Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ten New Year's Resolutions If You Have a Rabbit!

  1. Make that yearly vet appointment now and have your rabbit examined from ear to end.
  2. Resolve to provide more living space for your rabbit so it can take a few hops, stretch out completely and stand up in a cage or pen. Then be sure the rabbit has time outside the cage or pen to run, jump and simply be a rabbit. Rabbits need exercise.
  3. Record identifying information on your rabbit including a photo. If you have a hutch rabbit or a rabbit who spends time outside, make sure the bunny is micro-chipped by a veterinarian.
  4. Spay or neuter your rabbit. Every year that goes by for a female rabbit may mean she is closer to being in the 85% of female rabbits who develop uterine cancer. Neutered males will be calmer and less aggressive, too.
  5. Resolve to give your rabbit good nutrition including a constant supply of timothy or grass hay.
  6. Take time to learn how to check your rabbit for medical problems, and how to clip growing nails. Check for lumps and bumps, be sure ears and eyes are clear and the rabbit's bottom is dry and clean. Check once a month to see if your rabbit's nails need to be clipped.
  7. Promise to keep the treats to a minimum (despite the begging). Obesity is the number one cause of rabbit medical problems reported by veterinarians.
  8. Remember to change the litter box often and clean out the rabbit's living quarters, too. Rabbits are happier and healthier with good hygiene in their living space.
  9. Bunny proof your home so exercise time outside a pen or cage does not become an "electrifying" experience for the rabbit. Make sure all wires and other "chewables" are covered and out of the way of curious rabbits.
  10. Resolve to spend more time with your pet rabbit and if you have a single rabbit, perhaps this is the year to match him or her up with a (neutered or spayed) bunny friend.

Hopperhome Wishes You A Very Hoppy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

USA Today Features House Rabbit Book Author

USA Today featured rabbit rescuer, Georgiana G. Hall (G.G.) in Pet Talk and discussed her new book, "Hershey, A Tale of a Curious House Rabbit."
The article discusses not only the book which was published last autumn, but also how Hall came to write the book and some insights into domestic rabbits as house pets.

If you are interested in purchasing the book, go to Amazon through this link at the House Rabbit Society, 5% of the purchase price will be donated to the society.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snowflake - Classic White Bunny

Gotta love a big white bunny. This is Snowflake and she was featured in a video on WPRI of Providence, Rhode Island. This white as snow rabbit has been at the Providence Animal Rescue League since June. PARL says she is friendly, litter box trained and "good with being handled" plus "gets along with other rabbits." Classic white rabbits have a hard time finding homes because some people think they are too plain and don't care for the pink eyes. An article from the Ontario Rabbit Education Organization will dispel any idea that white rabbits are just "ordinary." The Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society also has a web page called "I'm Dreaming of a White Bunny."
If you live near Providence, RI and would be interested in Snowflake or any of the other animals at PARL, call 401-421-1399. Also, there are always lots of wonderful white rabbits to chose from at most shelters or rabbit rescue groups anywhere in the country.

Today Show is Hopping

The Today Show this morning reports business is hopping at a local pet store in Yokohama where pet bunnies are having their photos taken. The rabbits are dressed up for the holidays in silky Santa outfits. There is a lot of giggling by their humans. I am pretty sure my rabbits would never speak to me again if I tried to play dress-up with them. One time I put a Santa hat on Mr. Bumble and managed to get a photo before he tossed it off. It was also followed by a lot of thumping. See video at link above.

Bunnies Have Seoul

Rabbits made MSNBC's Animal Tracks photo album this morning. They were all dressed up in traditional Hankok costume during a photo shoot at a park near Seoul, South Korea. The little Rex looks likes he's managing okay, but the other two look like they are thinking "Hey, what's up with the clothes over my fur coat?"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Bunnies

This morning I read an article from England highlighting the dangers of keeping rabbits outside in hutches during winter. Many people don't realize pet rabbits would normally avoid the cold by burrowing a warren underground and snuggling up to other rabbits. Hutches just don't allow for this if there isn't enough bedding and rabbits are kept separately. I am not a proponent of hutches, but if rabbits are kept outside, they need to be safe and warm in cold weather. Vets in the UK have been seeing cases of hypothermia in hutch rabbits this year and are recommending housing areas such as a garage, shed or some other type of sheltered area. When I lived in Minnesota it was much worse. I knew of rabbits with ears treated for frostbite. Some required part of their frostbitten ears removed. Yikes! With a whole lot of snow expected in the foothills and mountains of normally sunny California this week - it is time to bring the bunnies inside.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Year of the Rabbit in 2011 - Looking Ahead

