Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Rabbits are mammals which belong to the Lagomorph order that also includes hares and pikas.
There are over 67 recognized breeds in England, 45 in the US, and 30 in Australia, and over 180 world-wide. There are over 60 extinct breeds of rabbits. (2004 figure)
Rabbits are herbivores.
Are crepuscular; most active at dawn and dusk.
They are creatures of habit.
Babies are called kittens, kits for short.
Rabbits are induced ovulators. They have no oustrus cycle.
Gestation period averages about 30 days.
Weaning takes place at about 6 weeks.
Litter size is usually between 4-8 kits.
Babies are born without fur and blind.
They open their eyes at about 10 days.
Females only nurse their young once a day for about 15 minutes.
Can't retrieve their young like cats and dogs do.
Rabbits can mate as early as 3 months of age.
Average lifespan is between 5 and 10 years of age.
They are social and form bonds with each other.
Rabbits are nearsighted and have a blind spot right in front of them.
Have a light sensitivity 8 times greater than a human.
Have 3 pairs of scent glands--under the chin, anal, and inguinal glands.
Have 28 teeth in total. Upper and lower incissors can grow 1/2"-3/4" per month.
Have 18 toenails; 4 on each of the hind feet and 5 on each of the front.
Heart rate is 120 to 300 beats per minute.
Respiratory rate is 30 to 60 beats per minute.
Body temperature range from 38.5 to 40.0 degrees Celcius.
Ears are highly vascularized and help regulate body temperature.
Cannot vomit and hairballs can be fatal.
The gastrointestinal system is adapted for the digestion of large quantities of fibrous food. Timothy or grass hay should be fed daily.
Healthy rabbits that eat a high fibre diet will eat all their caecotrophs, which are a valuable source of nutrients.
Can go off feed due to an imbalance of organisims in the cecum. The wrong food can kill a rabbit.
Moulting in adult rabbits follows a seasonal pattern and there are usually two complete coat changes per year.
The skeleton of a rabbit, especially the backbone, is very fragile and can break easily. Their bones are only 8% of total body weight.
Spinal disorders are common in pet rabbits.
Rabbits are inquisitive and intelligent and can learn their names and simple words.
Because they are prey animals they hide injury or illness well.
They are ground dwellers and don't like being picked up. Many will struggle and kick violently to avoid being picked up.
Stress of handling can cause a marked elevation of blood glucose levels.
They communicate through a variety of ways such as thumping their hind legs, biting, grunting, grinding their teeth, grooming each other, and performing a series of jumps, twists, and runs.
Burrowing, chewing, and climbing are natural behaviours.
A rabbit chews 120 times per minute and has 17, 000 tastebuds.
Rabbits are territorial. Territory can be marked by spraying urine or by depositing faeces.
They also chin objects to mark what is theirs.
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) and neutering (orchidectomy) helps prevent health problems, reduces aggression and fighting, and helps control the crisis of overpopulation.
Rabbits commonly suffer from osteoporosis if they don't get enough exercise. A minimum of 4 hours daily is essential to physical and psychological well-being. They cannot lead a healthy life shut in a cage.
If abandoned to the wild, chances are they won't last long. However, enough of these prolific breeders have survived long enough to reproduce and create colonies all over the world.
Information provided by the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC www.rabbitadvocacy.com
Should I get a pet rabbit for my daughter?
The Province Thu May 28 2015
Page: A43 Section:
Rabbits not vaccinated here
Monday, June 1, 2015 The Province
I would like to correct the misinformation in the Dr. Oz column regarding rabbit vaccines.
While domestic rabbits are vaccinated in Australia, and to a lesser degree, in the United Kingdom, they are not vaccinated in North America. Just ask local veterinarians and others directly involved in the rabbit rescue and advocacy network.
Please do your due diligence and ensure that your material is accurate and applicable to our region.