By Lisa Carroll, Shelter Coordinator - Georgia Avenue Adoption Center
If you live in an apartment in the city, your bunny will more than likely live indoors, and if you live in a house or a more rural area, there are a specific set of concerns for housing your rabbit outside.
Plenty of Space
Inside a cage, your rabbit should have enough space to stand up on their hind legs and stretch out horizontally. Typical rabbit cages are okay for smaller breeds, but for larger breeds, it could be very constrictive. These cages do not allow for any real exercise and offer little enrichment.
Wire and metal cages offer a bit more living room, but the wire bottoms have been known to cause foot deformities that can become painful as your animal ages.
Some bunny lovers opt to modify their wire cages or build their own at home, making sure to cover the wire bottom with wood, carpet, linoleum, or some other flat material. The Bunny Lu Rabbit Rescue gives step-by-step instructions on how to build your own enclosure at home, inexpensively.
Exercise pens and baby gates can
offer your companion rabbit the space to run and jump as much as they like. One
or two exercise pens can be linked together to create a large space for your
rabbit to let out energy and graze as they please.
It is instinctual for a rabbit to chew, and they have been known to chew through everything from wires and clothes, to walls and furniture. Chewing helps keep their teeth from over-growing, and wild rabbits chew to make burrows. Be sure to “bunny proof” the room that they are allowed to roam free in. Most wires can be lifted and tethered out of a rabbit’s reach, but house plants, which can be toxic, would be better suspended from the ceiling (just watch out for falling leaves). Clear plastic panels can be put up to protect walls.
Outdoor Rabbit Enclosures and Tips
An outdoor hutch should protect your companion rabbit from natural predators. Cities, both urban and rural, share their space with wild neighbors and animals like foxes, coyotes, snakes, hawks, and eagles, to name a few predators that rabbits are prey to. Stray or alley cats and dogs let off leash could also be a danger to your outdoor rabbit.
Rabbits enjoy digging, and it may be possible for your rabbit to dig their way out of their outdoor enclosure. Rabbits are sensitive to temperature. In the wild, rabbits burrow keep themselves warm or cool, so your companion rabbit should be protected from the elements and brought inside during the hotter and colder months.
Proper Bedding, Inside or Out
Whether inside or outside, providing bedding for your companion rabbit is a must. Outside, soft grass may be your bedding of choice. Inside, steer clear of cedar and pine shavings; the hydrocarbons produced from softwood beddings can cause respiratory problems and liver damage. If possible, use organic bedding or shredded newspaper.
Interested in adopting a bunny from WHS? Click below to view adoptable bunnies at each of our adoption centers!
If you have any questions or concerns about adopting bunnies, please call 202-723-5730.
Some-Bunny is Waiting For You!
For one week only (March 25-31, 2013), WHS is offering 50% off ALL adoption fees for ALL animals.
Please SUBSCRIBE to our blog by going to http://washhumane.typepad.com/ and entering your email (top right) to receive our latest stories, tips, and more!
More Bunny Tips: