International Rabbit Day is upon us, a great time to celebrate our pets (and maybe give them an extra carrot). September 25 marks this special holiday designed to remind us all why we love our bunnies so much. Not yet a rabbit owner? You can look into adopting one that needs a home to honor the day. That way, you’re getting a cute fluffer and giving him a family.
Of course they do! In fact, it’s likely that monks in the South of France were the first to take on domesticated rabbits over 1,500 years ago. We think they may have been on to something because millions of bunnies live in homes today. Need more convincing? If you aren’t swayed by their cute fluffy tails and pink noses, here are eight reasons why rabbits make excellent companions.
Rabbits are smart
We don’t really give these guys enough credit. The truth is, rabbits can recognize a few words, figure out some puzzles with logic, and learn tricks. So, don’t underestimate this little mind. But that means when you bring a bun-bun home, you have to commit to keeping him entertained.
They like to cuddle
Many owners bond quite closely with these pets, and bunnies that are around humans from birth like to get pats and gentle hugs. Most don’t love being picked up, though, so try to get down to their level or wait for them to hop up to you.
You can teach them tricks
Your pet will surprise you with his brains and brawn. Or he will learn to fetch at least. If you really want a challenge, try out a small rabbit agility course. Start with the basics and work your way up, but don’t skimp on those snacks. A little orange will get him hopping over hurdles in no time.
They’re not rodents
No offense to the hamsters and mice, but you can’t count rabbits among your kind. Instead, they are members of the Leporidae family along with hares. Contrary to popular opinion, all these pets are fairly tidy, but bunnies, in particular, stay quite clean. If pet rats still give you pause, try a rabbit on for size.
You get to diet together
We’re kidding (mostly). While you need to give rabbits a staple diet of mainly hay (with some pellets mixed in), they love carrots, lettuce, kale, cabbage, and apples. Keep Bugs’ favorite to a minimum; you want to stick with the leafy greens as the main item with carrots as a side. Feel free to make the both of you a delicious salad for lunch every day (hold his dressing).
Bunnies can be indoor, outdoor, or both
Your pet needs lots of space to roam, so look into where he’ll go when not in his cage before setting him up at home. Depending on climate and location, many rabbits enjoy going in and out of the house in a portable cage. Playtime should always take place in a safe location — never leave rabbits outside unattended where they can get snatched up by predators.
You can teach them to use a litter box
As mentioned, this critter keeps a clean house. They do not like to live anywhere near their excrement, so setting up a litter box will work well for both of you. Just as with a cat, you’ll have to monitor and keep it immaculate, but this sure improves on a messy cage.
Rabbits don’t make much noise
They actually can growl, hiss, snort, and fluffle, but you won’t hear much out of them provided they stay happy. Whimpering and shaking usually indicates fear. Check the area closely if you find him in that state and remember that dogs and cats can terrify a poor little rabbit, who sees them as a threat.
In addition to showering your pet rabbit with extra love on this day, think about how you can celebrate his wild cousins, too. Check out rescues and rehabilitation centers that take in injured bunnies or donate to a wildlife organization that protects them. Some petting zoos have rabbits as well if you can’t make the commitment but want to hang out with one for a day. Remember, you should never approach or try to capture a wild creature, and if you find a hurt rabbit, call a local rescue or animal control. Anytime a rabbit hops into your life, you’ll be glad of it.
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