Rabbits as pets: 7 things you need to know

ByJohn Sprei WABC logo
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Ready for a pet rabbit? Check this out first
Reported and edited by John Sprei

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Thinking about adopting a pet? Rabbits are viable options, just like dogs and cats.

Vivian Barna runs All About Rabbits Rescue, a non-profit based in Queens. Its mission is rescuing abandoned and neglected rabbits, and placing them in loving, caring homes. They also educate owners on rabbit care.

Rabbits are the underdog of the pet world, said Barna, because they are easily misunderstood by most people. They are adaptable to humans, and with proper care and attention, the bond with owners can be very rewarding. Barna said they need a specific diet, exercise, and most of all, love.

Check out allaboutrabbitsrescue.org for information on these creatures.

Thinking of getting a pet rabbit? Here are 7 things you need to consider first (Source: ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States):

1. HOW LONG THEY LIVE: Rabbits can live up to 10-plus years.

2. WHEN THEY GET MAD: Rabbits get scared if you cuddle or carry them, and they could scratch or bite you. Dropping rabbits can result in broken legs and backs. Introducing rabbits to each other can be difficult - proceed with caution!

3. WHAT THEY COST: Some estimated costs you should expect: $90 for a cage (minimum for small- to medium-sized breed is 4 feet wide, 2 feet deep and 2 feet tall), $30 for a carrier, $25 for a litter box, $125 a year for food, $25 annually for toys and treats, $125 for veterinary care and $400 annually for litter and bedding.

4. WHAT THEY EAT: Grass hay. Rabbit pellets. Fresh leafy greens, like dark leaf lettuces or collard greens. Clean water at all times. Rabbits like fruit and sugary foods, but should only receive them sparingly.

5. WHAT THEY USE AS A BATHROOM: They can be trained to use a litter box. The box should be lined with hay, grass or pelleted newspaper, but no cedar or pine. Clean your rabbit's cage/litter weekly.

6. WHAT TO EXPECT DAILY: Rabbits live indoors, but require a lot of exercise -- hours daily -- and space. Any outdoor area should be fully enclosed; never leave a rabbit outside unsupervised. Their indoor cage should be in an out-of-the-way area.

7. SPAYING: All rabbits should be spayed or neutered.

And, according to the ASPCA, a couple of extra, "unique" aspects to rabbits:

-- Rabbits eat their feces - and for them it is a healthy act for their digestion.

-- Stressed out rabbits thump their back legs on the ground.

(Source: ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States)