Living with House Bunnies

I have seen so many people asking whether bunnies make good pets that I thought it worthwhile to write down my thoughts and experiences of living with bunnies.

We have two gorgeous little bunnies. They are small and must have some dwarf mixed in there somewhere but as the bunny expert at the bunny show quite flatly told us, they are nothing more than pavement specials and then proceeded to tell why they would never be worth entering into a bunny show. Not what a proud bunny parent is dying to hear.

He is NOT enjoying being held but I needed to pick him up for some or other reason.
He is NOT enjoying being held but I needed to pick him up for some or other reason.
  • As with humans, each one is vastly different in personality and you will have no idea what you are getting yourself in for when you buy the bunny. It may be super sociable or it may tolerate you at best.
  • Let’s get this out of the way right at the very beginning. Bunnies, dislike, no scratch that. Bunnies HATE being picked up. For you to have a successful relationship with your ball of fluff you need to get over the urge to pick thumper up.
  • Bunnies are fragile. They can die of fright from even just the sight of a predator as they have weak hearts. They have weak backs that snap easily from being picked up badly or from them struggling to get away. They have very temperamental digestive systems and a runny tummy or constipation is a big cause for concern and can be fatal.
  • Bunnies are territorial. Unless they are bonded they will fight each other and sometimes even you for being in their territory. Button once claimed the garden shed as his (before he was neutered) and if you dared entering without his consent you had better be wearing gumboots because he would attack your ankles with all the gusto he could summon. He is still a seriously feisty bunny even after being snipped. Ever since he was a baby he has had the personality of a grumpy old man and it took us a long time to tame him. He now likes me and barely tolerates everyone else. That said he will be tempted out of hiding during dinner parties to check his territory and see who has invaded his space.
  • Not all bunnies are affectionate. Lila will spend up to 5 minutes giving me kisses while Button will give me two or three licks and then move along. In fact for a long time Button would only condescend to kiss the ground next to me and not actually kiss me directly. Lila tolerates me planting lots of kisses on her forehead and snuggling my face into her soft fur but Button will stiffen up if you do that and then bolt after a few seconds. Ironically Button is tamer than Lila. Neither of them will sit on my lap or snuggle up alongside me. They will occasionally hop up to me and give me kisses and tolerate a head stroke or kisses from me here or there. They love to be near us and to watch us. We once had a bunny who would lie alongside us while watching TV but I do not believe that is the norm. As grumpy as my little old man is he has been known to follow me around the house and garden and has also been known to throw serious temper tantrums when he can’t sleep on the floor next to me at night… Sorry Button but you can blame Lila’s chewing of my percale linen for losing you that privilege.
  • Bunnies are a long time commitment. If well cared for they normally live for 8 – 13 years. Bunnies kept indoors as part of the family that is. Living outside or in a hutch will drastically reduce their life expectancy.
  • Bunnies can be litter trained but please research what types of litter are safe for bunnies as many can cause breathing difficulties in bunnies. They are quite neat animals and will refuse to use the litter tray if you do not clean it often enough. Some bunnies are neater than others.
  • Bunnies cannot live off of carrots. In fact carrots are a sweet treat for them and a full carrot has way more sugar than their recommended daily allowance. Bunnies need loads of hay and then some pellets and fresh greens every day.
  • Bunnies are magical creatures. No really they are. They have made many plants in my garden disappear in the space of a few hours. Entire rose bushes even. Don’t think they only eat what they can reach. Button loves cutting off branches at the base of the stem and watching the branch fall to the ground. And you wonder why an entire Jasmine bush has dried out? Button has gone around and cut off each stem connecting it to the soil. Thank my boy, momma loves it when you do that!
  • Bunnies are vindictive. No really I swear they are. When they lived at my mother-in-law’s house they would dig whenever they were angry which sent mother-in-law running out the house screaming at them. That happened once or twice in my garden with little effect but then they discovered ipod cables… you can see where this is going. Let’s actually just say cables in general. We gave up on surround sound. You would be watching Lord of the Rings and suddenly the army marching to the back left of you would disappear. And yes we do bunny proof our cables but somehow they always outsmart us.

Anyway this post is getting a bit long winded but I think this will give any bunny novices a better idea of what it is like to share your home with bunnies.

My Princess Lila
My Princess Lila
Bunny kisses after returning from a business trip
Bunny kisses after returning from a business trip
Lila begging for treats
Lila begging for treats
Button getting bunny treats from his dadda
Button getting bunny treats from his dadda
Bunny kisses from my Lila
Bunny kisses from my Lila

*Please note that I am not a bunny expert or vet, this article is written purely based on my experience of owning bunnies and many hours of research on how best to care for them. For more information about owning bunnies here is a great resource:

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