Hurray for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the House Rabbit Society Singapore who issued a joint press release recently about the Year of the Rabbit (2011). Both organizations are discouraging people from buying rabbits as gifts on impulse especially for children. During 1999, the last Year of the Rabbit, the SPCA in Singapore noted there were 625 abandoned pet rabbits which was a 116% increase from the year before. For 2011 the rescue groups are educating the public about the many reasons rabbits should never be purchased on impulse. (Picture of Jewel and Shiro just two of many gorgeous rabbits available for adoption by the HRSS.)

"Rabbit a la Berlin"

Out of Poland/Germany comes an odd documentary, "Rabbit a la Berlin," featuring rabbits and humans during the Cold War. The rabbits are trapped in the "death zone" between the Berlin Wall (walls). (The Wall was two walls with grassy space inbetween.) A woman's voice gives the rabbit's-eye view of events, and from all accounts it is a sometimes hard to watch political allegory. The main actors are the nose wiggling European rabbits who give the history lesson of the dreadful results of the wall. It is apparently an oscar possibility. Not "Watership Down," by any stretch of the imagination, yet the rabbits are very much the stars. I am sure it would be hard to watch since I have heard there is rabbit mayhem involving rifles in sections.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rabbit Puts Out Holiday Lights

Near Denver a homeowner who decorates his house with lots of holiday lights thought he was up against a human prankster. But after catching the chewing bunny on video, he realized who was the real culprit. "It was a rabbit. It was kind of cute. He runs out, he looks both ways. The rabbit comes up, stands up, goes over to the lights, takes a bite and runs away." The video is posted here
I have to give the Mr. Miller credit for trying to find a humane way of deterring the bunnies including pepper, predator urine and other non-lethal methods. He could also check out my list at this link.
It could be holiday lighting manufacturers are following the lead of automobile manufacturers. Car companies have discovered that a soy based plastic is cheaper to produce than traditional plastic to coat wires. However, it also tastes good to rabbits, mice, rats and other creatures.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finnish Feral Rabbits

Finnish feral rabbits find food at feeders (say that real fast 20 times). Anyway, a recent article in the YLE News was posted with this beautiful photo of one of the feral bunnies. The rabbits are, of course, descendants of "released" pet bunnies and have migrated to other communites outside the capital of Helsinki. According to the article, "even last winter's record-breaking cold temperatures did not have any significant impact on rabbit numbers, with the animals finding food at birdfeeders and in gardens." (Photo credit: YLE)

Bunny Christmas Song

A few years back I took the lyrics to "Let it Snow" and "bunnyized" them. They were inspired by at least three rabbits. These particular three rabbits got on Santa's "Bad Bunny List" because they enjoyed playing under the decorated tree and nibbling everything in sight. You would be surprised how far a rabbit can reach into a tree. They are not afraid of hopping on to sturdy lower limbs either. I decorate large wreaths now and hang them all over my place. The tree thing is over. The rabbits can still have run of the place. No one gets electrocuted by holiday lights, the decorations last from year to year and there is Peace on Earth. (Visit link above to see the rabbit version of an old favorite Christmas song.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NYC House Rabbit Society Rabbit Conference Featuring Special Guest: Amy Sedaris

The New York City House Rabbit Society is holding their 16th Annual Rabbit Conference on Sunday, October 24th. The agenda includes several great subjects such as “Wabbit Weight Watching” and a live demonstration of rabbit bonding. You can see more information and all the details here if you are lucky enough to live nearby and can attend! What I am going to miss is their special guest, the multi-talented Amy Sedaris. She will do a reading from the rabbit-proofing chapter of her new book, “Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People!” Amy Sedaris has always been a favorite of mine not only because she is a very entertaining writer/comedienne, but also a serious bunny fan. She had a beautiful Netherland Dwarf rabbit for several years, Tattletail, and now has a Mini-Rex, Dusty who has been with her since March 2003. I read somewhere that Amy said, "I'll always have a rabbit the rest of my life."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CritterCookies by Zooh Corner

I would have loved to have been in the test kitchen when the people from Zooh Corner were developing their CritterCookies several years ago. A bit of hay, a dash of grains. Yummy. Rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs enjoy them, but a timothy hay-based treat just doesn't appeal to human taste buds. Granted, they do contain some fruits, veggies and grains, but still I haven't been tempted to try one. But what do I know, rabbits have a lot more taste buds than humans and they love these treats. They love all treats so don't overdo it when they beg. Find CritterCookies at the link above. They come in cute cookie shapes.

