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species can be 2 - 20 pounds.
The average bunny weighs about 5 pounds.
The first evidence of rabbits dates back to 10 million years ago in France! (Yes! Ten MILLION!) The rabbit population slowly spread across Europe, and people began keeping them domestically in the 19th century. Rabbits became popular pets in the United States in the 1800s, and have been a favorite human companion ever since.
Rabbits are not rodents; they are lagomorphs, which is the order that includes rabbits, hares and pikas. Rabbits are prey animals, and their physical features are designed to detect danger. The eyes and ears are large, which allows for excellent sight and hearing. They have small front feet and large, powerful back legs and feet. The back legs are designed for explosive, quick bursts of speed in order to escape predators. The teeth of lagomorphs are “open-rooted” which means they grow continuously. The chewing and gnawing actions associated with healthy eating will wear the teeth down so they do not grow too long. Most people don’t realize that rabbits have grinding teeth in the back of their mouths in addition to the visible front teeth. Over 40 breeds of domestic rabbit are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association Rabbits twitch their noses to expose all their highly sensitive scent receptors to the air, helping them to detect predators. When a rabbit’s nose stops twitching, it’s both very relaxed and secure in its surroundings, or it’s asleep with its eyes open. A rabbit’s ears represent about 10 percent of its body area. Aside from playing a critical role in the rabbit’s acute sense of hearing, which is important in escaping predators, the big ears help the rabbit stay cool by dissipating body heat. Rabbits have excellent peripheral vision because their eyes are spread so far apart on their heads, but they cannot see food or fingers that are placed directly in front of them.
NORMAL BEHAVIOR & INTERACTION:
Rabbits are sweet, loving creatures. However, they are prey animals and this fact must be respected by the family. Being grabbed or picked up from over-head mimics a hungry hawk to a rabbit. Being held and cuddled is unnatural. Patience is required when bonding with a pet rabbit; you must earn its trust. Children must be supervised at all times when handling a rabbit, as the rabbit is very fragile. Teach your child how to properly pick up the rabbit and how to handle it safely.
Rabbits are very expressive creatures if you take the time to learn their language!! Some rabbit communication behavior includes:
Screaming: “I’m in danger or in much pain!”
Honking: “I’m interested in you sexually.” (time to get bunny spayed or neutered)
Growling, snorting, hissing: “I am displeased.”
Chin rubbing: Rabbits have scent glands in their chins Translation: “I mark you (or this item) as MINE!”
Lunging: “I’m angry and I don’t like what you’re doing!”
“Binky”: this is a very acrobatic leap into the air combined with a dramatic kick of the back legs Translation: “I am deliriously happy!!”
Licking: a sign that you have been accepted and are deserving of affection Translation: “I like you; maybe even love you - if you’re lucky.”
Circling your feet: usually a sign that it’s time to get your bunny spayed or neutered! This is a sign of courtship. If your bunny IS spayed or neutered, he or she may just want to play! Translation: “I’m so in love with you!!”
Tooth grinding: soft tooth grinding combined with a relaxed posture Translation: “I’m very content” Loud tooth grinding combined with a tense posture Translation: “I hurt”
Flopping suddenly over on side (no signs of distress): “I’m very content and relaxed!”
Herbivores Fresh hay should constitute the majority of your rabbit’s diet, followed by fresh vegetables and then a plain pellet diet.
HAYS: Timothy, orchard grass, botanical hay, brome, oat hay. Alfalfa hay is best left for bunnies under 6 months of age.
PELLET: Commercially prepared timothy hay based rabbit diets containing approximately 12-14% protein and at least 18% fiber should be fed. A good quality plain pellet diet is best, as they offer a complete balanced diet. Diets that include seeds and treats may seem nicer for your pet, but many rabbits will only pick out the treats and not eat the pellets. This may result in malnutrition and obesity. Also, seeds can upset the delicate balance of the rabbit’s gastro-intestinal tract, causing gas and discomfort. Corn can cause blockages. Feed ¼ cup to ½ cup. Do not feed alfalfa hay based pellets. These contain too much protein.