Rabbit Information Service - Fact Sheet
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Rabbit Information Service, P. O. Box 30, Riverton, Western Australia 6148
Ph 9354.2985 Email rabbit@iinet.net.au

The following facts are useful to know if you are considering a rabbit as a pet.

1.Rabbits should not be purchased as a pet for very young children. Rabbits can become ill from stress and rabbits which are mishandled by young children can easily suffer broken limbs causing suffering to the rabbit and costly vet bills.

2.When purchasing a rabbit as a family pet, adults of the family should take responsibility for the rabbitís welfare. This includes ensuring that the rabbit has clean water at all times, is properly fed daily and has his/her hutch cleaned out regularly. It is not appropriate to expect children to assume full responsibility for the life of a pet. Children may sometimes forget to feed or water an animal and/or may tire of cleaning out the hutch. Consider these facts before you purchase a rabbit and not afterwards.

3.Your rabbit will need a comfortable hutch. The best hutches for rabbits are pine and plywood hutches with a solid floor and a lift out front door for easy cleaning. Hutches are available in various sizes, usually from 3ft to 6ft in length.

4.Your rabbit will also need a heavy pottery food bowl of appropriate size (pottery is less likely to be tipped over) and you will also need a drinking water bottle for your rabbit. This can be hooked to the outside of the hutch and you should always check that the ball is at the bottom of the drinking pipe when refilling the bottle (on rare occasions the ball can become stuck at the top of the pipe and when you return the drinking bottle to the hutch, the rabbit cannot access the water). You can normally here the ball fall into position when you invert the bottle.

5.Your rabbit will need rabbit food. It is best to buy some rabbit mix and some rabbit pellets and mix these together in equal quantities for your rabbit. You may also want to purchase some straw as bedding for your rabbit (you can line the hutch with newspaper covered with straw or hay). If you can find a supplier who sells oaten hay, purchase a big bag of this to feed as an extra to your rabbit daily (hay is excellent roughage and helps keep your rabbit healthy).

6.Fresh food that you can feed your rabbit in small amounts includes carrot, celery tops, broccoli leaves, apple (remove pips). Do not feed lettuce or cabbage to your bunny as lettuce can cause stomach upsets and cabbage may cause stomach pain.

7.You may like to flywire your rabbits hutch to keep out biting and sucking insects. Mosquitoes may carry myxomatosis, a fatal disease of rabbits for which there is no vaccine and no cure (rabbits who catch myxomatosis ultimately die and may need to be euthanaised by the vet). Flies and mosquitoes may carry rabbit haemorrhagic disease (renamed "RCD" or "the rabbit calicivirus" by Australian authorities.) There is a vaccine for RCD and this is an annual vaccine.

8.Rabbits do not perspire so take care to keep your rabbit cool in Summer or he/she may suffer heat stroke and die. On warm days, place a 1.25 litre frozen bottle of water in your rabbitís hutch. You may see your rabbit lie next to the bottle to keep cool. Keep several bottles of frozen water in the freezer for convenience. To make the frozen water bottles, 2/3 fill an empty plastic lemonade bottle with water. Add a teaspoon of salt (this stops the water going off or green and you wonít have to refill the bottle all the time) put on the lid and freeze. On very hot days, consider keeping your rabbit indoors for the day. You may wish to bring the hutch inside for the day or else place the rabbit in the shower recess with newspaper, water and food (If the shower recess has a door) or you may consider purchasing a large carry case to keep your rabbit indoors on very hot days. The simple kind act of bringing your rabbit indoors on a hot day may mean your rabbit is alive at the end of the day and does not die a horrible death from heat stroke. Also, Donít place your rabbitís hutch in a draught or out in full sun. It is best to keep your rabbit hutch in a sheltered place or indoors.

9.Keep an eye on your rabbits nails. If they grow to long, they may need clipping.

10.When you purchase your rabbit, ask the seller to check your rabbitís teeth. The front teeth should overlap the bottom teeth. If this is not the case and the teeth meet or the bottom teeth overlap the top teeth, your rabbit may be suffering from malloclusion. Rabbitís teeth grow like human fingernails. If the teeth are not in the correct position for some reason, they may need corrective surgery or clipping(there is a vet who apparently can fix this problem with braces). Rabbits with malloclusion left untreated may end up starving to death because their teeth will grow up into the roof of their mouths so they cannot eat (healthy teeth wear away by rubbing against each other and from wear in the eating of food).

11.Always keep your rabbitís diet consistent and donít overfeed with greens. Introduce fresh foods as an extra to the dry food you feed your bunny - donít cut back on the amount of dry food fed to your bunny.

12.Rabbits are happy on their own as long as you are there to give them attention. Two sisters may live together but 2 males will fight and male+female will multiply

List of things you will need for your rabbit
Hutch -Pine and plywood is best - metal hutches are too hot in Summer/cold in Winter
Flywire (you can staple this to outside of hutch door)
Carry basket (good for going to the vet or bringing bunny in on hot days).
Drinking bottle
Pottery food bowl
Hay/straw for bedding and newspaper
Rabbit food - Mix and Rabbit Pellets

You may want to consider borrowing some books from the library to learn more about your rabbit or you can also find information on the internet.

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