Keeping Company With Rabbits

Are rabbits soft and fuzzy? Most definitely. Are rabbits as cuddly as they look? Not necessarily. Is a rabbit more like a cat or a dog? Neither. A rabbit is like a rabbit.

Are you expecting your rabbit to come running when called? They seldom do. However, having a carrot in hand may help. I have learned to call my rabbits out from under the bed about 10 minutes before I need them. They seem to show up "on time" this way.

Are you expecting your rabbit to curl up on your lap and sit with you? He probably won't. He may nudge your leg while you sit on the couch, expecting you to move over or pet him. Perhaps he will jump up and sit with you, allow you to pet him, and then scamper off just moments later.

Do you want to hold your bunny for hours? Well, most don't want to be held for hours. Most prefer you to be on the floor and meet them on their level. The floor is where your rabbit will allow you to snuggle with him and show your affections. This is where he is most comfortable.

The first rule in communicating with a rabbit is to get down on the floor. The second rule is also to get down on the floor. Rabbits need to be approached at their level–the floor. Spend time getting to know him where he is comfortable. If he seems to avoid you at first, spend time just sitting quietly on the floor, not approaching him, not trying to pick him up. Rabbits are naturally wary, but also naturally curious. Eventually curiosity will win out and your rabbit will come over to investigate you.  

Try snuggling close, face to face. When he feels comfortable with you, he may allow you to pick him up. Do not rush this introduction. Remember, a rabbit is an animal of prey, and it may take time for him to gain trust in you. The first time he nudges you or grooms you, the process of trust has begun and a special honor has been bestowed upon you: He is communicating with you as he would communicate with a fellow rabbit.

As with any animal, or humans for that matter, each has his or her own personality. Some are active and crave attention. Some are shy or aloof. If a rabbit is shy, you need to make the effort to interact with him. Although shy rabbits may become more sociable with time, do not expect a different personality. This seemingly reserved behavior is actually more common and "rabbit-like" than the interactive rabbit of folklore who plays with the children.

Most important, love your rabbit. Whoever he or she is, whatever the color, markings, direction of ears, habits or personality, all are of value and deserve our love and companionship. Each will enrich your life in his or her own special way.