Rabbits are timid animals that are gentle and tame. They can grow attached to their owners and can also be housetrained to use a litter box if confined to a small area. Like other small pets, many varieties have been developed, with the most popular being the albino. The dwarf rabbit lives up to 12 years, with the larger breeds living between 5 to 8 years. Rabbits should be kept in a cage made of metal or plastic, measuring at least 1 meter by 2 meters by 0.3 meters in height. Avoid cages with wire mesh at the bottom because rabbits have no footpads, so sores can develop on the feet from standing on the wire mesh all the time. Bedding is not necessary except in the nesting box, where you can place hay or wood shavings. Do not use wool, cotton or other fabrics for bedding because they can be ingested. Rabbit enclosures can be placed outdoors, as long as the rabbit has a covered area that protects it from excessive sun/rain/cold. Although rabbits can tolerate fairly wide fluctuations in temperature, their preferred range is between 10 an 18 degrees Celcius. Cages should be cleaned at least once per week.
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they eat only vegetables. They can be fed a balanced pelleted diet, but must be supplemented with roughage such as timothy hay to wear their teeth down and prevent overgrowth. Alfalfa should be avoided because it is too high in calcium and too low in fibre. Water should be available at all times in the form of a water bottle with a nipple attached. Normal rabbit urine has a chalky white appearance due to the high calcium content in their urine.
Rabbits can be groomed like dogs or cats. Brush with a soft hair brush. Claws and teeth may need to be trimmed regularly. You can bring the rabbit to the veterinarian to do it or he/she can show you how to do it yourself.
Rabbits are gentle creatures that rarely bite. They can also be playful and will learn to recognize family members. They make good pets for young children. It is important to remember, however, that due to their longer lifespan (compared to other small pets), having a rabbit is a long-term commitment.
One common finding in the yard during the summer months is wild rabbits and their babies. If babies are found without a mother, it is best to leave them alone because their mother will return. She is likely just out foraging for food. It is not recommended to bring the wild baby rabbits in the house because they have learned to be very fearful of humans and will not make good pets, especially for young children.
by : Amy Cheung - Pets.ca writer
picture : www.hamsteronline.org
site : www.pets.ca
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