Friday, 1 November 2013

BEEZER TURNS THIRTEEN, PROVING RABBITS LIVE LONG

Last month, I heard the wonderful news that Judith Barnette's bunny had reached the venerable age of thirteen. Whenever I hear of a rabbit crossing the ten-year-old line, I rejoice. It proves that bunnies aren't short-lived creatures as many uninformed folks think.

The reason that the majority of people believe rabbits only live for a few years is that they don't know how to take care of them properly. The first mistake novice bunny owners make is to put their pets in backyard cages. Exposed to the elements and insects, these poor creatures often have next to no shelter as a wild rabbit would. The confined space allows their muscles to atrophy. Diets of alfalfa pellets also make them obese. Worst of all, rabbits can die from fright, even if a predator can't get at them. Since people aren't around those poor bunnies, they don't notice the subtle signs of illness or distress. No wonder the public believes rabbits live short lives.

When rabbits are allowed to live indoors and are given space to run, an amazing transformation takes place. Once shy and timid creatures become playful and affectionate companions. Rabbit lives are also extended by giving them good grass hay and greens such as romaine lettuce.

Additionally, bunnies love to chew and shred paper. A box with openings cut into it, along with an old phone book without the covers, becomes a fun playground for these long-eared companions. Bunnies love playing with toys too. My Deborah loves to slam down an iced tea lid and move it about. She also does that when she thinks she should be fed. Watching a rabbit playing is one adorable sight which the backyard cage crowd misses out on.

Rabbits require veterinary care just as cats and dogs. Exotic vets are the best ones to take bunnies to since they're more likely to know about rabbit diseases. Wellness checks are also a good idea since these prey animals hide their symptoms so as not to attract predators.

I've had many rabbits live long lives. Neutrino lived for ten years. Gideon lived for seven and a half until I had to have him put down. Deborah is seven and a half but is still healthy. Had I left these bunnies in the backyard in a smelly old hutch, they would have lived short and miserable existences. Because I let them live with me and I treated them like beloved companions, they lived long, happy lives.

Some of my friends have had their bunnies live longer than mine. For example, Sheila Frappier's Tango is eleven. Other folks on the rabbit lists I subscribe to also have senior rabbits above ten years old. In fact, I've rarely heard of rabbits passing away before they entered their second year unless they weren't taken care of properly during their formative months.

I wrote all about my long-eared friends in When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies. It and Deliverance from Jericho are on the Bruce Atchison's books link

I have a new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about how God brought me out of bondage at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.