We’ve all heard rabbit advice running wild in the rabbit community, in rabbit books, and in online forums – some we take with a grain of salt and others are much more thoroughly researched and reliable! So which 10 are the most common ones I hear? So check out these 10 rabbit myths debunked!
1. Rabbits are fine left outside in hutches.
Domesticated rabbits should never be placed outside in hutches. Rabbits require temperatures between 60-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures outside of this range are likely to cause your rabbit stress both mentally and physically.
Rabbits are also prey animals. Outside in a hutch, predators can easily sniff out and find their already trapped prey. Stuck in a hutch, predators are likely to see a rabbit as an easy target. Even if the predator does not make it inside the hutch, a rabbit stuck in a hutch can easily die from the fear of being eaten.
If your rabbit is being kept outside, please check out Indoor Rabbits: Why Indoors is Right.
2. Females and males are the easiest bonds.
It’s a common thought that a male and female bond is the easiest to accomplish. My experience, and the experience of many other experts, has developed our belief that bonds are better determined by personality of both rabbits being bonded. Just like humans, rabbits must develop a relationship with another rabbit that they can work out a hierarchy with. Two dominant rabbits are much more likely to take a longer time to bond – even if one is female and one is male. Ruling out a great many rabbits by sex alone could be causing your rabbit to miss out on their best friend!
To learn more about bonding, check out my blog bonding section!
3. Rabbits are low-maintenance pets.
It’s been widespread that rabbits are low-maintenance pets that don’t take much work or effort and are relatively easy to keep. This could not be further from the truth.
Rabbits require annual veterinary appointments with a special exotics vet that is well educated on rabbits and their proper care. Ensuring your rabbit is checked annually by a vet will help prevent illnesses from going undetected – which always cost exceptionally more than if they would have been detected earlier.
Rabbits also require a special diet – normally slightly modified to accommodate any sensitivities they have. Not paying attention to your rabbit’s diet and poop can lead to a number of medical conditions now and later down the road.
They need a lot of socialization with other bunnies or their humans – both of which can require a lot of time and effort on their humans part. Socialization is extremely important for your rabbits mental well-being.
Rabbits rely on routine when it comes to their daily activities. Yes, rabbits will pick up on their humans routines BUT going outside this routine can cause a lot of stress and anxiety to your rabbit – both of which can lead serious health conditions.
4. Carrots are a great food for rabbits.
Carrots are full of sugar and although a perfect small treat – they are incredibly dangerous when overfed and can lead to obesity and other costly health conditions.
Rabbits require a specific diet: unlimited hay, a small amount of pellets, 2 cups of leafy greens, and a small treat daily. Check my Diet Instructions for new bun parents.
5. Rabbits have short lives.
Rabbits have commonly been known to have lifespans that don’t extend past 4-6 years old. This, however, has been based on the assumptions that rabbits did well living outside in hutches and annual vet care was not necessary. With the great veterinary care that we have now, we are able to help our rabbits live long and healthy lives extending to 12-15 years!
6. Rabbits need baths to help them keep clean.
Rabbits do not need baths to help them keep clean. Rabbits are actually incredibly clean creatures and rarely need help unless illness or disability keeps them from being able to do it themselves.
Rabbits who are unable to keep themselves clean should be cleaned with cornstarch and then rubbed off with a towel. If this doesn’t work and bathing is absolutely necessary, you should give your rabbit a quick bath in an inch of water and no soap. If your rabbit is not able to clean themselves and you are unable to keep them clean – talking to your vet and helping to find other options such as shaving the fur around the affected area or diapers is absolutely necessary.
7. Rabbits are rodents.
Rabbits are not rodents. Rabbits belong to their own order – lagomorphs! Unlike rodents, rabbits are obligate herbivores. Rabbits also have a different set of teeth than rodents. And last but not least, male reproductory organs are different! Male rodents have a baculum and male rabbits do not!
8. Rabbits make great pets for children.
Rabbits make terrible pets for children. Although they may seem small and cuddly, most rabbits actually despise being held and would prefer themselves to be firmly planted on the ground at all times. Rabbits are also quick to tell you their displeasure – whether through a digging behavior, a quick nip, or a more harsher bite.
Rabbits are complicated creatures that require a strict diet along with a schedule and routine. They also rely on their “bun parents” keeping an eye on them closely to ensure their routines and eating habits are perfect. Anything outside perfect and your bunny could be in need of a vet visit!
For more information on why rabbits do not make good children’s pets, check out my blog post Silly Parents, Rabbits Aren’t for Children: Ending the “Childs Pet” Fallacy.
9. Rabbits can get hairballs.
It’s been widely spread that rabbits can get hairballs from continuously cleaning their bodies and keeping their fur so nice! Fortunately and unfortunately, this is only a myth. Rabbits cannot get hairballs like cats.
Rabbits can however get have a slowing of their digestive tract that can lead to a bundling and mass of the contents going into the digestive tract to harden and begin to have trouble passing it’s way through the entire digestive system. At this point, vet intervention is immediately needed.
To find out more on hairballs and the myth, check out Hairballs & GI Stasis: Truth or Myth and for more information on treating this condition commonly known as Gastrointestinal Stasis, check out The Bunny Owner’s Guide to GI Stasis (backed by medical research).
10. Trancing is a safe and effective way to handle rabbits.
Trancing has long been used to keep rabbits subdued in an effort to get their nails done, grooming done, or to keep them calm while holding. However, it’s recently been realized just how unhealthy and dangerous this practice is to your rabbit. Trancing is actually putting your rabbit into the same state they would be in if they were being attacked and eaten by a predator. The trance mimics death – keeping the rabbit into a completely limp state with the hope that the predator will loosen their grip and the rabbit can then escape away.
For more information on tracing, check out How Trancing Your Rabbit Can be Harmful (with medical research provided).
Courtesy of Big Stock Photo / Life on White.