February 28, 2015


I think God overdid it with bunnies. He gave them far too much sweetness. He also gave them incredibly clever and mischievous minds. Sadly, rabbits are the most under-appreciated and abused pets in North America. This is why I'm a strong advocate of proper house rabbit care.

Many folks don't know that, unlike dogs or cats, bunnies fear being picked up. This is why they instinctively struggle when uneducated people bend down and grab them. It's like being caught by a predator.

Additionally, rabbits play differently than carnivorous pets. Instead of chasing and catching things, they enjoy tossing noise-making objects. Since their teeth keep growing, they need to chew on things to wear their teeth down. This is why they enjoy chewing on cardboard boxes and ripping up papers. When two doors are cut in an empty box and an old phone book is placed inside, rabbits spend hours joyfully ripping and chewing.

Contrary to the Bugs Bunny cartoons, rabbits can die from eating sugary foods like carrots. They need plenty of hay to keep their digestion going and to wear down their teeth. Pure canned pumpkin is also a good treat as it is rich in fibre. A proper diet can help bunnies live to be more than ten years old.
Many people don't realize that house rabbits can be litter-trained. It's in there nature not to soil their burrows. Even those poor bunnies imprisoned in cages end up using only one corner for their toilet. Some folks have used wood pellets for litter but, being a cheapskate, I use junk mail scrounged from the local post office. My long-eared fur friends never minded that.

Also, bunnies need to be spayed and neutered so that they will be friendlier and cleaner pets. Once their drive to reproduce is gone, they become more affectionate to their humans. Neither do they spray and hump everything in sight. Additionally, female rabbits develop uterine cancer after five years when they're not spayed.

The reason I love rabbits is that it's a special blessing to earn their trust. Neither are they clingy like dogs or aloof like cats. To me, they're friends who like to hang around me, yet they don't mind if I leave for the post office. I also love the way they get all worked up and excited when they know a treat is coming. My current rabbit, Deborah, has a white tail which flashes like a beacon when she hops. Just seeing her excitement and flashing tail at feeding time puts a smile on my face.

I've written so much more about the wonderful facts I've learned, and the fun I've had, with bunnies in a book called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. You can read more about this memoir of my life with these misunderstood creatures at my Bruce Atchison's books page.


  1. Bruce, I had no idea bunnies could be such unique and personable pets. I'm going to share this on my FB page. I know a few families who might be interested in knowing this. And a book as well? Excellent!

  2. Anonymous8:08 am GMT-7

    I never knew this about bunnies either! Thank you!

  3. Here I thought giving a bunny a carrot was a good thing! Your joy in carrying for rabbits is evident in this post, Bruce.

  4. I have a kid character in my next book who is going to raise rabbits. My brother raised them when I was a kid. We have rabbits running wild in our neighborhood now and I learned something. A bunny who had a nest of newborns intimidated a big crow who kept try to get at the nest. Every time the crow flew near, the bunny reared up. The crow tried and tried, and after about 10 attempts flew back to the fence and then disappeared. I wrote an article about it for Live, comparing how God would like to protect us from the enemy of souls as hen protects her chicks, but often we will not accept it

  5. This is interesting, Bruce. You are showing us that bunnies can make interesting pets, if they are cared for properly. You are showing that bunny care can be a joyful experience.

  6. Bruce, I just love the title of your book--now I'm singing the song with "rabbit" instead of "woman"! What a kind soul!


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