“Rabbits do not have the same care as other classroom pets we have here for checkout.” the woman at the outdoor learning center warned me as we stood together in front of the cages of bunnies.
“Oh? In what way are they different?” I asked.
“They shouldn’t stay at school over the weekend. A rabbit needs exercise and attention. Also, they must have fresh hay and greens everyday.” She smiled apologetically, expecting me to move on to an easier class pet. “Maybe a gecko would be a better choice.”
“No… I will choose one of the available bunnies,” I answered. I had let a student pick my class pet. She had worked hard and earned the privilege. I had already tried talking her out of a “bunny” with no success. My student shook her head no at every other option offered. I was getting a bunny as a class pet.
I did arrive to the outdoor learning center armed with my own research. I had learned that Dutch bunnies were the first domestic rabbit breed. These rabbits were known for being easy going and smart. That’s how I chose Benny… He is a Dutch rabbit.
“Oh, that’s Ben,” the woman answered as I chose the only Dutch rabbit. “He is a rescue bunny. His mother was left in a carrier on our doorstep. He was the only bunny that survived in her litter.”
And that’s how Benny and I became acquainted. I had no idea that a little gray and white bunny could change my ideas about rabbits. I didn’t realize the intelligence I would witness in his silly antics. I didn’t realize that my husband would become a “bunny” man who loves and cares for Benny as much as me. We are now a bunny household.
I do want to warn all prospective bunny owners:
All pets take special care. Bunnies are no exception:
1. A bunny has a very specialized diet. Hay, pellets, and fresh greens are a must everyday. Don’t forget to have clean water available at all times.
2. Bunnies can be trained to use a litter box like a cat. I use a puppy training pad wrapped around the litter box making clean up a breeze. I use hay as the filler (this is the way Benny likes it🙂). Benny likes his food bowl near his litter… he likes to eat and poo at the same time (no judging!).
3. Bunnies need exercise and chew toys! We have made a couple of long cardboard tunnels that Benny loves to run through and chew through. We also bunny-proofed any room that Benny has access to roam (wires are raised out of reach). Pleas note: Bunnies are crepuscular animals, making for very active bunnies during dusk and dawn.
Bunnies are not a pet for all households or classrooms. They are very fearful of dogs and are generally skittish. Bunnies have a very specific diet that must be followed very carefully. With that said, a bunny can be the perfect pet for a family that is willing to commit to the special needs of a rabbit. Bunnies are affectionate and loyal. Just take a look at Benny and me to see for yourself!