The Pet Behaviour Centre
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Understanding Your Rabbit

Understanding Your RabbitRabbits are prey animals. Knowing the environment in which they originate and the natural behaviours they exhibit will help you to understand better and appreciate more your rabbit.

Rabbits originate from Spain. Typically, the food was rough coarse grass. To get the most out of such food, they re-digest it by eating their droppings. Food intake can take up to 23 hours per day! Rabbits are preyed upon by birds of prey, dogs, cats, foxes and stoats.The rabbit’s defence, if caught, is to lie still (as in a trance) until the predator relaxes it’s grip and to then jump, scratch and flee.

Can Rabbits be trained?

YES. Some people successfully litter-train their rabbit and keep them indoors. Rabbits can be walked on a lead and harness. Rewarding good behaviour is far simpler and much more effective than punishment. Reward based training includes “Lure and Reward” and other methods such as “Clicker Training” borrowed from marine mammal trainers. Different methods suit different people and their rabbits and an individual programme tailored to your needs will be provided. The use of modern methods helps maintain a good owner/rabbit relationship.

Common Rabbit Problems

  • Aggression towards other rabbits.
  • Aggression towards humans.
  • Aggression/scratching when picked up.
  • Aggression when being groomed.
  • Chewing cables.
  • Digging.

Rabbits that are fed highly concentrated food (eg rabbit pellets) will take up their daily ration very quickly; what do they do for the next 22 hours?

What Can You Do?
Some problems may be solved by making the rabbit environment more stimulating:-

  • Hang carrots/apples/leaves from on high

  • Put in pipes so the rabbit can hide. Each pipe should be 1½ times the length of the rabbit.

  • Provide three-dimensional interest.

  • Rabbits like to sit up on mounds so you can put in shelves or ledges for your rabbit.

  • Feed grass! Either fresh or dried as hay will provide all the nutrition needed. Organically-grown grass will also contain a variety of herbs and other grasses.

  • Feeding non-commercial foodstuff will help prevent teeth problems.

Telephone: (01) 4949800 Fax: (01) 4932158 Email: [email protected]