When adopting a bunny, it’s crucial to have his/her habitat set up and ready for his/her arrival. Eventually, you can add new stuff if you desire, but in order to keep your rabbit happy, comfortable & safe these are the basics:
- Pet transporter
- Reasonable sized cage
- Soft blankets/mats/beds
- Litter box (optional)
- House or hideout
- Bowls/bottles for food & water
- Chew & play toys
- Hay rack
- Rabbit pellets (optional)
**IMPORTANT : get to know where you can find exotic veterinarians near you. Rabbits can deteriorate quickly and most regular cats & dogs veterinarians do not know how to adequately treat your exotic pet, since they have a different anatomy.**
A pet transporter is essential to keep your bunny safe when travelling for vet visits or anywhere else. Even though, if the case may be, you have a calm rabbit, it’s a risk to be carrying him/her around without one. A regular size cat transporter or a large rodent transporter is suitable for most rabbits. Ideally, he/she must have sufficient space to be able to turn around.
A few criteria must be respected if your planning on having a caged rabbit. Your bunny will need at least 3 to 4 hours daily of free roaming time. Just make sure the area is bunny proof. Exempt of anything he/she might be tempted to chew on. The minimum cage dimensions for a rabbit of a weight of a maximum of 5 pounds, at adulthood, would be 47” length X 23” width X 24” height (119 cm X 58 cm X 60 cm). For a rabbit over 5 pounds to a maximum of 8 pounds, the minimum cage dimensions would be 55” length X 28” width X 20” height (140 cm X 71 cm X 51 cm). It is important to have a wire cage with openings not much bigger than 2 or 3 cm. A wire cage will allow air to flow through, keeping your rabbit’s lungs healthy. Closed plastic cages or aquariums will allow ammoniac to build up in the bunny’s environment and can eventually cause respiratory related illnesses. If the space between the wires is bigger than 3 cm, it might be dangerous for those who tend to try and stick their heads through the gaps.
- Hay rack or ball: allows your bunny to have access to clean fresh hay. Hay that is placed at the bottom of the cage will end up soiled in urine and your rabbit will not eat it at that point. Note: DO NOT buy a hay ball if your bunny is able to fit his head in the opening as there have been reports of injuries due to animals getting stuck in them.
- Water bottle: keeps water clean & fresh. Water bottles are practical as they don’t take up any space, you can just hang them on to the cage. **You might want to check your water bottle at least twice daily to ensure it’s functioning proprely**. If your rabbit is not used to drinking from a bottle, it’s suggested to have both, a bowl of water and a bottle until he/she gets accustomed to it. It’s acceptable if you prefer using only a bowl of water but it must be made of ceramic, as it is heavier and harder to spill. I have noticed that using a bowl of water during shedding season increases the risk of hairballs, as a whole lot of fur accumulates in the water. Tip: when you fill up the water bottle, always fill it up to the top or it might leak. It can be normal for your rabbit’s water to not go down as fast if he/she tends to eat lots of veggies with high water content.
- Litter box: allows your bunny to be litter trained. For more information on how to litter train your rabbit check out my other article: https://exopetspro.com/uncategorized-en/litter-training-your-rabbit/
- Soft bed, mat or blanket: provides comfort for when your rabbit needs to relax and rest his paws. It also reduces the risk of pododermatitis also known as sore hocks. ALWAYS check your blankets & remove any excess strings that can harm your bunny as he/she can tangle a limb.
- Food bowl: Gives your bunny access to fresh & unspoiled food.
- Bedding: absorbs urine. For bedding suggestions, you can check out the article that I have mentioned above. Although having bedding in the bottom of the cage is not mandatory, you might want to have some in your rabbit’s litter box. Pine or cedar bedding is NOT recommended.
- Chew toys: Amuses your bunny. They usually enjoy destroying or throwing stuff. There are many types of toys that exist. I suggest variating them every once in a while or your rabbit might get bored. You must ensure that they do not contain chemical dyes or anything toxic for that matter. To garantee the quality of the toys, choose a trusted brand: Critter Ware, Oxbow, etc.
- Hideout: brings your rabbit a sense of security and reduces anxiety. He/she can hide there when he/she feels the need to.
- Hay & Pellets: The type of pellets & hay that your bunny will require to stay healthy may variate depending of his/her age & condition. Pellets are only optional as they can easily live on fresh veggies & hay. The wrong nutrition can cause life threatening illnesses such as bladder stones with urethral obstruction, dental malocclusion, GI stasis & many more. For nutritional recommendations take a peek at my other articles on the site.