Friday, 26 July 2013

HOUSE RABBITS LIVE TEN YEARS OR LONGER

"How long do rabbits live?" This question is often asked of me when I tell acquaintances and friends about my house bunnies. People seem to assume that rabbits only live for a few years. This erroneous belief is based on anecdotes of neglected bunnies confined to lonely backyard hutches and who die of preventable diseases.

So who made me an expert on rabbit longevity? Being a member of several e-mail lists regarding house rabbits, I've known many of these well-cared-for animals living to ten years or longer. In fact, I heard of several rabbits who lived to fourteen years of age.

I also had a bunny named Neutrino who lived to the venerable age of ten. By the time he passed away on July 25, 2008, he had arthritis and suffered from seizures. Even so, he still enjoyed being petted and lying in the patch of sunlight on the kitchen floor each evening.

How can rabbits be made to live so long? Proper veterinary care is the key to long bunny lives. Spaying and neutering them not only lowers the risk of cancer but it makes them easier to get along with. Hormonal animals feel the urgent need to mark territory with urine and feces. When rabbits are spayed or neutered, almost all of this behaviour disappears.

Living creatures also need a stimulating environment. Rabbits flourish mentally and physically when they have room to run and toys to play with. A simple cardboard box with holes cut at each end makes a marvelous chew toy. Bunnies also enjoy shredding phone books and newspapers. Placing such material in their cardboard houses gives them many hours of enjoyment. Bunnies even nap in their cardboard boxes since they feel safe inside them.

Having eight years of experience  with house rabbits, I wrote my adventures in a book called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. Click on my books link at the top left of this blog to read more about it.

I also have some videos which feature my rabbits. View them at the this link. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.