Rabbits are fine domestic companions
Question: I am considering adopting a rabbit because I live in an apartment building that doesn't allow dogs or cats. What are some tips that I can share with my 5-year-old to teach her about bunny care?
Answer: Domestic rabbits make fine companion animals. They are inquisitive, intelligent, sociable and affectionate, and when well cared for, can live for seven to 10 years.
It is best that the rabbit's primary caregiver be an adult who will carefully supervise children interacting with the animal. Kids generally want to show "love" for pets by cuddling or carrying them, but these actions can frighten rabbits.
Children, and adults, need to remember: When picking up a rabbit, always support its hindquarters to prevent spinal injury or broken legs.
Rabbits should never be picked up by their ears, it's painful! It is best to grasp the loose skin over the rabbit's shoulders or scoop up from under the chest, then place your other hand under the back legs to lift your rabbit. As you're learning proper handling, work near the floor in case it jumps out.
If you're considering buying someone a rabbit for Easter, stick to the chocolate kind. Refrain from giving pets as gifts.
Question: Why is it important to determine sex and to sterilize rabbits?
Answer: Sexing your rabbit is important, especially if you recently adopted a pair. If they are young, separate them before they are 3 months old to prevent accidental litters.
Rabbits can have a litter every 30 days and are able to get pregnant within minutes after giving birth, so spaying and neutering is recommended. Not only does sterilization prevent unwanted litters, it protects females from uterine cancer and males from becoming aggressive. Sterilized male and female pairs can live happily together.
A healthy rabbit's minimum requirements are adequate housing that allows it to move freely, a proper diet of grass hay and dark-green leafy vegetables, fresh water, out-of-cage exercise, regular visits to the vet and your companionship.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, email@example.com
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.