By Mary Lempert, founder and manager of The Rabbit Advocate
February is Adopt-A-Rescued Rabbit Month, and, in honor of it, these are my top 10 reasons rescued rabbits make great pets:
1.Rabbits are the perfect pets for those who may not have time for daily walks, but still seek the social quality of a dog-like companion. And, like cats, rabbits can be litter box trained very easily. Best of both worlds!
2.Many people who are allergic to dogs and cats may not be allergic to rabbits.
3.Rabbits are uniquely talented comedians. Binkies (little hop-spins and kicks they do when they’re happy), bunny flops (flopping over and playing dead) and bunny 500s (think the Indy 500, but with bunnies) are just some of the quirky and amusing habits of the house bunny.
4.Rabbit schedules match up with people schedules. Our furry friends are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, which corresponds wel l w ith the times most of us are starting our day or getting home from work and ready for some couch snuggling or binky watching.
5.Rabbits help you get healthy. As herbivores, rabbits mesh wel l w ith vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Generally speaking, though, having a pet who encourages you to stock your fridge with fruits and vegetables is good for everybody — vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
6.Rabbits make great pets for city dwellers. They happily stay in large cages or puppy pens during the day when you’re gone and love to come out to romp around in rabbit-proofed rooms when you’re home.
7.Rabbits have long lifespans compared to other small animals. They can live 10-12 years or more if provided with a proper diet and care.
8.Rabbits are heroic. In the wild, rabbits communicate with each other about perceived dangers by thumping their back legs; astute house bunnies will provide you with a similar security system. Who needs a German Shepherd when you can have a fierce guard bunny? (Clearly I’m joking on this one, but there are many stories of rabbits alerting their people to danger. In 2008, an Australian pet rabbit alerted his people to a house fire in the middle of the night and undoubtedly saved their lives. The lesson — never underestimate a bunny!) (Read our blog post: Hero bunny saves his family.)
9.Rabbits are great listeners (just look at those ears!). They also make excellent snugglers with their extra-soft fur and loving nature. What more could you ask for from a friend?
10.Rabbits need homes too. Perhaps one of the best reasons to adopt a bunny is that there are so many waiting for forever homes. In fact, after dogs and cats, rabbits are the third most abundant adoptable pet, with more than 5,500 listed for adoption on Petfinder. Search Petfinder to find some bunnies at a shelter or rescue group near you!
Mary Lempert is the founder and manager of The Rabbit Advocate. She has served as a rabbit behavior and rehabilitation consultant for the House Rabbit Society, House Rabbit Network and the MSPCA in Massachusetts and, most recently, for the Almost Home Humane Society in Lafayette , IN. She lives in West Lafayette , IN , with her rabbits Graysie and Willoughby and any number of foster bunnies.