Everyone seems to own a pet bunny nowadays. And, to be honest, if I had the time, I would get one too: they are lower maintenance than dogs, much cuter than cats and very good fun!
(Tekkers by Sooty)
However, this is dependent on how well you train them!
As my brother (who owns two rabbits) occasionally asks me to bunnysit for him, I decided to get some advice from a renowned bunnywhisperer, KH.
AT: What made you want a rabbit?
KH: We were thinking about getting a dog – but being at work all day and coming back to Sussex at the weekend we thought it would be unfair on the dog. We were planning on getting 1 mini lop bunny, but, when we went to the breeder she opened a little shoe box and 8 brothers and sisters came running out! They were 4 weeks old and could fit in the palm of your hand! After some careful thinking we thought we should get two sisters – to keep each other company.
AT: How did you choose the names of your rabbits?
KH: Amanda chose Soya – short for Soya Bean – and I chose Chestnut. But after 30 minutes being in the house I changed her name to Dora! Short for Dora The Explorer as she ventured into the kitchen and even went upstairs!
AT: How long have Soya and Dora been with you?
KH: We’ve had them since June – they were born in April. They’re coming up to 8 months now and have nearly reached their biggest size although they are still relatively small.
AT: What is the best thing about them?
KH: They’re super cute and super intelligent. Mini lops actually have more personality than other rabbits: Dora is the thinker, always wary at first but once she gets to know you she’ll come over and say hello; Soya is the most outgoing – always the first to jump off the sofa or run upstairs when she gets the chance (they’re not allowed upstairs) and also happy to take fruit from you whenever you’re not looking!
AT: And the worst?
KH: Cleaning out the cage! Although they’re poo are small hard pellets that don’t smell, they do poo a lot and their pee is horrible. Mini lops are very clean animals and are always grooming themselves, but they like their hutches to be clean too. This could mean cleaning the cage sometimes twice or three times a week!
AT: Rabbits are notorious for chewing, digging and urinating everywhere. How did you train them?
KH: Dora and Soya love to chew! But luckily they’re not teething too bad – if there’s a shoebox to be found they will demolish it in no time. They do sometimes bite the sofa but in all honestly we’re quite lucky with Dora and Soya (though they did chew through my mums telephone wire when they were younger!). Mini lops are quite easy to litter train: you just keep picking up the hard poo pellets and drop them into the litter tray. When they were younger if they pee’d on the floor all you had to do was soak it up with some kitchen tissue and place that into the litter tray. They never pee or poo outside the litter tray now.
AT: What is the most effective treat/deterrent?
KH: It’s good to be extra nice to your bunnies when they’re are younger so they know to trust you. Favourites include Corn-On-The-Cob, Daisy Sticks, Chew Mats and Nature’s Salad. We do have a little water spray though – we normally only squirt them if they are humping! However in the summer heat they thought it was a ice cold shower.
AT: Humping?!? So the rumour about rabbits being randy is true? How can you stop this?
KH: Because we have two sisters they weren’t actually being randy (although Amanda was convinced one of them must have been a boy until the vet confirmed we had two girl bunnies!). They were actually humping as a sign of dominance. To stop this and phantom pregnancies we had them neutered and they have calmed down since the operation.
AT: What is the cutest thing your rabbits do?
KH: Too many things to list but when they clean their faces it’s adorable! They use both paws and their saliva to wash their faces and ears. They’re also really cheeky when it comes to food: Sometimes we give them a cracker – as a treat – Soya grabs the whole biscuit and runs off with it with Dora chasing her! Even though the biscuit is bigger than her head!
AT: Sounds super cute! Do you have any photos?