“What could be stressful about life as a rabbit?” you might ask. The answer is: Plenty!
Easter Bunnies bought for children are often banished to outdoor hutches when the novelty wears off. How would you like to spend the summer outside wearing a fur coat? An even worse fate awaits those who are “turned loose” – domestic rabbits do not have the same survival instincts as their wild cousins.
Rabbits are prey animals and may associate being picked up with capture by a predator. Loud noises and sudden movements – both normal parts of childhood play – may trigger a rabbit’s fight/flight/freeze instincts.
What humans consider a normal change in routine can be stressful to a rabbit. This includes adding new family members (human or animal), being moved (to a new home or room, even if it is an “upgrade”), household guests, or rearranging furniture. A stressed rabbit may become ill and require expensive treatment by a veterinarian who specializes in the care of exotics.
Rabbits are social animals with individual personalities. They are not the right pet for everyone, but with proper care they can offer up to 8-12 years of loving companionship. For more information on rabbits and their care, go to http://www.lagomorphs.com/mainpage.html. To find adoptable rabbits in your area go to www.petfinder.org.
Kathy Smith – Supporting rabbits through SAS programming for 25 years