You love your pet rabbits like members of the family, and so it is only natural to want to do the very best by them. It is important to consider how your bunnies would live in the wild and to try to create an environment that best serves their natural instincts while keeping them safe. But, where to start? Read on for our handy guide on the 10 best ways to show your rabbits you love them!
Don’t forget to give your rabbits plenty of space
Rabbits love nothing more than having the space to run around, play, dig and explore while enjoying a bit of ‘me’ time. Show your bunnies you love them by offering a secure environment where they can display these natural behaviours safely away from predators. A happy rabbit is a loved rabbit!
Do allow your rabbits to come to you
The best way to gain your rabbits’ trust is by simply spending lots of time being near them, while allowing your bunnies to approach you in their own time. By sitting quietly with them in a safe enclosure, you’ll show your rabbits that you aren’t to be feared and that you can be trusted.
Don’t force a rabbit to be picked up
It is worth remembering that rabbits wouldn’t normally be picked up if they lived in the wild, so we need to introduce handling slowly. If you pick your bunny up and they start to struggle, gently place them back down so that they don’t become distressed or injure themselves trying to escape. Your rabbits may just prefer being stroked from the floor.
Do handle rabbits gently
If your rabbits are comfortable with being picked up, a gentle but secure hold (while keeping their back and hindquarters supported) will allow your bunnies to feel safe and loved while you both enjoy a cuddle.
Don’t pick up a rabbit by their ears
The only way to safely pick up a rabbit is by gently scooping them up with one hand under their chest and your other hand under their hindlegs. Rabbits are delicate creatures and picking them up by their ears (or legs, tail or scruff of the neck) would result in pain and possible injury.
Do make cuddles a positive experience
Feeding your rabbits a healthy, tasty treat, such as Selective Naturals Meadow Loops, can help your bunnies to associate being handled with a positive experience. Did anyone say, “treat time”?
Don’t place rabbits on their backs
You may have heard that placing a rabbit on their back will ‘trance’ or ‘hypnotise’ them, but, while they may appear relaxed in this position, it is actually a survival technique from their days in the wild.
Technically known as tonic immobility, the ability for your rabbit to play dead when in a vulnerable position may successfully deter a predator from eating them, but it is also very stressful and they can severely injure themselves if they suddenly jump out of this state.
Do give your rabbits safe toys to play with
Toys allow your rabbits to satisfy their curious natures while also providing plenty of interactive fun for them and for you. It’s easy to make your own toys – simply stuffing a plain, unprinted and unbleached toilet roll or egg box with hay and a few treats will encourage foraging. Keen for more tips on enrichment toys? Here’s our helpful guide.
Don’t allow your rabbit to be lonely
Did you know that rabbits prefer to live in pairs? In the wild, rabbits live in large family groups and are very sociable. This instinct hasn’t left your bunny and the presence of a friend is calming for prey animals who naturally stick together when eating, lying down and grooming. The ideal pairing is a neutered female and neutered male to prevent fighting and unwanted litters. For more advice on suitable pairings, read our handy blog here.
Do look out for signs of a happy bunny!
Is there much better in life than the sight of happy rabbits? Those little twitching noses, their playful hops in the air and a full-on stretch as they lie down to relax are all signs that our rabbits are feeling happy and chilled out! As all rabbit owners know, each individual bunny has their own personality and getting to know your rabbits’ unique character traits will help you to quickly spot if your bunny is feeling anything less than great.
You love your rabbits and want to make them as happy as they make you. The best way to show them your love is by taking the time to discover what makes them tick. Learn to think like a rabbit and relish in the reward as your bunnies come to trust and love you, too!
Looking for more rabbit advice? Follow the link here.