Rabbits cannot tolerate extreme heat and must be provided with shelter from the cold. They prefer to live indoors, where they can participate in their caretaker’s everyday life, but before you let your new friend into your home, there are a few things you need to do to ensure his or her safety and happiness. Bunnies are natural chewers and they love to play, so be sure to provide plenty of toys. Untreated wood; straw; wire cat-balls; keys; paper towel rolls; and hard, plastic baby toys work well, but even with all these fun toys to play with, bunnies are drawn to electrical and phone wires, books, baseboard molding, door jams, and plants.
You’ll need to cover or redirect wires and move the rest of these items up and out of the way before bringing your bunny home. You’ll also want to set up a large box or basket filled with shredded paper for your new companion to dig in. Not all rabbits are chronic diggers, but those who are will take their natural digging instincts out on your rugs and other furnishings unless you’ve supplied an alternate digging spot. And while you’re setting up, don’t forget that rabbits also need a safe, quiet haven such as a cardboard box or plastic carrier with a towel inside. Wire cages are not suitable for bunnies.
Litter training is possible at any age—since rabbits like to relieve themselves in one place—and older rabbits tend to be quicker students than youngsters. Even if you plan on giving the bunny the run of the house, you’ll need to conduct litter training in a relatively confined space. Fill a litterbox with paper litter. Place the litter box in the corner of the cage or room. Try encouraging your rabbit by putting some of his or her droppings into the box. Rabbits learn easily, and before long, you will be able to leave litterboxes in different locations around the house.
The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be grass, hay, and fresh vegetables. You may also try giving a limited amount of pellets and a small amount of fruit to him or her. Dark leafy greens, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, and pineapples are all good choices. As tempting as it may be to give your rabbit a taste of whatever it is that you’re eating, rabbits have digestive systems that are easily disrupted, so you should stick to his or her normal diet. Check with your vet before you add other treats.
Grooming and Handling
Although rabbits clean themselves much as cats do, rabbits do not have the ability to cough up hairballs, so it is important that you groom your rabbit a least once a week. Most rabbits love the attention and grooming prevents digestive problems later in life
Rabbits are instinctively nervous when lifted off the ground. Because of the delicate structure of their spines and the power of their leg muscles, struggling rabbits can actually break their own backbones. Never lift a rabbit by the ears or with just one hand under the stomach. Rabbits do not like to be carried around as cats or dogs might. It is best to get down on their level to interact with them, but if you must pick your rabbit up, make sure that you are supporting his or her hind legs and rump at all times and using your other hand to support his or her chest. Once acclimated to your home, bunnies will come to you, jump into your lap, and even sleep with you