Rabbits as a Christmas Gift for Children
Rabbits have always been popular pets. Each Easter, children are given rabbits by well-meaning parents thinking that the rabbit will not live a long time. Despite their relatively short gestation period, rabbits live, on average, about ten years. They are not a pet to be taken lightly, and you will put a lot of work into the pet.
Although it is not technically a rodent, a rabbit will still gnaw and needs a gnawing stick. Because Rabbits are considerably larger than hamsters, they need a larger cage in which to live. Rabbit cages can get very messy and generally have an odor to them. Rabbit cages are usually kept outside in nice weather and in the garage or basement in cold weather.
Before getting a rabbit for your child, think about the following:
- Do you have an adequate rabbit cage?
- Where are you going to put the rabbit cage in the winter?
- Do you realize how long the rabbit will live?
Rabbits are yet another pet that people will insist can be “litter trained.”
Litter training is difficult, if not impossible, to do. The chances are that your rabbit will go all over the place, no matter where they are, so they should be supervised carefully whenever they are out of the cage.
Rabbits are docile creatures and very friendly. They are easy to handle and rarely ever bite. Caring for a rabbit is similar to caring for a hamster or gerbil. They need fresh bedding that must be changed weekly, freshwater, and food. You will put a bottle feeder in the rabbit’s cage to give them water.
Unlike gerbils and hamsters, rabbits are a lot more easy-going when placing another rabbit in the cage. They are not as territorial and tend to get along with other rabbits. However, this is more the case with two females than two males. Male rabbits may fight at first but will soon learn to get along with one another. A male and a female will most likely begin breeding right away, and rabbits have a relatively short gestation period of only two months. Rabbit litters generally contain about six rabbits.
In addition to their rabbit food, rabbits can also be given lettuce, which they love, and carrot sticks. Celery sticks are also suitable for rabbits. You must make sure that the bunny has something on which to gnaw.
Rabbits can put up with all sorts of handling and rarely bite, although they have nails that can scratch a child. A young child should be taught to treat the rabbit gently and kindly and be carefully supervised when handling the pet, not squeeze them too tight. Rabbits do not mind being held, and their fur is very soft, making them a much-coveted pet for young children.
The drawback to owning rabbits is that they tend to get sick quickly.
They are prone to eye infections more than most animals, and you might end up spending a lot of money on vet bills. Another drawback to owning rabbits is the space factor. It would be best if you had a place to keep the cage where the odor won’t be as noticeable. No matter how meticulous you or your child is about cleaning the rabbit cage, it will still have an odor. And you have to remember that the rabbit is bound to live a long, full life if well cared for, which means that you will have the pet around for the next ten years.
On the plus side, rabbits are very gentle pets. You have to worry more about a young child hurting the rabbit than the rabbit hurting the child.
They are nonaggressive and relatively easy to care for. Rabbits can be quite a fun pet for a young child as long as you have the space. Unlike gerbils and hamsters, you do not have to worry about it biting your child whenever they pick it up. Although it will not walk very far, a rabbit is even docile enough to walk on a leash.
If you have a cat in the family, make sure that you keep it far away from the rabbit. Cats are predators, and rabbits are among their natural prey. A cat will go for the rabbit’s throat in seconds, leaving you and your children horrified. If you have a cat, keep it far away from your pet rabbit.
Rabbits can be purchased at your local pet store or even adopted at animal shelters. Your child may learn to like raising these creatures so much that they will want to begin breeding them. There are even rabbit shows where the animals compete for grooming prizes, similar to cat shows.
Even though they need space for a cage, these animals have a lot to offer a young child. The chances are that your children will enjoy having a rabbit for a pet very much.