Year of the Rabbit 2011 in China & Thailand

I received an email yesterday from a woman in Phuket, Thailand and she wanted me to know the Year of the Rabbit is celebrated there as well as in China. She also informed me we are in for a "peaceful, calm year which is a welcome relief after the year of the Tiger with all of its fierceness." Not only that, but 2011 is a Metal Rabbit year. This means Rabbit people qualities are influenced by the Chinese Element Metal. (The 5 Chinese elements occur in a 5 Year cycle and overlays the 12 year cycle of the Thai Zodiac.) The normally shy Rabbit people will be more determined and ambitious. The Year of the Rabbit begins February 3rd in 2011 and ends January 22nd in 2012. I looked it up and I was not born in a Rabbit year. My twin sister and I were born in a Tiger year with all of its "fierceness." :)

Bundles of Bunny Joy

I stumbled across an album of baby bunnies on Flickr put together by a House Rabbit Society fosterer. The HRS MD, DC & Northern Virginia Chapter were contacted by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington with a pregnant doe that was about to give birth last January. A fosterer was located and she brought the adult female and her 8 kits to her home. She took photos of the bunnies as they grew up and the result is a nice photo album on Flickr. I neuter and spay every rabbit I get. A few have gone to the vet for altering before they even come home with me so I don't see the little ones much. But who wouldn't enjoy baby bunnies and their transformation from kits into beautiful adult rabbits. See it at the link above.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Doing Right by Dudley Doolittle

This is one cute little lop. Fortunately, he is recovering with the Bunny Bunny S.P.C.R. in Montclair, CA. Little Dudley came to them "covered in fleas and mites." Plus, he had a terrible case of fly strike and a malocclusion. Fly strike alone can be devastating and fatal. The shelter vet thought it might be best to euthanize him. Well, the folks at Bunny Bunch weren't having any of that. They say in four weeks the little lop is making a great recovery and Dudley cleans up nicely. The malocclusion may require surgery, but now he has a chance. Read more about Dudley at the link above.
By the way, the Bunny Bunch is hosting their Bunny Expo 2010 October 3rd and you can see their flyer at the link. Don't miss it if you live in the southern California area.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

House Rabbit Society Calendar for 2011

Time hops by fast and it is already time to get a 2011 calendar. The 2011 HRS Rabbit Center Calendar is now available at the link.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fly the Friendly Skies with a Rabbit

I knew a woman who used to take her bunny on business trips with her in the cabin of most airlines on a weekly basis. But a lot has changed in 10 years. It isn't that easy to fly Thumper or Fido or even Fluffy anymore. Petfinder has published their survey of the best airlines for transporting pets. The winner is JetBlue, according to the Petfinder survey. JetBlue provides amenities including 300 frequent-flier miles each way, a pet travel guide and a pet carrier bag tag. It is also the safest airline for pets on top of all that. For the budget-minded, the best airline is AirTran and for a price of $69 one way in the cabin small dogs, cats and birds can fly with their owners. However, best airline for jetting your rabbit, hamster, bird or guinea pig is Frontier Airlines. See the survey results at the Petfinder link above.

See Ya Later Alligator

CHBC News in Kelowna British Columbia reports that “rabbits and guinea pigs donated to a local reptile refuge have been saved from becoming reptile snack food.” The rabbits were starting to breed and owner Doug Illman “couldn’t bring himself to serve them up as dinner for Lucy, Alli and Lucky, the American alligators.” Good! He requested help and found it in volunteers from the Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS). This is the same group who rescued and placed the Kelowna feral rabbits in sanctuaries a while back. They have also been very involved in the University of Victoria rabbit rescue. So it’s not any wonder they have already spayed the rabbits and fixed the male guinea pigs from CrocTalk. Only one large Flemish Giant rabbit was kept and given sanctuary at Croctalk. And, he won’t end up as dinner.
TRACS is having a BBQ and yard sale to help defray the costs of spaying and neutering of the rabbits and guinea pigs on Saturday, September 25th in Kelowna at CrocTalk. Sounds like the CrocTalk owner is becoming a rabbit fan. A big thump to the person who donated the rabbits to CrocTalk for reptile appetizers in the first place. Photo Credit: CHBC News, CDART
By the way, visit this link at Responsible Animal Care Society for a terrific pictorial of the Kelowna feral rabbits now at sanctuaries.

