What you need to know before adopting a rabbit
Julie Lambert, Paris, France
September 4, 2020
Before adopting a pet rabbit, the first piece of advice I can give you is to think. As with any animal, it is absolutely necessary to think carefully. I would even say that you need to think even more than for animals such as dogs or cats. Why is that? Quite simply because buying a rabbit is still too often a compulsive purchase dictated by a child’s wish. It’s true that a rabbit, and even more so a baby rabbit, can quickly make you crack, but it doesn’t remain me that adopting an animal is a heavy responsibility and that nowadays too many rabbits are abandoned because their owners haven’t taken the time to think about their purchase.
A rabbit is an animal with special needs and is not suitable for everyone.
Pinpin installed on his plaid.
Photographed by Vincent Ribet.
01 – A rabbit needs love and companionship
I know it may seem obvious, but a rabbit, underneath its little fur balls, is not a stuffed animal or a toy. As a living being, the rabbit is endowed with great sensitivity and requires a lot of attention, caressing, praise and love. For this reason, it is necessary to have free time to play with the rabbit, to stroke it, to let it roam freely or even to teach it a few tricks if you feel like it. However, if you are always looking for time or perpetually travelling, I do not advise you to adopt a rabbit, which will soon feel lonely, unhappy and depressed.
A happy rabbit that receives all the love it needs is a rabbit that will give it back to you naturally.
02 – A rabbit needs freedom
A rabbit is an animal with character and a unique personality. For this reason, and also because of his natural instinct, he greatly appreciates the freedom to go wherever he wants. Therefore, a rabbit is by no means content to live in a cage. The two lifestyles that he can accept without any consequences on his mental and/or physical health are semi-liberty with a large cage or total freedom. If you cannot offer your pet either of these two modes, it is better not to buy one.
A happy rabbit is a rabbit with freedom in everyday life.
Pipine loves to lie on the head of the sofa.
Photographed by Vincent Ribet.
03 – A rabbit is a fragile but long-lived animal.
The rabbit, even under its plush appearance and contrary to popular belief, is not an ideal gift for children. The rabbit is a fragile animal. The rabbit has a light skeleton with small bones but strong muscles. This morphology makes it prone to fractures very easily. I have experienced this myself with my rabbit. A jump too fast, an accidental fall, a bad grip can quickly have serious consequences. Moreover, even if the rabbit appreciates the contact, it can’t stand being carried. This trait can quickly become very frustrating for a child who can then get bored and abandon his animal.
Just like a dog, the rabbit represents a long-term commitment. Today rabbits live on average about ten years. Moreover, for some time now, veterinarians have noticed that with the progress of medicine and the improvement of the living conditions of these animals, more and more of them manage to live up to 15 years. It is important to take this information into account before deciding to adopt a rabbit.
A rabbit is not a toy to be used to give in to a child’s whim, but a living being that can give love to its master for many years to come.
04 – A rabbit at a significant financial cost
While a rabbit may seem inexpensive to buy compared to a dog or cat, it is imperative to calculate all the associated costs carefully. From the moment of adoption you will need to buy a large cage, litter box, litter tray, bowls, rack, toys and hygiene products. In addition, there are recurring costs such as quality hay, suitable food and health costs including annual vaccinations, the almost indispensable sterilisation and all other small sores that may occur during the life of your pet. The bill can therefore rise very quickly and you should be aware of this.
A rabbit is an animal with multiple needs that can be expensive.
We have now discussed together the important points to know before adopting a rabbit. Please note that this article is by no means exhaustive and is not intended to tell you whether or not to adopt a rabbit. It only serves to help you in your thinking before adopting a rabbit. All the points discussed here will also be the subject of specific detailed articles. I will conclude my article by telling you that adopting a rabbit is, you can be sure, a magical experience…provided you are aware of the responsibilities that come with it.