they don’t need to be walked like dogs, rabbits are anything but
low-maintenance. Their quarters need daily leaning, and fresh food and water
must be offered daily, including a salad of well-washed, dark-green leafy
vegetables. Certain rabbit health problems can become chronic and can require
regular (and sometimes expensive) veterinary treatment. To complicate the
picture, veterinarians skilled in rabbit medicine are often hard to find.
Myth 2: Rabbits only live a year or two, so no long commitment is
Reality: Well cared-for indoor rabbits can live 7-10 years, and some live into their teens. This is approximately the same life span as some breeds of dogs, and requires the same long-term commitment.
Myth 3: Rabbits do not need veterinary care the way dogs and cats
Reality: Although rabbits in the USA do not require annual vaccinations, nevertheless, regular veterinary checkups help to detect small problems before they become big ones. Companion rabbits should be spayed/neutered by veterinarians experienced in rabbit surgery. This not only reduces hormone-driven behaviors such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing, but also protects females from the risk of uterine cancer, the incidence of which can exceed 50% as rabbits grow older.
Myth 4: Rabbits are happiest outdoors in a backyard hutch
Reality: Rabbits kept outdoors in hutches are often forgotten and
neglected once the novelty wears off. Far too frequently, they are relegated to
a life of “solitary confinement” and are subject to extremes of weather, as
well as to diseases spread by fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes all of which
can adversely affect their health and their life span. They can die of heart
attacks from the very approach of a predator – even if the rabbit is not
attacked or bitten. Rabbits are gregarious creatures who enjoy social contact
with their human care-takers. The easiest way to provide social stimulation for
a companion rabbit is to house him indoors, as a member of the family.
Myth 5: Rabbits are rather dirty and have a strong odor
Reality: Rabbits are immaculately clean, and, once they have
matured and are spayed/neutered, they go to great lengths not to soil their
living quarters. They will readily use a litter box and if the box is leaned or
changed daily, there is no offensive odor.
Myth 6: Rabbits love to be picked up and cuddled and do not
scratch or bite
Reality: Although some rabbits tolerate handling quite well, many
do not like to be picked up and carried. If rabbits are mishandled they will
learn to nip to protect themselves. If they feel insecure when carried they may
scratch to get down. Unspayed/unneutered rabbits often exhibit territorial
behavior such as “boxing” or nipping when their territory is “invaded” by the
Myth 7: Rabbits -especially
dwarf breeds – do not scratch or bite
Reality: Rabbits have powerful hind legs designed for running and
jumping. They need living space that will permit them ample freedom of movement
even when they are confined. Dwarf rabbits tend to be more active and energetic
than some larger breeds, and require relatively more space.
Myth 8: Rabbits can be left alone for a day or two when owners
Reality: Rabbits need daily monitoring. Problems that are
relatively minor in some species (e.g. a day or two of anorexia) may be
life-threatening in rabbits, and may require immediate veterinary attention.
Myth 9: Rabbits do fine with a bowl of rabbit food and some daily
Reality: The single most important component of a rabbit’s diet is
grass hay, which should be provided, free-choice, daily. Rabbit pellets should
be given only in very limited quantities. Source: Mary E. Cotter, Rabbit Care.org