The tradition’s origins have often been debated, but the experts all agree — saying “Rabbit” three times first thing upon waking on the first day of the month is going to bring good luck. Really.
The truth is, rabbits can offer much more than good luck, and they can be wonderful, personality-filled pets. But before you bring a rabbit home, there are a lot of things to consider. Remember, rabbits, like all creatures, have needs of their own, and it will be your job to fill them. And since rabbits can live up to ten or fifteen years, bringing one home involves making a major, long-term commitment.
Where will your pet rabbit live? The worst place, where far too many rabbits end up living, is in a too-small cage — the kind too many pets stores sell specifically for rabbits. The fact is, rabbits need space. They need exercise. They need to explore and play. That said, if you must cage your rabbit, be sure the cage is at least five times the size of the rabbit, with room enough for your rabbit to completely stretch out and stand up on his or her hind legs without bumping the top of the cage. Look for large, multi-level rabbit homes offered by some pet supply stores and specialty online retailers. Whatever type of cage you get, make sure that the floors and resting platforms are solid—not wire, which can hurt a rabbits feet.
Pet rabbits should also notlive outdoors. They don’t do well in extreme temperatures, especially summer heat, which can be lethal. And even if a rabbit is in the safety of a cage, the mere sight or smell of a passing predator can literally scare him or her to death.
So, what is the best place to keep a pet rabbit? In the house, with you, just like a dog or cat. (Like a cat, a rabbit can be trained to use a litter box.) It’s essential, though, that a rabbit has a safe, secluded place where he or she can be alone — a cardboard box, sans tape and staples, with a hole for a door is all that’s needed.
Rabbits are very social as well as active and playful. They need a great deal of interaction with their humans — daily playtime and exercise are essential. The bottom line — rabbits are not low maintenance. They are not a “starter pet” or a plaything for children. They are sensitive, intelligent animals, each with his or her own unique personality.
There’s a lot more to consider before bringing home a rabbit. Do your homework. Weigh your options. If a rabbit is the right pet for you, you can look forward to years of companionship in exchange for your good care.
Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!
Good luck to you.