Author Topic: Leporidae domesticus


Leporidae domesticus
« on: December 21, 2017 »
Over the course of the past two years I've become somewhat knowledgeable on the subject of the house rabbit.

If there's one thing you can't say to them, it's "No running in the house please."

Taking a keen interest in a hair straightener. No, you don't need that for your ears.

The back of that shelf has a plexiglass barrier bolted to it in what turned out to be a vain attempt at denying access to a place where appliances and various chargers are frequently plugged in. A minute or so after this picture was taken, he made the leap. It may not look too difficult, but note that it’s going from one slippery surface to another, at an awkward angle. We now keep these curtains closed if he’s in a scampy mood and we can’t directly supervise him.

He's got this covered.

Rabbits like to chew. They need to chew. Chewing is their specialist subject. Naturally, we provide objects specifically made to meet this need, such as this wood panel, which he occasionally deigns to nibble.

The bag his litter comes in is also on the approved list.

Then there's his collection of cardboard tubes.

Furniture is on the unapproved list (as are cords to Venetian blinds),

though the slats holding the mattress are OK, as long as they maintain structural integrity.

Moulding was a big worry before he arrived. To our relief, he’s satisfied himself with just a few nibbles here and there.

And he’s left the coffee table alone! Likewise the wing chair he's grooming underneath in the first picture.

Probably his very favourite targets, aside from my wife's slippers, are drapes.

Those hung unmolested for a dozen years. Oh well.

Who knows what he makes of my CD collection.

"My chosen subject is the music of Shania Twain"

Rabbit, rest.

Re: Leporidae domesticus
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017 »
Who knows what he makes of my CD collection.

The lower shelves don't impress him much, but he's sad that the Leonard Cohen is out of reach.


Re: Leporidae domesticus
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017 »
Cohen under Glass.

I like this one better. Could you kindly turn it up? Some of us have paws here.
Sorry about those earphones btw

I don’t know what we'd do without glass. Not only would our living room be very drafty,

the little guy would be constantly dining on lower shelf books (we also use fireplace screens – we have quite a collection).

It keeps curious teeth from all manner of mischief, including plug point mayhem hidden in compelling crevices, and in this case, phone lines.

"You still have a landline? Not anymore."

Fortunately I have a bit of a glass fetish. It's almost like magic to me. And, I suspect, to him.

You've been eating too many books, bunny.

That's more like it.

I grew up in a small American town with a defunct glass factory. The gaffers, Europeans happily diving into the melting pot at the time, turned out all manner of objets de consommation.

Accessorised for that glass ceiling

This candle holder/rabbit bollard probably would've been too plain for their tastes, but pleases me and keeps him from digging into yet more infrastructure.

When we first prepared the house for its chompy new arrival I went down to the local tip and discovered people throw out good stuff all the time. Here’s my latest acquisition, so nice and solid and bevelled:

Scraping off the remains of the decal was a labour of love.

Are you sure you want to eat something that heavy before your nap?


Every little soul must shine
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2019 »
Rabbits are highly social animals, like people. (Well, most people.) We seriously considered getting either two, or none, as is widely recommended; there’s enough suffering in Leporidae’s world as it is, with many sitting neglected in hutches. Swiss law even stipulates that “such animals have a certain level of contact with other such animals.” But we were also persuaded that they have individual personalities, and can be content if provided enough companionship, even if it is of the slightly inferior human variety. It also makes a difference that one of us is always home, though he retires behind the couch 9-5 anyway. (By "he" I don't mean me; I retire on top of the couch.)

We met what was to be our new housemate in a garden centre almost four years ago. Needless to say, garden centres don’t rate any higher than Pets At Home for sourcing a rabbit.

What particularly recommended him to us was that, on observing him over the course of a few visits, we noticed that he kept himself aloof from his brothers. He was also gorgeous, which came as a surprise, given that our preference was agouti, i.e., the colouring you normally see in the wild. We later learned that he is in fact a relatively uncommon tricolour Dutch.

No evidence of vanity

On bringing him home we paid close attention to his behaviour, as you probably will with a house rabbit by default. (One of the reasons pets in the home tend to have greater longevity than those outside, is precisely this proximity: you spot symptoms of illness quickly.) Of concern would be rabbity signs of unhappiness, such as excessive grooming and destruction, self-destruction, and aggressiveness. The first two come down to a matter of degree, considering.

Signs of a happy bunny include relaxed body language and posture, flops, binkies, and general good-natured tomfoolery, a word that hasn’t quite been decommissioned.

He clearly seeks our company, at times coming to look for one of us, perhaps honking (bunnies can honk, sort of) as if to say “What do you need, a formal invitation?”, then returning to his tray, not wishing to dine alone even when there’s plenty of hay and he doesn’t require the services of wait staff.

He’s touchy-feely on his terms, often lying down within reach but without especially wanting to be petted, as indicated by his getting up and going elsewhere when we try. On the other hand, there’s this:

which is essentially a demand that you drop whatever it is you’re doing and attend to his needs forthwith. I don’t wish to anthropomorphise – though a bit of that is impossible to resist – so will merely suggest that he regards this as a grooming session, rather than a call for affection. You’ll know you’re doing a very fine job indeed when he grinds his teeth sideways. This is the 'tooth purr'. "Why is he making that noise!" panicky new owners ask on forums, as heavy grinding can be a sign of a painful condition. Occasionally he licks the carpet while you’re at it, which some have suggested is a rabbit's mysterious way of grooming you in return.

He's quick with a nudge, and he will also lick us, even when there’s no food involved. This is another sign that we’re A-OK in his book.

A male rabbit will, if not castrated, more likely than not regard you as a potential romantic interest, following you around like the lovesick hormone supercharged teenager he may as well be, honking and circling so as to make one dizzy with desire in return. I was kind of sad in advance when he got the snip, expecting a complete cessation of some of these sweet if misguided behaviours. Fortunately the only thing he lost was his lust. He may beg to differ.

My wife and I never had children. Or pets, except as kids. We don’t regard him as a 'furbaby', but he is very much a part of the family, if one that we can legally keep in a cage were we so inclined. I never would have imagined the strength of emotion a little animal can engender, not having felt especially close to my childhood hamsters, for example (though I was fond of the dog). They don't call it bonding for nothing. I can barely imagine what kind of shape I’ll be in when he dies, assuming he goes first. Sorry, this post was supposed to be about sociability, not soppiness.

He’s got his own Facebook page [details on application], which was fun for about 5 minutes. When he sees wild rabbits outside he has never shown the slightest indication that he recognises them as peers.

His entire world, aside from unwelcome visits to the vet to get his shots or his nails trimmed, is the living room, hallway, and three bedrooms. Oh, and us.

Race you to the couch