Did you know that you can keep bunnies in your house in the same way that dogs and cats are kept? These animals can be litter trained and they enjoy hanging out with their humans. In Fact, it's cruel to leave these sociable creatures alone in backyard cages where they receive little attention. With certain precautions, and depending on the animal's personality, rabbits can enjoy the freedom of their caretaker's homes.
In my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) memoir, I explained how I learned, both from friends and from experience, how to coexist with my long-eared companions. Here's a summery of just a few facts that I learned.
Rabbits love to chew on electrical cords. Protect them by either hiding them behind heavy furniture that fits close to the wall or put them inside cord wrap plastic tubes that automotive and electrical stores sell. I've found that this helps keep bunnies safe from being shocked in most cases. Some persistent rabbits may manage to chew through the plastic wrap tubes. Covering them with aluminum tape helps to prevent this. In extreme cases, cords can be slipped through an old garden hose. If the plug on the end is too big to go through, slit the hose down its side and insert the cord. Then tape it up with aluminum tape. This product can be found at hardware stores.
Rabbits sometimes chew or dig up carpets, particularly against walls. I solved the problem by filling empty four litre jugs with water and lining the walls with them. Not only did this help deter my bunnies but I had a ready supply of water with which I could flush the toilet or use to wash my face during power failures. As I have a well, I can't use it during blackouts.
Some rabbits insist on chewing up furniture and door posts. I've found that squirting vinegar or smearing hand soap on the chewed-on area usually deterred them. Placing a barrier made from wire grids, sometimes called Neat Idea Cubes, has helped in extreme cases. These square, metal grids, measuring fourteen inches per side, are also handy for making barriers to block off areas where I didn't want bunnies to be.
I've also had rabbits chew holes in my blankets and clothing. Removing them from the bunny's reach or barring them from my bedroom has worked, as has holding down their heads for a few seconds when they try to nibble what I'm wearing. violent punishment doesn't work with rabbits as they assume that they're being attacked. It results in them fearing their punisher rather than being deterred from doing their naughty activities. Distracting them with safe things to chew and dig is a more effective approach.
When a Man Loves a Rabbit contains many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.