6 Secrets to Bonding with Your Rabbit
Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #15
A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.
With Easter right around the corner, I decided to write about my daughter Emma and her adorable Lionhead Dwarf Bunny Elsa. Why on earth would I pick such an unlikely pair to talk about friendship? Elsa helped my daughter bring back the sunshine in her life around the age of 9. My daughter struggled in her 3rd grade year due to an enormous amount of bullying. As you know, my children are both homeschooled, and this was the reason for my choice. Emma was tormented non stop by a group of 4 girls, and I could not do anything about it. No one helped, and therefore we decided it was best we cut ties with our public school.
After Emma was bullied, she was more withdrawn and had a tough time socializing with other kids. My husband and I decided that we should get her a pet. We thought that the responsibility would give her purpose and the unconditional love would heal her heart. We could not have a cat or dog at the time because we did not own our home, so we had to think about a small caged animal. We had some friends with an adorable bunny and decided to inquire about how to get one.
That was one of the best decisions we ever made not only for our daughter but also for our whole family. Elsa arrived at our home at 16 weeks old, and immediately Emma fell in love. Every day after school she would hold Elsa and play with her. Even on her lunch break she would take Elsa outside and read her stories. Elsa needed Emma to give her a loving home and Emma needed Elsa to love her unconditionally with no judgments. These to unlikely friends built one of the most active friendships I have ever seen. Elsa is now four years old and is a big part of our family. Elsa and Emma could not be any closer than they are today and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
One of the biggest things that I came to realize is that our furry friends no matter what they are can bring many joys to our lives. Emma bonded with Elsa instantly and she never strayed. She helped Elsa grow into a loving and trusting rabbit because of the bonding that Emma provided for Elsa. If you have a rabbit or are thinking about getting one here are six things to consider to help build that fuzzy bond.
1. Rabbits Communicate Through Sound
Rabbits can tell you a lot about themselves through the sounds they make. They will listen to the sounds around them to make sure that they are safe and don’t have to take action. A rabbit will click its teeth together to show that it is comfortable and happy. They also make purring sounds like a cat to show it feels safe and trust the environment around them.
If a rabbit starts to snort it is letting you know it would like attention. Snorting can also mean the rabbit could be suffering from a respiratory infection. If there is more snorting than average have a veterinarian take a look to make sure they are not sick.
When a rabbit whimpers or screams that indicates there is fear or pain, and this should be evaluated. Most of the time if you are not holding the rabbit securely or they do not feel that they are safe in their environment this will happen. They may also grunt and if that is the case they more than likely do not want you to handle them.
Rabbits will also grind teeth, that is a sign of pain, illness, or anxiety. Holding a rabbit incorrectly can cause discomfort for the rabbit. Also if there is sudden grinding that occurs, you should have your rabbit looked at by a veterinarian.
2. Rabbits also Communicate Through Body Language
A rabbits body language is essential in properly communicating with your rabbit. A rabbit’s ears are an indispensable way to let you know how they are feeling. If the rabbit’s ears lie back, they are feeling the safest. Elsa loves to go outside, and we have quite a bunny sanctuary for her. She loves to lay out in the fresh air with her ears entirely down. By looking at her, I can tell this rabbit is the most relaxed in this state. When her ears are straightforward, and she is staring at something that is when she is alarmed and that there is something that could be harmful to her. It helps us understand her and we are then aware and can help her if she thinks there is a danger. Most of the time she is outside relaxing laid flat and enjoying her outside play time. That’s when we know she is happiest.
3. Bunny Behaviors
Rabbits love to be close. I would have never guessed this as this was the first time we ever owned one, but Elsa is the most content when she is glued to her bunny mama. They love human touch, and they will be more gentle with the human interaction. When a rabbit nudges someone that is a sign of attention. If Emma is outside and not hanging out with Elsa, this rabbit will immediately run over and nudge her for some love. Rabbits lick, and that is a sign of great admiration. That is the best respect from a rabbit and shows that they love and trust you. They also will flop down beside you when they feel the safest and most content. If a rabbit exposes their inner eyelid that is a sign of anxiety and you may need just to keep building trust in your relationship.
4. A Bunny Home is a Happy Home
Rabbits need to have a safe space to live. Their living should be quiet and comfortable to build the best friendship. Make sure that the rabbit will receive daily interaction and that any chaos that might upset them is limited. Temperature is key to having a happy, healthy bunny. A comfortable temperature for a rabbit is 60-70 degrees. Too hot or too cold can lead to severe problems and death. Make sure that they have adequate shade on those warmer days so that they do not overheat.
5. Playtime is the Best
Rabbits love to play. Elsa has lots of toys, and she loves to frolick. Her favorite toy is a big purple bounce ball that she pushes around with her nose. She gets excellent exercise, and we like to watch her play. Rabbits love to play with balls, cardboard, and toilet paper rolls filled with hay. Rabbits need their activity the more room, the better. Make sure that no electrical chords are lying around. Rabbits seem to attract to these, and that could be bad for you as well as bad for the bunny. If the rabbit is outdoors make sure they have a fenced enclosed area so they will not be able to escape. They can be inquisitive creatures, and that can lead to problems. Make sure to supervise the rabbit and keep them safe.
6. Healthy Diet Healthy Bunny
Make sure that your rabbit gets a healthy diet. The diet should consist of Timothy grass or hay, pellet food, fresh leafy greens, and clean water. Rabbits also like apples and carrots. The amount you feed them will depend on how big the rabbit is. Rabbits six months and over need 1/8 and 1/4 cup of pellets per five pounds of body weight. They also need 2 cups leafy greens per six pounds.
Rabbits are fun furry friends that bring joy to all that come along their way. They require lots of care and lots of love so the dedication to building that relationship should be a priority. If you are considering getting a rabbit make sure to research and learn about the care and the needs of the rabbit so that you are prepared. Many times people don’t understand what these pets need and the necessary amount of love and attention that goes into caring for a rabbit. Also, if you are wondering where to get a rabbit take a look at your local animal rescue, there will be many rabbits that need a loving home. Some of these rescues are dedicated to rabbits. Many people realize later on they are unable to care for a rabbit and will end up giving the rabbit away. Many rabbits need loving homes and adoption is a great way to become bunny parents.