Thursday, July 12, 2018

Life With A House Rabbit

By Angela DeRiso

A Rabbit Rescued At The Right Time
I took Lily in during August of 2015, after I found her running loose in the subdivision I lived in. Just by her coloring alone, you can tell she wasn't a wild rabbit. A white body with dark gray Siamese points does not make for good camouflage. It's likely she was bought as a gift for Easter, then dumped when someone got tired of caring for her. It's an awful recurring story every year for rabbits everywhere.
She lived in my bathroom a few months until I built a two level enclosure with NIC cubes and zip ties. Originally, I was only suppose to foster her, but I couldn't help but fall in love. It wasn't just that I had worried over her safety out in the wild, but that the time she turned up in my life was so meaningful. My Grandmother had passed about a week earlier, and I had actually been discussing pet rabbits with her not so long before. I guess those coincidences were significant enough for me that I couldn't let her go.
The Daily Routine
As soon as I'm up in the morning, Lily is waiting for her bowl of greens. I usually offer 3-4 types and rotate each week. I open the door to her rabbit-condo to allow her to run freely in my bedroom. She then begins her house rabbit duties of digging in the sheets, performing numerous binkies, running crazy-fast laps around the room, and sniffing out any trouble she can get into. She loves the cat tunnel I recently bought her, and cardboard boxes are always a hit for chewing and getting herself in. Usually she decides on her own when to go back home, or she can be bribed with treats.
The middle of the day is spent sleeping, or lightly napping, with the occasional trip to munch on hay or get a drink of water. Activity resumes at dusk when Lily awaits another foray out of her condo. This time is when most of the crazy-fast laps happen. I can be laying in bed reading a book, while she is zooming around the room at warp speed. I don't know how she does it to be honest. I wish I could move that fast.
The nightly outings conclude with her request for treats. This is when she sits at the end of the bed and just stares at me. As soon as I swing my legs down from the bed, she's running circles around my feet. I make papaya chips for Lily with my food dehydrator, and she loves these to the point of being frantic. I have to be quick with delivering the treats to her or I get nipped on my feet.
A quick nod must be given to rabbits' thieving abilities. One has to be aware of the height at which they store treats and or important documents. Lily has not only made off with an entire bag of treats, but also one of my credit card bills. This is why she's now blocked from going under the bed. She was extremely disapproving when I enacted this new rule.
Sassy & Demanding
More than anything, I've found that Lily has a very strong sense of how things should be. She will protest if she's not let out at a certain time, or if she hears a sound she doesn't like. She's not above kicking her back legs at me when I catch her doing something she's not supposed to, like chewing on pillows, or tearing up carpet. Also, if I dare to stop petting her she nips me until I start again. She never bites hard enough to draw blood, but enough to startle me.
Lily only allows one tool for grooming, and that is an eyebrow brush from a makeup kit. I've tried flea combs, and rubber brushes. Both were met with protest. The rubber brush was seized and attacked repeatedly. While small, the eyebrow brush does work and she enjoys it enough to assume loaf position while it's in use. Mind you, this is when she allows grooming, because sometimes she just isn't in the mood. I have also been able to pull out tufts of loose fur with my hands, but that's only allowed for a few minutes before she runs off.
When giving Lily treats such as banana or some other rabbit-safe fruit, I have to watch my fingers. She usually yanks it away. The papaya chips bring about the highest chances of foot nips if I'm not quick enough. Lily will actually sit on my bed while I'm at my computer working on something and just stare at me. I have to say that there's something disconcerting about that face and those forward facing ears just holding that position for so long. It's like she's plotting. However, if I go over and give her a few minutes of petting, she understands I haven't forgotten about her.
She's A Brat, But Too Cute Not To Love
With all the nips, chewing, thieving, and demands, you'd think I'd lose my temper with Lily. I don't though, because I know she's just doing what rabbits do. Even if it comes off as bratty. I also end up laughing a lot with her silly antics rather than be mad. Seeing Lily change from a scared ball of fur to an indoor rabbit that flops down for a long nap during the day is huge. She knows she's safe now. The binkies alone are proof of that. I'm glad she came into my life when she did, and I think she's probably grateful in her own way too. I think she's too feisty to admit it, though.
As of this writing, Lily has been with me for about two and a half years. At the time of her rescue, my vet estimated her to be under a year old, making her approximately three and a half years old today.
If you would like to share your life with a house rabbit, please adopt from a rescue near you.
For a full range of rabbit topics including care, diet, housing, and health, visit The House Rabbit Society

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