We are three months into rabbit ownership. We got two baby rabbits from a family who was moving away and they’ve been living in our basement ever since. It’s been a huge blessing for our family because our daughter is so allergic to most animals that we haven’t been able to keep pets until now. That being said, I do think there are a lot of things about owning rabbits that I wish I had known and I don’t think they’re the pets for everyone.
Here are 8 reasons you might want to rethink surprising your kids with a rabbit:
1 /// Rabbits die easily. Until I really started researching rabbits, I had no idea how fragile they are. They die if they eat the wrong food, including certain fresh vegetables, and they can apparently eat themselves to death if you give them too much food at once. They also might die if you try to bathe them, if they run too fast, if they hear noises that are too loud, or if you pick them up the wrong way. I mean, there are a ton of rabbit owners out there who are keeping their rabbits alive but I wish I’d had the heads up before we committed to having rabbits and young kids at the same time.
2 /// Rabbits can be expensive. I thought rabbits would be a cheap little pet because they don’t eat that much and they don’t need too much space. Plus, our rabbits were a bargain at just about $30 for the pair. That being said, I think we’ve dropped somewhere around $600 on the rabbits in the last three months because we bought them a cage, a different cage when that cage didn’t work out, a larger dog fence to give them some running space, four bags of food, five bags of hay, and a whole collection of things for them to chew up. Yes, the bulk of this cost is made up of one-time purchases but if you factor in exotic pet bills…
3 /// Rabbits go to exotic vets. Yes, if your rabbit gets sick you have to take it to an exotic pet vet. Most regular vets don’t see rabbits. So bleh@that.
4 /// Rabbits chew things up. You have to constantly provide things for your rabbits to chew or (A) they’ll misbehave and (B) their little teeth will get overgrown and you’ll have to take them to that exotic vet. Also, if you let them out they will chew on things like cords and furniture and your rugs and basically all of the things that they can find.
5 /// Rabbits need to run around. Yes, you can leave your sad rabbit in a hutch but then you just have a smelly box of sadness. Rabbits need to run around for at least an hour every day (with the ideal situation being a big area that they can use all day.) Some people even let their bunnies have the run of the house but the problem with that is that you’ll have chewed stuff and little round poops until your bunny is litter trained.
6 /// Rabbits are poop factories. You won’t believe how much rabbits poop. I swear, our rabbits poop their weight every single day. A million poops all rolling around and getting everywhere. The good news is that rabbit poop smells like nothing and there’s so much of it that you’ll stop being grossed out by it very quickly. The bad news is that rabbit pee smells like ammonia and they pee almost as much as they poop. I’ve heard that you can litter train them but so far our bunnies are pretty happy just pooping and peeing wherever they happen to be.
7 /// Rabbits shed. I guess this is to be expected but I didn’t realize how much rabbits shed. Rabbits shed just like cats. They have wonderful fur but it’s super fine and there’s a ton of it so you will definitely get it in your mouth and your eyes and you will have it all over if you cuddle them a lot. I could solve this by not kissing on my rabbits so much but let’s face it – that’s not going to happen. So we brush them and accept that they shed.
8 /// Your rabbit will hurt you. Our rabbits are little balls of love and they don’t mind being cuddled, snuggled, and carried by our little kids. HOWEVER: your rabbits come with teeth and claws (which need to be trimmed occasionally, btw) and there is just no way that you can interact with rabbits and not get the occasional scratch or nip. Claw trimming in particular is an activity that leaves me with long scratches all over my arms. So if that doesn’t sound like fun, rabbits might not be for you!
Now, I have no regrets about getting our rabbits. We love them and they make the kids really happy. Plus, I feel like the poop and the scratches and even the rabbit mortality problem is all a part of pet ownership and that’s a great learning experience for our family. I just wanted to remind you that it’s not all fluff and love. Rabbits are a commitment – be prepared!