I had a conversation with my son this morning about our bunny. It was an important conversation that I feel I should share with anyone on the verge of deciding whether or not to get a bunny who also happens to have small children.
My son is an excitable eight year old. He moves fast and hard and doesn’t really have a quiet button. He is also, in some ways, very skittish, a trait he shares with Moose. This morning, Cody jumped off the couch, right next where Moose was chilling, and Moose darted out at him. My son jumped on the couch, lost his mind, Moose hid under the table and licked his paw…he had defended his “den” and all was good. After the hysterics subsided I tried to break down a bunnies mentality for him. Here is the basics of our conversation:
First and foremost, bunnies make amazing pets. If you decide to get one they will delight you daily, and bring you peace with any interaction you have them. That being said there are some things you should know about bunnies, and although some of these might seem obvious, they may not be too little ones.
Bunnies are prey animals. What this means is that they don’t hunt, they don’t have the skills to hunt, and are actually prime food for a lot of creatures. Instinctively they will hide, cower, freeze, and quickly dart out of harm’s way if frightened.
Bunnies run on instinct mostly. They don’t have complex thoughts. They get hungry, they eat. They get thirsty, they drink. They get scared they run or in some cases charge and flee. They might even growl a little to show how displeased they are. That is not to say that bunnies are stupid…because they not. They are amazing.
Bunnies are early and late animals, not necessarily nocturnal. They just are usually more active in the early morning and late night. This can be difficult and good for families. Difficult, because your bunny may want to play when you are really trying to get ready for bed, but it some ways good because bunny will spend most the time you are working or at school sleeping (no guilt).
Bunnies do need to play. Don’t think that just because they can’t play fetch that they don’t want to play. A bored bunny is an unhappy bunny.
Bunnies have their own personalities just like humans. Some are sweet and cuddly, some don’t want to be cuddled. You have to know your bunny and be happy with what your bunny is comfortable with. Mine, for example, doesn’t like to be picked up. Don’t try and force your bunny to do something they don’t like.
Bunnies are curious. The like to investigate, so letting them have as much room to roam as possible is great. Just remember to bunny proof all areas they have access to. Our bunny has access to the whole house, all cords have been moved or covered for example.
Happy bunnies in happy families will not purposely harm their humans. I can’t stress that enough. The size of their teeth and sharpness of their claws they could do serious damage. If they wanted to hurt you, they would. If they nip at you, or scratch you usually it’s an accident or a warning. Scratching for example, I have two very deep cuts (now lovely scars) from when I tried to hold my bunny, he hates being picked up, his back legs are extremely powerful and his back claws are sharp. My fault, not Moose’s. You can let them know when they have hurt you. When they scratch or nip make a high pitched squealing sound, this lets them know that you were hurt. You never hit a bunny, even gently. Ever. They will never forgive you. More to the point it is awful and cruel.
Some people have had luck training bunnies to come to them, I haven’t had any with mine, I am just happy he uses the litter box and for the most part goes into his cage when I ask him to. They aren’t dogs or cats. So don’t get one thinking they will act like them.
That all being said, bunnies are amazing. I can’t explain exactly why they just are. When you are petting a bunny, the look of absolute contentment on their faces his enough of a reason to want one. Watching them explore and play. Getting bunny kisses, or noses (they show affection by rubbing their noses on you). Bunnies make wonderful additions to the family but when you have small children, it is best that they know what they can and can’t do with the bunny. They can gently pet the bunny. They can’t chase the bunny. They can feed the bunny carrots, they can’t throw food at the bunny. They can act normal in the house, just be aware of the bunny and know that if they frighten the bunny the bunny might react and to be mindful of that.
I feel like, when you have a giant bunny, all that I mentioned is super sized. His back legs are stronger than a dwarf bunnies for example. Giant bunnies can be more intimidating even though they are just as docile. Although, honestly, how can you find this little guy intimidating?
*I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bunny expert or veterinarian. I am just a bunny lover we happen to have a giant happy bunny living with us. I love the following sites for more information if you are thinking of getting a bunny.