If you’re thinking about adopting a pet rabbit, or more specifically, a house rabbit like Darwin, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re in for before you take the plunge.
With their huge, dark, doe eyes, twitchy little noses, fluffy cottontails and big, dopey floppy ears, there’s no denying that rabbits are extremely cute and you’ll fall head over heels in love with your new pet straight away. But beyond all the innocent, fluffy, cuteness there is a very determined, sometimes obnoxious and often destructive little creature just waiting for you to scoop them up and skip home with them in your arms before they show you their true colours!
Here are ten things that anyone considering getting a house rabbit should be fully aware of before they adopt their new pet.
1) Their fur gets.. EVERYWHERE
Rabbits moult. And I don’t just mean now and then, they shed fur constantly. Be prepared to pick rabbit fur out of every meal you make and expect to leave the house dressed in an extra layer of rabbit fur over every outfit. If you have wooden floorboards or laminate flooring then expect the corners of every room to have rabbit fur tumbleweeds knocking about, and if you have carpets you will soon be stepping upon a bouncy carpet of soft, fluffy rabbit fur. (This occasionally needs to be attacked with a brush to get up the hair that the hoover just can’t tackle. On the plus side, once you’ve completed this arduous task you will have a few large balls of rabbit fur, probably enough to knit a jumper if you so wished!)
2) They can be pretty picky eaters
I always had the impression rabbits would munch away on most kinds of vegetables/salad quite happily. A small lettuce is about 50p, a couple of carrots 30p… but no, such common, cheap vegetables are not for our little one. He made it abundantly clear from very early on that he had an acquired taste for more upper-class greenery… kale to be precise, lots and lots of tasty kale. I can’t say I’ve ever eaten kale before myself, and yet I buy 2 bags a week from our local supermarket. No other vegetable that we’ve tried him with has been greeted with the same enthusiasm as a bag of curly kale.
3) You can’t always cuddle them
Darwin is very affectionate. He loves jumping onto the sofa, snuggling up next to you and continually nudging your hand until you pet him. As long as you’re rubbing his little bunny head the dope will sit there for hours on end. But if you try to pick him up? He’ll make you pay. As soon as you lift his little thrashing paws off the ground he squirms, kicks, wriggles and scratches until he’s back down on the ground. Cuddling is ALWAYS on his terms and his terms only.
4) Your house will need ‘bunny proofing’
If you’re extremely house proud then a rabbit may not be the pet for you. When they first arrive in your home they will be extremely curious about everything, and how do they check new things out? They sink their sharp little teeth into them of course! Be prepared for it to take a couple of months to lay down the ground rules with your bunny and bunny proof each room that they’re allowed in. For the first year that we had Darwin our TV stand was wrapped in wire mesh that was held in place by cable ties… it was a monstrosity!! We eventually bought a new wooden, enclosed TV unit with doors and hard plastic casing to cover any wires that were still exposed.
5) They will STILL occasionally eat your belongings
Bunnies seem to have some weird fetish with rubber, leather and electrical cables, they just can’t help themselves from chewing away on them. Despite our best efforts at keeping everything chewable out of his reach Darwin has sneaked a cheeky nibble on a laptop cable, a phone charger, the wire for the house phone, the hoover cord, numerous extension cables, my handbags and the sole of nearly every shoe we own.
6) They’re persistent little buggers
For such small little creatures they do have good memories. All those things you really don’t want to remember, like the location of your favourite shoes with the oh-so-tasty rubber soles, or the entrance to that dark little passage behind the sofa where it’s impossible to get at them, or the fact that once they got into that cupboard that you really don’t want them scratching around in… they will never forget!
7) They have attitude
You jump up for the sixteenth time to prevent your bunny from trying to dig and chew his way through the clever blockade you’ve made to stop him getting behind the sofa, you’re pretty annoyed already and as you approach your rabbit he does a quick 180 and lunges at you in a threatening manner. This makes you jump and you’re a little bit wary, you hesitate, he turns back and begins to chew away again so you try to push him away, what does he do now? He GROWLS and stands his ground. Yes. That’s right. The rabbit GROWLS.
8) They will make you do silly things
Darwin gets very excited when he sees me first thing in the mornings. I come downstairs, open the curtains and then let him out of his cage for a run around, the first thing he’ll do is run over to me and stand up and scratch at my legs until I run. We then do about 10 laps of the front room with him leaping around at my heels and scratching at my feet if I stand still for too long. The neighbours must think I have a really retarded morning exercise routine.
9) They’re prone to episodes of weirdness
Some days you’ll wake up and greet your bunny and you’ll notice instantly that they’re in a weird mood. Rabbits do this bizarre thing that is known as a ‘binky’. When rabbits binky they may suddenly jump straight up in the air and do a 180 whilst twitching and twisting their head and body…. they may also do it whilst bolting at top speed from room to room. If you’ve not seen it happen before then you may at first wonder if your rabbit is in some sort of pain, or a little insane. Don’t worry though, it just means they’re in a super good mood! The little weirdos!
10) No matter what they do you’ll love them to pieces
Your house will be in tatters, you’ll be known as the crazy rabbit lady who’s always covered in fur and leaping around in the front room in her pajamas. You’ll be spending all your money on kale and replacement mobile phone and laptop chargers… and will your bunny be grateful? No they’ll probably still growl at you and refuse to let you cuddle them, and yet you’ll find yourself irrevocably and deeply committed to the little adorable bugger.