12 Things you Should Know Before Getting a Bunny

You’ve heard of dog moms and cat moms, and in that same line of parenthood, I am a bunny mom. My fur baby is named Bunny, a la Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and she has been a part of my life for four years now. I have had companionships with dogs, fish, birds and one turtle, but for me, there is nothing quite like having a bunny. Bunny and I share packets of almonds together on the grass, eat baby carrots on my bed and spend way too much time roaming through flowers. She would let me pet her forehead for hours if I had the time, and doesn’t mind that I read while she plays. She hops like a derp, loves going on walks and eats way too many treats. Bunny is one of my favorite companions, and I am a proud bunny mom.

Being that I am so passionate about Bunny, it led me into doing a lot of research about bunnies and things that they have been put through, like animal testing for makeup and skincare products, as well as used in labs for other harmful types of experiments. This is a problem that most people know about; however, there are more problems that bunnies face that a lot of people don’t actually know about. For example, Easter just passed and Spring is in the air— one of the most beautiful and festive seasons filled with candy eggs, pastel colors and, you guessed it, bunnies. During this time of year, a lot of people buy bunnies for their children and partners, thinking that it would be cute for the season and for the photo opps., but in reality, it’s actually harmful to bunnies. Lots of people believe that bunnies are low maintenance because they are small, which causes new bunny parents trouble after adoption when they find out that they are not. This is the peak season for bunnies to be bought and shortly returned to pet stores, causing confusion for the animals due to constantly changing environments. Some uninformed owners also make mistakes when caring for their bunnies, which can cause health problems and cruelty to their pets. I fully support all of the hopeful bunny parents out there, but make sure that you are ready to take on the role before adopting your companion.

1. Bunnies need lots of exercise

This comes as a shock for a lot of people, since bunnies seem like such carefree animals that usually hop occasionally. They actually love to do this cute run-hop combination out in open areas. It’s good for them to stretch their legs and get some exercise instead of being stuck in a cage all day. They’re very explorative creatures. I actually bought my bunny a leash and take her on walks. Yes, you read that right, there are such things as bunny leashes. She loves them, and I would highly recommend them to anyone with a super explorative bunny, or that owns any other animals in their house.

2. Owning one is actually kind of expensive (cages, alfalfa, pellets, treats, etc.)

When I bought my bunny four years ago, she was very, very small, I thought it was going to be the easiest thing in the world to take care of her. I was wrong. Bunnies are in no way a laid back pet. They are not the goldfish of the mammal world; they require constant care. All of that care adds up pretty fast with all of your constant trips to the pet store. Constantly refilling their food, and a special bowl for that food, getting new water bottles, a bed because she can’t sleep without one of those, and then the little spongy stuff to go in the bed and bunny bath wash— the list goes on and on. The good thing is that bunnies are such great companions that all of the spending is worth it… and they’re still pretty small creatures, so most of the things you buy will last a while!

3. They eat their body size in hay everyday

Isn’t that crazy? That’s a lot of alfalfa— a whole bunny’s worth. Bunnies are very active creatures and are vegans, which means that they need to eat a lot of plants in order to keep their energy up. So don’t be surprised at how fast their food bundle disappears.

4. They can live to be sixteen years old

This is one of the most important things that I think people need to know before they get a bunny. They are a serious commitment, not only for all the other reasons listed, but because they require this level of care for up to sixteen years! That’s like raising a child until they’re a sophomore in high school. If your bunny was a human they would legally be able to drive a car. It’s a big commitment, and a lot of time for bonding.

5. They like to play, just like dogs and cats

For me, this is the second cutest thing about my bunny on this list, right after her leash. Like I said before, bunnies are very active animals, and they like to play with balls, rods, leaves, wood sticks, etc., until they get tired. They can also be pretty social animals, so don’t be afraid to spend some time playing with them.

6. And just like dogs and cats, you have to bathe them when they get dirty...

Many people, like my dad, don’t know that you can and should bathe your bunny. They have really soft, thick fur that can easily get matted while they run around and step in things like dirt or mud. My bunny prefers to be bathed in the sink. This task can be a little difficult, at least it is for me, because my bunny doesn’t fancy water all that much. Be ready for some subtle bunny scratches.

7. Which could be kind of often depending on their cage type

Their feet can also get dirty within the cage itself since that’s where they go to the bathroom. This means that you may need to be more selective which cage to get your bunny, depending on the amount of time you can dedicate to bathing them.

8. Speaking of cages, their cage needs to be cleaned at least once a week

Regardless of which cage type you buy, they should still be cleaned once a week to keep your bunny clean and happy in their home.

9. And you may think bunny pellets are cute and small, but they add up quickly

So many people I know think that cleaning up after a bunny is really easy because their pellets are hard, small and don’t smell. This description is true, but they also produce A LOT of them. I give it one cage cleaning, or maybe even one day of your bunny eating for you to be surprised at how much there will be for you to clean up. It’s mountainous. That being said, if you like to bring your bunny inside to cuddle in a blanket, or to just hangout in your room with you, there is very little clean up needed.

10. Bunnies are very sensitive to the heat

This means that if you live in an area that gets pretty hot in the summers, like myself, you many have to dedicate extra monetary resources to keeping them cold. Frozen water bottles, ice packs and occasionally misters are needed, as well as time to monitor your bunny and change the cooling resources accordingly.

11. So during the summers they need constant brushing

Part of what makes bunnies so gosh darn cute is their fuzzy coat. It is this fluff that keeps them warm in the winters, but also hot in the summers. This means that they shed a lot of their fluff in the hotter months naturally to keep themselves cooler. Getting all of their fuzz off takes constant brushing and patience. They also shed A LOT all the time, so if you’re a fan of black clothing, then I wouldn't suggest adopting a black bunny. But, if so, brace yourselves for the bunny hair.

12. They are also very sensitive to sounds, so you have to be careful where you keep them

Some people like to keep their bunnies as indoor pets, and some like to keep them as outside pets. Both locations can make for a happy bunny, but you have to be very aware of their surroundings. Like dogs, bunnies have amazing hearing, but instead of barking at the noises they hear, they get scared. That means that kids yelling while playing next door to your house can scare them, and so can dogs barking, doorbells, fireworks, lawnmowers, etc. As a good bunny parent, you need to be attentive to your fur baby’s needs, and be willing to find a living situation that suits both yourself and your bunny.