My House Rabbit Bloggers Interviewed on Pet Hooligans

My House Rabbit bloggers and webmasters were interviewed on Pet Hooligans recently. I have been reading this website and blog since it started a couple of years ago by rabbit lovers in Connecticut. It's interesting to see what other bloggers write about rabbits. When I started Hopperhome back in 1998 and then the blog in 2006 there weren't too many blogs on rabbits - now they are multiplying, well, like rabbits. However, some stand out and the My House Rabbit website and blog is one of the best. Plus, I enjoy the beautiful photos of rabbits, too, like the one on the left. Check them out at their link above.

Raging Haremones

Friends told me Paris Hilton twittered and posted a picture on the social networking site of her holding a baby rabbit saying, 'My Bunnies had Babies! So Cute!" She had just recently rescued 20 rabbits from a pet store after finding out they were set to become snake food. That's a good thing. However, it's time to take all the adult rabbits to the vet for neutering and spaying or she will be "Haress" Paris Hilton. See Neuter & Spay Your Rabbit at Hopperhome and free flyer to download "Raging Haremones."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A House for the House Rabbits in North Georgia

Members of the North Georgia House Rabbit Society found out this morning they will be able to continue caring for rabbits at the home currently serving as their rescue headquarters. A while back the Cobb County Commission had initially denied a land use permit, but have now voted unanimously to grant the non-profit group a temporary permit for one year. The North Georgis HRS hopped to it and made renovations to the home. Plus, they will expand the parking lot to prevent traffic problems. One volunteer will need to live in the home full time as part of the agreement. Nice place, surrounded by bunnies . . . who could ask for anything more! Pictured on the left are Levi and Lilly, just two of many beautiful rabbits available for adoption from the North Georgia HRS.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dog & Bunny Show Help Quake Victims

According to news outlets in New Zealand a German Shepard called Achilles and a bunny called Rabbit are cheering up residents who endured the earthquake that shook up a Kairaki Beach camping ground near Christchurch. The bunny and dog pose for photos, chase each other and otherwise help people who are quake victims think about something else other than the damage and difficulties ahead.
It seems Achilles and Rabbit play hard, too. "Don't worry, it looks bad, but Rabbit turns around and gives it to him too," campground owner Bronwyn Waters told NZPA. Moments later Rabbit is scampering along hot on his big buddy's tail. Photo Credit: NPZA

Paris Buys & Saves 20 Rabbits

Despite any other problems Paris Hilton may have in her life, she has saved 20 bunnies who were going to become meals for snakes. Several media outlets report she stepped in when she learned the fate of rabbits in a pet store she visited. (Which pet store is that?) One article reported she wrote on her Twitter page, , "Feeding My Bunnies a Late Night Snack . . . "The bunnies were meant to be feeders. I saw them at the pet store and they told me they were for snake food and I had to save them . . . I rescued 20 of them. They are now happy living in my backyard. They are all so happy, so nice to have changed their fate." I think this is great she rescued them. Unfortunately, there will be rabbits to replace them. The attitudes of some uninformed reptile pet store owners and reptile pet owners has to change before this is no longer practiced.
There are several articles on the web from reputable herpetologists who do not recommend feeding live animals to reptiles. An issue of Herp Gazette includes an article about why this practice isn't a good idea for the reptile and so does this article. We all know why it isn't good for the rabbits or rodents.

Vacuum Review Tackles Furry Rabbits

Mary Cvetan who is the Co-founder, Pittsburgh House Rabbit Club, will be writing for Pet focusing on domestic rabbits. Her first feature was a review of a the Panasonic Jetspin Cyclone Vacuum. The photos of her furry team of house rabbits won me over (left). I have my own furry herd at home who always seem to be shedding at different times. The vacuum cleaner gets a workout. By the way, for a hand vacuum size try the Corded Cyclonic Hand Vac with Retriever Turbo Brush (Black & Decker). This thing has rubber bristles that remove pet hair for quick clean ups in smaller spaces. Congratulations Mary for getting word out about rabbits now at Pet

Animal Testing Lab Surrendering Animals after Investigation

This was good news from an investigation by PETA one week after they released the results of their undercover investigation of a North Carolina–based contract animal testing facility, Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS). A complaint was also filed with the USDA and now PLRS is surrendering almost 200 dogs and dozens of cats and closing the lab. I have posed the question about what will become of the rabbits. They were also victims of abuse. Peta noted on their website that this is "the first time that a laboratory has been forced to surrender animals and close under pressure on the heels of a PETA investigation and while facing a formal USDA investigation."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Practical Litter Pan for Injured or Disabled Rabbits

