When considering getting a bunny, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is where that bunny will live. It’s very popular to keep rabbits outdoors in a wire-bottom hutch. It’s also a terrible idea to keep rabbits outdoors in a wire-bottom hutch.
This is a house rabbit blog, and so all of my posts are about keeping house rabbits.
Keeping rabbits outside at all is actually a major risk to their health and safety for a variety of factors. The most unpleasant risk is flystrike, which happens when flies lay eggs in rabbits’ fur and the maggots eat at the rabbits’ skin. Another factor is temperature regulation, which is much harder to manage outdoors. Rabbits cannot stand temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). Although they do much better in the cold than in the heat, it’s not a good idea to keep your rabbits exposed to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). Another major risk is potential predators. Even if the predator cannot get to the rabbits, a sighting or even so much as a smell of a predator (and rabbits have extremely keen senses of smell) could be enough to scare your rabbit literally to death.
The wire-bottoms of most commercial hutches are also terrible for their feet and can induce a condition known as “sore hocks”.
So all of this equates to why I believe if you’re going to have a rabbit as a pet, you should keep them indoors.
But how are you going to house them indoors? There’s a variety of options! The two most popular are the exercise (or x-pen) set-up and the Neat Idea Cubes condo (or NIC condo) set-up. I have the x-pen set-up for Theodore myself. There are other ways to house rabbits, however — you just have to get creative!
There are a myriad of different flooring options that are good for rabbits. Cardboard, though it is difficult to maintain, makes a great floor for a bunny enclosure. Other options include sheet or tile linoleum, ceramic tile, hardwood floor, low-ply carpet, fleece, and cotton towels. It’s best to combine different types of flooring to give your rabbit an interesting environment and a place to rest their feet if they want somewhere softer than the harder, easier-to-clean areas. Seagrass mats also make excellent flooring supplements.
My own personal set-up is comprised of a few vinyl “hardwood” panels, on top of which I have a few plush cotton towels. I also have a few ceramic tiles in Theodore’s area, to help keep him cool during the hot days.
Remember, too, that rabbits are highly litterbox trainable. A litterbox can also provide a soft place for them to rest their feet, but remember to find something that would be safe for them if ingested. A paper-based litter such as Yesterday’s News or CareFresh is a great option.
Do notchoose any litters that are clay based, pine, or cedar and try to avoid aspen pellets (compressed wood pellets) as well.
Some people just use newspaper and hay in their litterboxes. Newspaper is almost always safe for rabbits due to the soy ink used, except for the shiny inserts you sometimes see for advertisements, which uses chemical ink. One potential problem with using only newspaper is that the soy ink may run if urinated on, and this might stain your rabbit’s feet.
No matter what you use, a litterbox should always have hay inside of it and/or be positioned very close to a hay supply. Rabbits like to eat while they defecate (yes, lovely), and having hay inside the litterbox will encourage the rabbit to use it.
My own litterbox set-up is: a piece of newspaper on the bottom, covered by a layer of CareFresh ultra, and then topped with a layer of hay. I also have a medium-sized hay basket attached to the walls of the enclosure right inside/above the litterbox, so that Theodore can also eat clean hay while he does his stuff.
So, here’s your basics of rabbit housing:
- Always house pet rabbits indoors so that they become house rabbits. A house rabbit will be much happier and healthier living indoors with you than outside where there are risks aplenty. (Note: You should also try and get your rabbits spayed or neutered, or better yet, look into adopting from a shelter, as they will have done this procedure for you so you won’t have to pay for it. This is especially true for female rabbits, as they are especially at risk for certain cancers if left unspayed.)
- Choose a flooring for your rabbit’s enclosure that they either can’t chew and ingest, or will be safe for them to do so.
- Provide a variety of flooring options / supplements inside the enclosure, such as cotton towels and seagrass mats.
- Make sure that whatever enclosure you go with is far away from exposed electrical cords. Many rabbits are tempted to chew these and can easily electrocute themselves.
