Jessica Morrison’s Californian rabbit, George. HOUSE RABBITS ARE PREY TO PREDATORS, JUST LIKE THEIR BACKYARD COUSINS. “Everything is out to eat them,” she says. “They have that prey animal mentality. They’re different from dogs and cats in that aspect and even though they are more domesticated than the wild rabbits in the yard… they’re not ideal pets for small children. Starting about age six or seven, they’re OK pets for children, as long as the parents are engaged and are willing to be the primary caretaker.” UNDERSTAND THE RABBIT’S PERSONALITY. They’re more like cats; they’re friendly, they’re social, but you have to let them approach you on their terms. “You can’t just run over and pick them up. They’re ground loving creatures,” Watkins explains. “They’re very frightened if their feet are off the floor. They associate that with a bird of prey; that’s not something they like. Children like to pick up and carry around an animal because that’s what they do with their stuffed toys. That’s probably the total opposite of what a rabbit wants to have done to them.” LET THE RABBIT COME TO YOU. “They love to sit on the couch and watch TV. The rabbit is going to be naturally curious, see what the kids are up to, and hop all over them,” Watkins says. “It’s when they’re being chased, they don’t like it.” ONCE THEY’RE SPAYED AND NEUTERED, RABBITS USE A LITTER BOX. ”They don’t need to be confined to a cage.” THEY’RE HIGH-ENERGY ANIMALS SO THEY NEED THREE TO FOUR HOURS OF GOOD EXERCISE EVERY DAY. “We recommend they get out of their enclosure and interact with the family,” Watkins says. RABBITS DIG AND CHEW BY NATURE. Wild rabbits in the yard dig burrows. Domestic rabbits have that same instinct. “A lot of times people will give up rabbits to shelters because, ‘They’ve destroyed my house, they’ve chewed my cords, they’ve dug under my carpet, they’ve gotten under my couch.’ That’s probably the No. 1 reason rabbits are given up to shelters,” Watkins says. BUNNY PROOF YOUR HOME. The rabbit only needs one room. “They prefer the room you’re in,” Watkins says. ADOPT MATURE RABBITS. “Don’t go to a pet store, or a feed and seed store, and adopt a baby rabbit. You don’t know what the personality of that rabbit’s going to be,” Watkins says. engaged rigorous academics learning VALUES exploration individualized teaching Schedule a tour today! • 18 mos – 8th grade 910.791.8221 | www.fsow.org 14 WBM 1/12 page 2x2.28 april 2015 FOR FAMILIES THAT ARE NOT 100 PERCENT CERTAIN THEY ARE READY FOR THE TEN-YEAR COMMITMENT, CAPE FEAR HOUSE RABBIT SOCIETY RECOMMENDS A CHOCOLATE OR STUFFED BUNNY IN THE EASTER BASKET.
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