8 Common Myths about Rabbits | Pet Rabbits

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Let’s talk about some common rabbit myths and there are a lot of them. One
myth about rabbits that we encounter all the time is that people think
they’re low maintenance. They are not low maintenance. Once you’ve taken
care of a dog and a rabbit, you will know that a dog takes less time to
take care of than a rabbit does, because rabbits need to be cleaned. Their
cages need to be cleaned. They need to have exercise time outside their
cage. They need excellent veterinary care. It may take you longer to get to
the vet because you can’t just go to a dog and cat vet with a rabbit. You
have to go to a vet that knows about rabbits. These guys are not low
maintenance and that’s a major myth.

Another myth is that they have short lives. I know when I was a child,
people used to tell me that rabbits lived a couple years and by the time I
was an adult, it had gone up to five or six years. Then it became six or
seven years, then seven to nine years, then nine or ten years and now we
are routinely seeing rabbits live ten to twelve years and that’s a good
thing to know before you get a rabbit because this is not a short-lived
animal. This animal is going to be with you the same length of time that
your larger breeds of dogs are, so that’s a major myth to consider.

Another myth is that rabbits don’t need vet care. They do need vet care and
they need vet care by vets that know about rabbits. Since rabbits are not
routinely studied in veterinary medical school, it can be tricky for owners
to find what we call a “rabbit savvy vet”, a vet that has some experience
with rabbits and is willing to go to continuing education, workshops,
seminars, whatever to learn about rabbits. You have to find yourself a vet
like that and make sure that your rabbit is cared for by that vet.

Another myth is that rabbits are happiest out of doors and I think of
outdoor rabbits as similar to dogs who live in a cage in your backyard, or
in a doghouse in your backyard. There’s really no social interaction. When
a child first gets the rabbit, maybe he’s very happy to go outside and take
care of the rabbit for a short period of time, but out of sight, out of
mind and other interests come up and then that rabbit is relegated to an
isolated spot. It’s like keeping somebody in solitary confinement and the
rabbit also is subject to extremes of weather, to parasites, to predatory
animals, so it’s a myth that keeping rabbits outdoors is the best way to
keep them. In fact, they live long, happy lives, as I said ten to twelve
years, is what we’re seeing now and some live into their teens even, if
they’re kept indoors and cared for well.

Another myth about rabbits is that they love to be picked up and cuddled.
Rabbits actually are ground animals. They live on or under the ground and
they feel most comfortable when their feet are on the ground. That isn’t to
say that you can’t pick them up and cuddle them, it’s just to say that you
have to respect the rabbit’s desire to feel safe on the ground. These are
not animals that enjoy being toted around all day long by, even adults, but
certainly not by kids who don’t handle them as well or as easily as adults.

Another common myth is, ‘let’s get a rabbit because we only have a small
apartment and we don’t have a lot of space. Rabbits are small”. In fact,
even a small rabbit needs plenty of space to exercise. These hind legs are
really powerful and they’re made for jumping and running. You will never
get to enjoy the things we see in rabbits if you don’t give your rabbit the
space to exercise. So, the more room, the better, right? You want to get
your rabbit a nice, big exercise pen to live in and then you want to give
him out-of-pen exercise time in a nice, safe rabbit-proof area where you’ve
removed electrical wires and houseplants. So the myth of space is a biggie.
They need space.

Another myth is that rabbits smell. In fact, when a rabbit is spayed or
neutered (spayed f