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Pet rabbits, when housed indoors and cared for properly, can live eight to 12 years or even longer. Small-breed rabbits can easily live into their teens when they are well taken care of. Long life span is an attraction for many people looking for small non-cat/non-dog pets, because most other small mammals kept as pets, such as hamsters, gerbils, rats and even guinea pigs, often don’t live as long. In general, rabbits housed indoors live longer than rabbits housed outdoors because they are not subject to attack from predators, overheating, frostbite, certain infections carried by other animals or found in soil, and other injuries.
Given that there are more than 50 recognized rabbit breeds that vary both in size and in coat color, length and texture, there is a bunny breed for everyone. Different breeds of rabbits are known to have different temperaments, so it is important that you choose a pet rabbit based not only on looks, but also on personality.
There are so many abandoned bunnies given up to rabbit shelters every year that rescuing a needy rabbit is a relatively easy thing to do. Who wouldn’t feel good giving a homeless rabbit a new place to live? Rabbit shelters can be found in nearly every state, and the Internet is a great resource for finding one near you.
Without some litterbox training, bunnies will poop frequently and often all over; however, they are generally clean animals. When given clean, dry, paper-based bedding in their cages to absorb urine and a place to defecate in the corner, they can easily be litterbox-trained and will generally keep themselves very clean with frequent grooming. Owners can help keep their bunnies clean by brushing them a few times a week. Long-haired rabbits, such as the Angora species, may need daily brushing to keep their coats from matting with bedding, hay or stool.
Can you think of a cuter pet than a fuzzy little bunny? While rabbits aren’t perfect pets for everyone, if a family has the time and finances (for food, housing and veterinary care) available for a rabbit and is willing to learn about the needs of these animals before adopting one, a bunny can be a wonderful addition to a loving home. If you’re considering a rabbit as a pet, be sure to talk to a bunny-savvy veterinarian or another experienced individual, such as a long-term rabbit breeder, in your area. There is also a great deal of useful, up-to-date information on rabbit care and behavior on the House Rabbit Society website.
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