A woman is lying on the floor next to the rabbit.

5 Popular Myths About Living with a Bunny

7 min read

Cute, fluffy, and simply irresistible – bunnies can make for wonderful, fun pets to have. They are great pets for all types of people, whether you intend to keep them in a cage or on the street, whether you are thinking of training them or just going to keep them in the house as part of a family. However, many people think that getting a bunny is something like getting a "goldfish", it's simple, easy to look after, and practically no need to watch over them. However, in reality, the situation is completely different, these guys are rather complex and delicate animals that require optimal living conditions, a special diet, as well as some care. If you plan to get a bunny as a pet for you or for your children, do not rush to make a final decision, but rather try to study this issue well.

Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions surrounding their nature and requirements, leading many people to believe that taking good care of a rabbit is quite an easy feat. This could not be further from the truth! Here we debunk the top 5 myths about living with a bunny that might completely change the way you view these adorable animals.

  1. Bunnies make for great starter pets

Bunnies, much like hamsters and guinea pigs, are usually a child’s first pet. Anyone who has ever owned a bunny, however, can attest to the fact that they are far, far from being low maintenance. A rabbit might even be considered the worst pet for children to have, especially if it is their first companion animal.

Contrary to popular belief, a bunny requires just as much attention as a dog. Even though they can’t be walked as a pup can, rabbits need daily exercise, as well as constant environmental stimulation and enrichment. Due to their curious nature, their environment should be changed often, so that there can always be something new for them to investigate. Even when left alone to exercise, whether it’s in your garden or your living room, they should be monitored closely. It’s quite amazing how quickly your bun can find something unsafe to chew on!

Bunnies should not be kept in cages but left free to roam around rabbit-proofed home. This will require quite a bit of training, especially when it comes to using their litter box. A rabbit’s litter box will have to be cleaned every day, and their cage should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. Vet visits will also be quite expensive, as not all vets will have the necessary experience to care for a bunny, requiring attentive owners to do extensive research and travel multiple times a year.

  1. They love a good cuddle

Hands are holding and hugging a rabbit.
Rabbits look so cute and adorable that it's hard not to hug them.

Bunnies are soft, cuddly, and totally adorable – right? While they may look like the least threatening creatures in the world, rabbits can easily become aggressive when mishandled. Very few bunnies enjoy being picked up and held, and they will quickly show their annoyance by kicking, biting, or scratching. They are independent, aloof animals that might require several months before warming up to their owner. Even then, their way of showing trust and affection is going to be much more similar to a cat’s than a dog’s. If your bunny is content sitting quietly on your lap for a few minutes, you can consider that a success. Still, it can be quite hard to resist petting a cute bunny every once in a while. So, how can you show affection to your fluffy companion?

As long as your bunny’s paws are firmly planted on the floor, it will generally be ok with some loving pets on their head and back. Squatting next to your pet will allow it to come to you if it feels safe enough to do so, so giving your rabbit the choice to get closer should be considered the ideal option. Bonding with your bunny will take time and patience, but it will be an incredibly fulfilling experience!

Last word of advice is that you should never pick up a bunny by the scruff of their neck. As prey animals, rabbits will associate being held by the back of their neck with being captured by predators, putting them in a dangerous state of shock.

  1. Your bunny won’t live long

A popular myth we have all heard while growing up is that a bunny won’t live longer than a couple of years. This might be true for wild rabbits; however, when properly cared for, a pet rabbit can stay with you for over ten years. Just as long as some family dogs!

Unfortunately, years of misconceptions and ignorance about their optimal diet, mental stimulation needs, and habitat requirements have led to house rabbits’ lifespans becoming shorter and shorter. Another major cause of premature passing is that bunnies often hide their illnesses, and they do that so well that most owners won’t notice something is wrong until it is too late. That is why it’s vital to have a vet at hand who has had extensive experience in treating rabbits, as opposed to just relying on your local dog or cat vet practice.

So, what can you do to make your pet live a long and happy life? Avoid putting your rabbit in stressful situations, such as bathing it, provide it with an enriching, spacious living environment full of toys, and most importantly, make sure its diet is adequate. Gastrointestinal complications are extremely common in rabbits, due to both stress and malnutrition. If you want to find out what your bunny should be eating to fully thrive, keep reading!

  1. Bunnies love carrots

Don’t be swayed by the stereotypical portrayal of a carrot-loving rabbit – carrots should be considered an occasional treat, as they are very high in sugar. Carrots have no place being the staple of your bunny’s diet! Overloading on these veggies is the easiest way of fattening up your pet, leading to health issues and expensive trips to the vet. So, what should you feed them instead?

A rabbit’s ideal diet consists mostly of grass hay and fresh leafy vegetables, with some rabbit pellets provided in moderation. They should be fed their body size in fresh, feeding hay on a daily basis, along with a serving of fresh veggies (cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes are all great options) every morning and evening.

  1. Bunnies do not bite!

A rabbit is biting a box.
It may be a surprise for you that a tiny rabbit may want to bite you.

Bunnies do not bite like dogs, do not scratch like cats, and are generally extremely accommodating. This is an absurd delusion! Any obstinate bun, especially during puberty, is able to leave grazes worse than dog bites on your hands. It should be noted that the front bunnies’ incisors are quite sharp, since in nature they bind down the bark of trees, the roots are cut and chewed on thin branches and grass. Unfortunately, the character of a bunny cannot be predicted in advance. Of course, they are very tended to a person and are able to show their love, but they also know how to be offended, angry and show aggression when they do not like something. But if from childhood you surround the baby with care, not frightening and provoking to defend themselves, the animal will grow affectionate and friendly.

Still want to adopt?

A kid and a grown-up are hugging a cute rabbit.
It's impossible not to fall in love with a cute tiny rabbit.

Due to the features ignorance of keeping bunnies, people encounter many problems and instead of a cute animal might get an aggressive biting monster. Understanding the reasons for this behavior of the animal and trying to correct the situation is more difficult than just pushing the rabbit onto someone else. No animal deserves to be just a cute toy in the house.

So, do you think you have what it takes to take a fluffy bunny into your home? We wouldn’t recommend adopting a rabbit as your child’s first pet, but if you are willing to put in the work and monitor your brand-new pet’s wellbeing as closely as you can, you can establish a powerful bond based on trust and care. Creating conditions for a good life for a bunny is not so difficult, but it requires some effort and understanding: there is a rather specific pet in the house and you cannot forget about its needs. Caring for a bunny is definitely not as easy as owning a pet hamster but witnessing a rabbit’s excited binky is all it takes to make it all worth it!

by GetESA

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ESA 101: Educational