When we were teenagers, my sister had a feisty dwarf bunny named Ribbit that lived in her bedroom. She moaned about cleaning his cage, but we both loved his quirky personality, feeding him crunchy leftovers from my mom’s garden, watching him jump and twirl happy airs above the carpet, and laughing when he very seriously rearranged his dishes and toys! Rabbits can make wonderful pets for gentle older children, teenagers, and adults. They are not usually a good choice of a pet for a home with younger children, as many bunnies do not like to be held – and they are so cute the temptation to pick them up can be impossible for kids to resist! Also, they do have sharp teeth and nails that they will use if frightened, being prey animals by heritage. Rabbits are quite fragile structurally and can startle easily, so should only be picked up and be held by a bunny-experienced adult. An accidental drop can break a bunny’s back or neck, a horrible experienced for everyone involved and definitely one you want to avoid at all costs. Some rabbit rescues suggest to wait until your child is 10 years old or older, so they can really understand and respect the basic bunny safety rules, see below.
1-2-3 Bunny Safety Rules for Kids
1. Be considerate! Never pick up your bunny. Bunnies can bite and kick. Only adults should pick up rabbits.
2. Be gentle and patient! Sit on the ground so you are closer to bunny-size. Ask an adult to put the bunny and some bunny food on the floor near you. Hold out your hand so they can smell it first, then softly stroke the top of their head or back. If they like it, they will stay. If they don’t like it, allow them to hop away, and you can try another day.
3. Be quiet! Bunnies are easily frightened. Talk in a quiet voice. Enjoy together time with your bunny by sitting quietly, feeding them food and treats an adult gives you for them, and watching them do fun bunny things like chewing and hopping around. If you’re patient, you might even see them jump for joy!
Ready to adopt a rabbit? See rabbits for adoption near you on Adopt-a-Pet.com at www.adoptapet.com/other-pet-adoption#rabbit