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Keeping a white rabbit as a legal pet

TreeTake is a monthly bilingual colour magazine on environment that is fully committed to serving Mother Nature with well researched, interactive and engaging articles and lots of interesting info.

Keeping a white rabbit as a legal pet

Try not to handle your rabbit too much during the first few days. You can start by sitting on the floor and letting them come to you...

Keeping a white rabbit as a legal pet

Plants & Pets

TreeTake Network

Keeping a white rabbit is legal in India whereas a wild rabbit is illegal to keep as a pet by households. Rabbits can make a wonderful addition to your family. Healthy rabbits can live for more than 10 years, so a rabbit maybe with your family for as long as a dog would and could require a similar amount of care and attention. If you have other pets, it is important you consider the impact of your rabbit on them and them on your rabbit. Dogs and cats can have a natural instinct to hunt and kill rabbits. If you are introducing rabbits to a home that already has dogs and cats,  your rabbit must be safe from other pets at all times. Barking dogs can also cause your rabbit stress. If your dog barks at your rabbit, ensure the hutch or run is not accessible to your dog when you are not there to supervise. If your rabbits get along well with your other pets, that is fantastic. Your rabbit will have another companion when you are unable to be with it. But always keep your rabbit safe.

Bunny housing: Rabbits are social animals. The location of a rabbit’s housing area within your home (which can take the form of a puppy pen, bunny condo, large cage, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if the bunny is free reign) is an extremely important consideration. You’ll have to make sure the rabbit has a place to relax by himself but is not completely secluded from the family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities.

Bunny proofing: If the bunny will have free reign in the house/apartment/room, you will absolutely need to bunny-proof the area. Even if you keep the bunny in a cage, condo, or puppy pen, you still will need to safeguard your home when you let the rabbit out for supervised exercise. Rabbits are very curious and persistent creatures. They will find a way to get into your computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They will eat your most important documents.

Enrichment: Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house. Give your rabbit at least an hour outside of their cage each day for play and exercise.

Litter box training: Most rabbit rescues will start the process of litter training the bunnies they take in. So, a rescue bunny should have the basics down, but sometimes rabbits forget their good habits once they move into their new home. This is natural because the drastic change in the environment can be very stressful. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits.

Nutrition: It’s important to have a good understanding of a rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his/her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for a rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. Rabbits must have access to unlimited grass and hay at all times. It is very important to ensure that hay allergies will not pose a problem for anyone in the household. Providing fresh vegetables, which are part of a healthy rabbit diet, is also important.

Bonding with a bunny: Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. Interact with your bunny regularly so they stay socialized and happy. (Note that rabbits generally sleep during the day and night and are most active at dusk and dawn.) Find a rabbit-savvy veterinarian for annual check-ups and emergencies.

Traveling: Rabbits get very stressed out when traveling or when placed in unfamiliar environments, so it’s best to have a good pet sitter on hand to watch the bunny if you go on vacation.

Children and rabbits: Rabbits live 10+ years. Adopting a rabbit is a long-term commitment. Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. So, adopting a bunny should be a family decision. Rabbits require safe, gentle handling and a quiet environment. As prey animals, they can be easily startled and stressed by the loud noises and fast, uncoordinated movements that are typical of excited children. Rough handling can lead to serious injuries like spinal fractures, and scared rabbits can deliver a painful bite to your child. You may need to wait until your kids are older before bringing a rabbit home. When kids turn 18 and go to college or look for work, it’s important that the rabbit still has a safe, loving home.  

Health: Monitor your new rabbit companion closely for the quantity and character of stool production and appetite. A rabbit that is not eating is a medical emergency. Note: Rabbits produce soft stools in the middle of the night that they ingest for nutrients. If you are seeing these stools on their fur and in their cage, it is abnormal, but don’t be alarmed if you see them eating them.

Cost of keeping: Finally, consider the financial costs of caring for a rabbit. In addition to an adoption fee and ongoing veterinary costs, you’ll want the following items in your rabbit starter kit: A large cage or habitat, or supplies to build your own; wire floors on caging are not appropriate—they can injure a rabbit’s sensitive feet; Water bowl or bottle; Litterboxes and litter; Chew toys; Timothy hay (or other grass hay) for adults; alfalfa hay if under one year of age; Vegetables; Timothy hay pellets; Occasional fruit/treats

Try not to handle your rabbit too much during the first few days. You can start by sitting on the floor and letting them come to you. If you have other pets, let the newcomer get used to their new home before introducing everyone. Keep the environment as quiet as possible and make sure they have a place that is their sanctuary. If you already have one or more resident rabbits, keep your new rabbits separate from them until you can do introductions in a neutral location. If you're adopting multiple rabbits at once, keep an extra close eye on them. The stress from a change of venue can result in fights, even with rabbits who have been bonded for years. Spay or neuter your rabbit. Rabbits that are sterilized live longer, make better companions, get along with others better, and do not produce unwanted litter.

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