be taken when introducing a new rabbit to the household. If you have a dog or cat, they should generally not be left alone with the rabbit as their predatory instincts can take over and lead the dog or cat to attacking the rabbit spontaneously. With careful introduction, however, many owners have found their dog or cat does get along well with their bunny. Rabbits need the same care and needs of any other house pet, including proper food and room to exercise. At least two hours of out-of-cage time daily is recommended. When a rabbit is happy and plays, it will often do what is called a “binky,” which is a dance where it will jump into the air, turn around, and take off running. When calm and being petted on the head, pet rabbits will gently grind their teeth with contentment. Rabbits enjoy quiet, gentle attention from their owners and can even learn their name and come when called, as well as other tricks such as jumping hurdles. Just remember that being physically handled too much takes them too far from their natural comfort zone as prey animals and may cause them stress.

For the person who is willing to invest the right amount of time, care and affection, a house rabbit can be a warm, loving, pet that will reward you with its gentle affection.


 


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