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Silly rabbit – What’s Up, Doc?

Rabbits are very easy to love, but not as easy to care for. Kept in a cage all day, they have no choice but to sit there and do nothing. Give a rabbit the freedom to roam your house or backyard, however, and they will leave no stone unturned.

They are inquisitive animals to the point of being mischievous. Hop it to Me Baby Although rabbits are little, they still need a roomy home. Cages for a sixpound rabbit should be at least 18 inches high, 24 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Layer the floor of a wire cage with cardboard or paper. Always house rabbits indoors and maintain a comfortable room temperature. Rabbits can easily learn to use a litter box.

Don’t use cedar or other wood shavings, which may cause liver damage or trigger allergic reactions. Instead, stick with organic litters made of paper, oats, alfalfa or citrus. If there were a food pyramid chart for rabbits, timothy grass hay would form the entire base.

Timothy hay and oats are better than alfalfa hay, which is too high in calcium. Hay aids their digestive systems and provides the necessary fiber to help prevent health problems such as hairballs, diarrhea and obesity.

Like people, rabbits prefer to eat what tastes good, not what’s good for them. Avoid lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage or table scraps, which can all cause bloating and diarrhea. Keep fresh water available, preferably in sipper bottles. Bunny Style Rabbits multiply – well, like rabbits. For that reason, as well as improved health and behavior, have your bunny spayed or neutered.

Chewing is also part of a rabbit’s natural behavior, but it doesn’t have to be destructive. To keep rabbits active and amused, put untreated wood blocks or cardboard in their cage. Don’t give them objects with sharp edges, loose parts, or soft rubber that can be swallowed.

Caution: Handle with Care Rabbits are fragile animals that must be handled carefully. Their bones are so delicate that the muscles in their powerful hind legs can easily overcome the strength of their skeletons. If not properly restrained, struggling rabbits can break their own spines.

One way to take a rabbit out of a cage is to gently gather a handful of loose skin at the scruff of his neck, turn the animal’s face away while pulling his body toward you, and immediately place your other hand underneath his rump to support his body weight. Another method is to slide one hand underneath the front of the rabbit and the other hand underneath his backside, lifting him carefully with both hands.

Never let his body hang free, never lift him by the stomach, and never – EVER – pick him up by the ears. A rabbit can be a charming companion. Once you open your eyes to all the wonderful things the little rabbit has to offer, your heart will surely follow.

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