- Make sure your rabbit cannot escape. You’d be surprised what they can fit through. A basic rule of thumb is that if their head will fit, so will their whole body. You will also want to make sure that the walls of the enclosure are high enough to prevent your bunny from attempting to jump out. Not only will the escape be bad, but if the fall is high, the bunny could hurt themselves.
- Make sure the enclosure is not in direct sunlight at all times and make sure to provide some sort of “hide” for the rabbit — rabbits need something to run inside of if they feel scared. A cardboard box with an entry cut out works very well, but there are lots of options for this.
- Provide a litterbox for your bunny. If you follow the steps to litter-training, you will have a nice, clean, healthy enclosure. The litterbox should consist of some rabbit-safe substrate and hay. It should also be close enough to a hay supply for the bunny to eat while sitting in the box.
- Make sure your enclosure is very well-ventilated.
- Make sure the enclosure and where the enclosure is does not get above 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) or below 20 degrees F (-6 degrees C).
- If possible, try housing the rabbit in a room separate from any other animals, especially dogs and cats. Cats and rabbits can often live together with no problem, but dogs are much trickier to navigate.
And remember, two great sources for bunny info is BinkyBunny.com and rabbit.org.
I would be very, very hesitant to say they do. Saying a dog is throwing a tantrum sounds like anthropomorphizing to me.
When I think of tantrums I think of little kids crying because they want something they can’t have, or are being forced to do something they don’t want. And I think its a way to distance and write off the parent/guardian’s contribution to the crying. (Also it can be a way to devalue a child’s feelings, but that’s not what this post is about)
If your kid (or pet) has a history of throwing tantrums the parent (or pet owner) is to blame. You get what you reinforce and if you ever “give in”(reinforce) to the crying you can expect to get more of it. And the more and more you do, the stronger the behavior is going to become.
Simplistically, in training you want to ignore the behaviors you don’t want, and reward the ones you do. Say your dog is whining at the table while you eat dinner. You know they’re not hungry because they just ate, but they’re still whining cause what you have smells so good. In this case you’ll want to remove them from the room and work on being calm around food.
Now let’s think about doing something they don’t want to do. When my youngest sister, who was still just a toddler, had to get dressed up to go to my first communion. She was very upset (some would say throwing a tantrum) while she was being dressed at home. But if you listened to what she was saying she thought she was getting married and didn’t want to. At this point it was possible to explain to her she wasn’t getting married and she was able to calm down.
We can’t talk to dogs and tell them the things they think are scary or that they don’t like aren’t that bad or not what they think, but we can communicate that to them in other ways, i.e. Counter Conditioning. We can tell the puppy that freezes when its on-leash that walking is fun and they get treats, or that their harness means yummy snacks! and that they get to go fun places. Recently, my dog refused to walk down a step on our porch. Through training I was able to say that walking past this step is no big deal. (Its also important to consider whether or not a ‘tantrum’ or bad behavior is due to pain)
To kind of wrap up this long post. No, because I think its anthropomorphizing. I think the word masks how the guardian has had a hand in reinforcing the behavior. And I think that, as well, makes it seem like there’s nothing you can do about it because its just the way they are. When behavior issues are very fixable.
im not even fuckin surprised that so many trans people relate so hard to monsters n animals n ghosts n aliens n abstract landscapes
what else are we supposed to see ourselves in
so i’m taking a class on monsters in theatre right now (yes really) and part of “monster theory” states that monsters refuse to be classified into binary categories and that they are often a demonization or exaggeration of the Other
for example: zombies, ghosts, and vampires all refuse to be classified as living or dead because they’re simultaneously neither but also both
the existence of transness serves to dismantle the gender binary of most cultures so it makes sense that one might find solace in the existence of these archetypes/characters/beings that also refuse to fit into binary categories
if anyone’s at all interested in any of this i highly recommend monster culture (seven theses) by jeffrey jerome cohen