Rabbits are unique and amazing pets that a lot of people keep, but do you know how to properly take care of a rabbit? There are many aspects of rabbit care that you need to know, such as how to pet a rabbit, proper housing, proper nutrition, and how to properly bond with your rabbit.
It’s not hard to see why rabbits are such popular pets! It’s hard to resist their fluffy bodies, iconic ears, and sweet noses. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve probably kept rabbits before as a pet.
If you’re looking to care for another rabbit in the future, here is a guide on how to give them a great environment in your home so that they can thrive and be healthy.
Busting Myths about Keeping Rabbits for Pets
Here are some of the enduring myths about keeping rabbits for pets and the truth behind them:
- Rabbits are short-term pets
For most people, rabbits are short-term pets. If you’ve had a rabbit before, chances are that you’ve only had that pet for a few months or a year at most. However, rabbits have a lifespan of 10-12 years if they are given the right care and nutrition! Rabbits are long-term commitments and if you want to take care of one properly as a pet, you need to make sure that you are prepared to commit the same amount of care as you would with a dog or a cat.
- Rabbits are great for kids
Many people look at rabbits are great pets for kids because they are docile, small, and cute. However, a rabbit isn’t a good choice as a small child’s pet because young children aren’t generally able to handle and care for a rabbit correctly. Rabbits don’t respond well to loud noises or being handled roughly, and small children simply don’t know how to pet a bunny.
- Rabbits only need a small space
People who aren’t serious with caring for rabbits often end up getting a small cage for their animals. However, vets recommend that rabbits get at least four hours of exercise per day! Remember that rabbits hop around a lot when they are in the natural habitat. The minimum space recommended for a rabbit is around four to five times the size of the animal so that they can move freely.
- Rabbits can survive on a diet of carrots
Perhaps the most enduring myth about rabbits is that they can survive entirely on a diet of carrots. After all, generations of children have grown up watching Bugs Bunny munching away on carrots. However, carrots and other vegetables will only make up a small portion of your rabbit’s diet. The bulk of it should consist of hay or grass.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Pet a Rabbit
When petting your rabbit, keep in mind that you need to do it gently and slowly. You don’t pet a rabbit the same way that you would pet a dog or a cat! If the rabbit already knows and trusts you, you can even pick them up gently.
Each rabbit will respond to petting differently. Some rabbits love being able to be petted and held by their humans while others might struggle or run away. Take your time when you pet your rabbit and try to read their cues; if the rabbit is leaning away from you or dodging your hand, they probably don’t want to be petted. However, if your rabbit is nudging your hand with their hand and leaning into you, that means that they want to be petted!
Here are some guidelines that you can use:
- Pet your rabbit in a safe, quiet, and secure location. If there are other pets around such as cats or dogs, they can cause your rabbit to become fearful or anxious.
- Approach slowly and talk to your rabbit in a calm, gentle voice.
- Always be mindful of the pressure from your hands! Smaller rabbit breeds or baby rabbits can easily get injured if you pet them too roughly.
- Take your cues from your rabbit. Some rabbits will tolerate being petted for a short time while others might go in for a longer cuddle. Always honor your rabbit’s wishes when it comes to petting.
As with any other pet, it will take time and patience for your rabbit to trust you enough to be touched and held. Don’t force it, otherwise, you could scare your rabbit and they’ll never agree to be petted.
Your Rabbit’s “Sweet Spots”
Where do bunnies like to pet? If you ask other rabbit owners where to pet a bunny, you’ll probably get a variety of answers. Some owners say that their rabbit likes being petted on the head while others say that the sweet spot is on their rabbit’s back.
If you are unsure where to begin petting your rabbit, their back is the safest area for you to try. A light and gentle stroking motion is a good choice. You can also try petting their ears or the top of their head. Some of the no-go areas seem to be the belly, feet, and under the chin.
Finding out where your rabbit likes and does not like to be touched is a trial-and-error process. In the beginning, it would be best if you stayed away from their mouth, belly, and feet so that your rabbit can get used to the feeling of being petted. Over time, your rabbit will feel comfortable and safe enough to allow you to pet them in other places or even pick them up and hold them.
Do bunnies like to pet? It will depend on each individual animal. Remember, rabbits are gentle and sensitive creatures, and it’s not always obvious how they’re reacting to your touch. You need to be alert for their physical cues to know whether they welcome being petted or not. Get more tips on rabbits.
So now that you know how to pet a rabbit as well as have a general idea of what it takes to take care of one, you should ask yourself whether a rabbit is the right pet for you. Whether you choose a rabbit or other popular pets such as a cat or a dog, the responsibilities of a pet owner remains the same.