Recently I read somewhere that domesticated rabbits are one of the most popular pets in the U.S. household. However, many people either release them into the wild (domesticated rabbits are not meant for the wild!) or ditch them at a rabbit shelter (just like dogs and cats) because they didn’t do any research on the care of rabbits. Through this blog post, I wanted to list the pros and cons of having rabbits as house pets.
First let me introduce my bunnies:
I mentioned in my About page that I travel with my two bunnies very often, especially when I’m flying back home from University during breaks. My two bunnies’ names are Luna (grey) and Venus (white/brown). Luna is very feisty. She doesn’t like being picked up and held, but loves to be pet and given treats. Venus is more calm and tolerates being held. She too loves to be pet and given treats. They are almost 2 years old now, and are a specific breed of Lop Rabbits called Holland Lops.
Holland Lop is a cute breed name isn’t it? Lop rabbits are characterized by their droopy ears. There are other types of lop rabbit breeds like Mini lops, French lops, English Lops etc. However, out of the many breeds of all rabbits, Holland lops are one of the most popular because of their small size and widespread popularity on the internet. They are actually smaller than the Mini lop as Holland lops grow to a maximum of 4 pounds while mini lops can go up to 6 pounds.
My rabbits are normally free range rabbits, meaning they have no cage and run around my apartment freely. Right now, however, they are kept in a huge playpen because I’m at my parent’s house for break and they have marble floors that can make rabbits slip and injure themselves hence the black mat flooring.
Pros of Having Pet Rabbits:
- They are quiet. LIKE REALLY QUIET. If you love quiet animals then rabbits are great for you. But be careful because when they sneak up on you while you are cleaning the house, you can accidentally kick them and almost send them flying 5 feet because you didn’t see or hear them come around.
- They can be litter trained. Yes, like cats. Its easy and they usually get the hang of it within a week. All you must do is wipe their urine with a napkin and sweep up their poop then put it in the litter box. Bunnies will get the idea that that’s where they are supposed to do their business. If this doesn’t work, just put the litter box where they keep urinating. Bunnies like to pee in one spot, so if you leave the litter box at their favorite business spot, they will start going into the litter box. WARNING: Don’t use the clumping/Clay litter for cats, you need to use paper or organic based litter because clump litter is dangerous for rabbits.
- Their poop is easy to clean up. Unlike cats, dogs, and many other animals, rabbit poops are tiny solid balls that don’t have any odor and can be swept up with a broom or vacuumed. Plus, once you litter train them, you don’t have to clean their poop as much. But keep in mind that stray poop may lie around because it escapes the litter box when the rabbit jumps out.
- They often form deep bonds with their owners. Bunnies are very social creatures even if they are quiet. That is why they live in colonies in the wild. Your bunny or bunnies will often bond with you over time if you treat them with gentle care and respect, not a toy. They show their love for you by letting you pet them, resting near you, licking you, or cuddling on your lap. NOT ALL BUNNIES DO ALL THIS, but you will know they love you by their behavior around you.
- They are entertaining to watch. When bunnies are happy, they binky and sprint around. Binkies are these twist jumps in the air that look really odd, but funny to us humans. Moreover, they also can get really excited when they hear you shake the treat bag and start jumping all over you.
- They are curious. They like to stick their nose in everything, which is extremely funny and cute. If you are cleaning, they will come see what you a doing (referring to pro #1). Sometimes they will even follow you when you are walking! They will even sprint towards you if they suspect that you are reaching for their treat bag.
- They only eat hay and other vegetables. It’s very easy to buy hay in huge bulks and some people order them from horse farms because it’s cheaper to get a bale of hay there. You don’t have to worry about giving them an extremely balanced diet, because 90% of their diet involves timothy hay and the other 10% involves a cup a vegetable and a cup of pellets a day.
Cons of Having Pet Rabbits:
- They are fragile. Bunnies who are not used to being held may struggle if you pick them up and if you drop them, they can break their backs. Their kick is so strong in comparison to their body, that one wrong awkward kick during that struggle will lead to a paralyzed or dead bunny. Do not pick up rabbits if they don’t like it. Bunnies are prey animals and the only time they are ever taken off their feet in the wild is if they are caught by a predator and being hauled off to their death.
- They show no weakness even if they are really sick. Seriously. Bunnies can develop intestinal issues. They can be dying from blocked intestinal problems, and they will not show you that they are sick. This is because they are prey animals and sick bunnies will be the main target of predators in the wild. This instinct is what leads them to show little signs of sickness. Often times, people find their bunny seeming perfectly fine one day and within a 24 hour period the bunny deteriorates and passes away. You need to keep an eagle eye on rabbits if they seem even just a little off one day, because it may be life or death for them.
- They need to eat hay constantly. Bunny metabolism is so fast that they need to keep eating and passing poop. So, you need to have hay out for them all the time so they can eat. You can’t feed them 3x a day like other types of animals. If they don’t eat constantly, they get severe blockage in their intestines that can lead to death if not treated immediately. Honestly, my two bunnies finish 25 lbs of hay in a month and half. So be prepared to use money for lots of hay….
- They can be very shy at first. Some bunnies don’t show the same affections as dogs or cats do. They can be very shy and they may take a while to warm up to you. It really depends on the rabbit’s personality and how gentle you are with them. Treats are a great way to earn a place in a rabbit’s heart.
- They need lots of space to run around. Just like how it is cruel keep a dog chained up all day, it is cruel to keep rabbits in small cages all day. Pet stores tell you that they can be put in those tiny cages that they sell, but its recommended that rabbits have 12 sq. ft (1.1 sq. m) of living space and 32 sq. ft (3 sq. m) of running space. If you keep them in cages, then you need to give them a few hours a day to run around in an open space. This is why I generally keep my rabbits free range.
- They can be MESSY. Like really messy. They run around a lot and they also need hay out for them constantly. So sometimes, the hay can get everywhere and lots of sweeping or vacuuming may be necessary. However, if you just do bits of cleaning everyday, then you’ll be fine.
- They require an Exotic Vet. Rabbits are considered exotic animals, so they need an exotic vet to go to if they get sick. Exotic vets may be more expensive than conventional vets because they have patients that range from snakes to birds. Also, there may not be one around your area. If you want a bunny, you need to make sure you have an exotic vet that you can go to in case you bunny develops intestinal problems or other sicknesses.
Pet rabbits are a lot of work despite what many people are lead to believe. Bunnies require different types of attention than cats or dogs do. We all know that they are definitely cute. BUT please remember that contrary to popular beliefs, many rabbits don’t like being carried or squeezed because they are prey animals. They are great pets for adults, but can be bad starter pets for children.
Please don’t buy a bunny, find them too difficult to take care of, and then release them into the wild because “that is where they belong.” Domesticated rabbits do not have the same sharpened senses as wild rabbits do just like how dogs are different from their familial wolf counterparts. Thus, domesticated rabbits are likely to die in the wild.
I hope my blog post on the pros and cons of owning a pet rabbit(s) will help you decide if you really want to have bunnies as your household companions. Bunnies can be great pets, but please understand that they, like cats and dogs, have their unique needs 🙂
Thanks for reading this long post! Share this with anybody who is thinking of getting a pet rabbit. Let me know what you think about this blog post in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Rabbit”
Oh my gosh I love your bunnies!! So adorable. It’s awesome that you wrote about this because it’s horrible that people just give up and give their bunnies away and they don’t treat or care for them how they should 😐
Aww thanks 🙂 Yeah, I find that its so unfair to these cute creatures 🙁 I was determined to keep them safe and love them when I got my bunnies, but some people are just smh. :/