My sister Bonnie has a 10 year old bunny, Mr. Basil, and even though he still has a lot of hop in his step he might like this litter pan from a company out of Italy called Marchioro. They only sell to retailers and this multi-purpose pan with one low side is suggested for everything, but a litter pan on their website. However, it takes bunny lovers like Scot and Amy Leith to see the true worth of this pan. Anyone with a older rabbit or an injured rabbit will appreciate how easy it would be for their rabbit who wants to use their litter box to get into this one. It is called the "Kiosk open front litter pan" and I like it. See it at Leith Petwerks. By the way, I have no advertising association with Leith Petwerks. This is a recommendation only.

Meet Veterinarian Joseph Martinez

An article from the Vancouver Sun puts a human face on a big rabbit rescue project. Pictured on the left is Joseph Martinez who is very busy neutering and spaying rabbits who are being removed from the University of Victoria. Hundreds of rabbits including the two adorable bunnies Martinez is holding are being prepared for their new home at the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Texas.
Martinez said he volunteered his time to spay and neuter as many rabbits as possible so they won't have to be killed.” He is performing surgery very efficiently so they can do about two rabbits an hour. “But I'll work 16 hours a day to save as many as I can. Bunnies are my major interest.”
Martinez is an Italian immigrant who has been in Canada for 20 years. He grew up on a farm and his family raised rabbits and other animals for food. However, he says he developed a passion for all creatures at a young age and by 10 decided it was wrong to eat animals. He then became a vegetarian and pursued a career in animal medicine in Israel and Italy.” It's good to see the media recognize one of many dedicated people who are making a difference for the rabbits in Victoria, BC. Photo credit: Steve Bosch , Vancouver Sun.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jersey Wooly Rabbit Gets into Guiness Book

A Jersey Wooly rabbit at 14 years and 8 months has made it into The Guinness Book as the oldest living Jersey Wooly. (That's a long time for any breed of rabbit.) The rabbit who is named Do was first seen by Jenna Antol in a pet store. According to Antol, "The store owner said he wanted to get rid of the rabbit and gave him to me for free." At the time, the veterinarian estimated the rabbit to be about 5 to 6 months old and that he was a pure-bred Jersey Wooly. Jenna and the long-lived Do live in New Jersey. Now that's a Senior Rabbit! Jenna and Do pictured above. (Photo credit: Mary Frank,

Protest Against Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS)

I'm not going to post photos or videos. They are extremely difficult to watch. The video taped evidence of extreme inhumane treatment of rabbits, cats and dogs at this North Carolina Product Testing lab (PLRS) certainly speaks for itself. Go to this blog to learn more about a September 16th protest and a petition.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rabbits Rule by Microsoft

An ad popped up this evening online: Rabbits Rule. Microsoft is promoting their 2010 Office software featuring "real stories" in short ads. The Rabbits Rule ad shows 3 young boys who wrote a poem about their rabbit Sniffs. I have a lop at home who looks just like the one starring in the commercial. Both are very cute. See video at link above. (I'm not promoting Microsoft 2010 products - I'm using 2007.) When one of the boys asked the bunny if he wanted to hear his poem, and his brother said rabbits "don't understand English." Not true - my bunnies know about 6 or 7 words including their names. Granted, most of the words have to do with food. (I snipped the photo of Sniffs from the ad)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hagar Cartoonist is Friend to Bunnies

Hagar the Horrible cartoonist, Chris Browne, is a friend to bunnies. Actually he says he is a "Friend to Bunnies and Chihuahua's" on his blog profile. He has even named his home in South Dakota "Bunny Hill" after the wild cottontails who share his yard space. In one article I read he said, "Rabbits are such pure, positive creatures; I just feel blessed to see one in the yard." Okay, he's hooked on hares for sure. Bunnies are also given a respectful amount of attention on his blog. He is working on a book featuring bunnies, too. A first peek of the sketches is shown below:

Victoria Rabbits Oot and Aboot at Rabbit Haven, Gig Harbor, WA

Some very lucky rabbits are now happily hopping around the Rabbit Haven shelter in Gig Harbor, WA. These rabbits were recent residents of the University of Victoria campus and slated for removal. There have been many, many dedicated volunteers who have been trying to save rabbits the University had planned to euthanize. According to the Seattle Times “about 100 rabbits” were already killed in May. According to the Tacoma News Tribune “as many as 1,000 rabbits will be moved through the Gig Harbor based rescue organization of Rabbit Haven on their way to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Whitehouse, TX.” It’s about time, eh?

Running Room for Rabbits

Many people in the UK keep their rabbits in traditional wood hutches outside. I'm not in favor of hutches and always recommend indoor housing for rabbits. One of the reasons I'm not in favor of hutches is their size. Most hutches are too small just like many indoor cages sold in retail pet stores. However, a couple in the UK came up with a new way for folks there to give their bunnies some running room. It's called a Runaround burrow den. I could see using this as a play area outside in nice weather. It would provide protection from big birds of prey like eagles and other small predators like cats. The website says it has been fox tested in the UK which is great. But in my neighborhood (and other places in the USA) it would need to stand up to nimble raccoons, coyotes and even the occasional mountain lion or bear. My rabbits wouldn't get to spend the night in it. Take a look for yourself and visit the website at the link above. There is no doubt the bunnies in the video enjoy it.

Runaround from Runaround on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Puzzling Bunnies

Can't tell which way is up? These puzzling wood bunnies won't help, but you won't be wrong whichever way you put them together. Great for kids just trying to make heads or cottontails of the world. Just two pieces. They can be painted. I think they are kind of pretty in their modern way to hop up and adorn a shelf.

Soft Spot in Iraq

Here's some inspiration and compassion from a land that has been war weary for a long time. An animal welfare worker from the SPCA International discovered city police with pet rabbits and shared the good news. Terri Crisp was in Iraq writing a book called, "Operation Baghdad Pups" for several weeks this past summer. (By the way, her book will be about the bond between animals and combat warriors, and is slated to be published in 2011.) While there she discovered a dozen bunny rabbits in the front yard of a local police station in Erbil.
Crisp wrote on the SPCA website "Curiosity got the best of me, so one warm evening I walked to the produce stand and bought a bag of carrots. I strolled over to the police station with a local friend who could translate for me. My most pressing question was, ‘Are these pet rabbits or are they being raised for food?' I was quite relieved to learn, early in our conversation with three of the police officers, that all 12 rabbits were pets. They had been living there for three months and the entire police station had grown quite attached [to them]."
The officers have installed the fence to keep a stray cat from grabbing the bunnies. Terry went on to say, "I learned that each of the rabbits had a name and there were stories to relay about each one ... these men took great pride in the rabbits and I was thrilled to see this kind of compassion." Photo: SPCA photo of bunnies, Terry Crisp and one of the police officers in Iraq.

International Rabbit Day September 26th

This is the day which promotes the protection and care of rabbits both domestic and wild around the world. International Rabbit Day will be held on September 26th this year. (It is an annual event and occurs on the 4th Saturday or Sunday of September.)

House Rabbit Society's chapters will be holding many events to promote International Rabbit Day. You can check out this list at their website to see what is scheduled at their chapters in the USA and elsewhere. Take the time out to attend one!

On the Wild Side: Baby Bunny on Animal Tracks

MSNBC has a weekly slide show of animal photography called Animal Tracks. The photos come from around the world and in the last week of August they included this bunny photo by Nikki Hawkins courtesy of Wildlife Rescuers of Connecticut. The tiny cottontail was turned into the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it's mother had been killed by a dog, but this baby was okay. The bunny is in good hands now. See more of Nikki's rescued bunny photos on her flickr site.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Danish Rabbit Hopping

A video for the 2010 Danish Rabbit Hopping Competition is make the rounds in cyberspace. It even jumped on to Cute Overload. I particularly enjoyed the little pep talks the humans were giving their bunnies between jumps. Rabbits are naturals for this sport that started in the 1970's in Europe. A Danish rabbit is the current world record holder with a jump of 39 inches high and 10 feet long. Breeds like Dutch, English Spot and Belgian Hares make great jumpers, but any mixed breed can learn and excel. The Danish video features a couple of lop breed rabbits. Rabbit Agility hasn't caught on in the US like it has in Europe, but there are several people who enjoy it, and a book on the subject. It's a little like horse show jumping, but the "cute factor" is much higher.

On the Wild Side in Bangladesh

I was intrigued this morning by a small news article out of Dhaka, Bangladesh about three rare “black-nape rabbits” released into the Bhaowal National Park, three days after they were caught by fishermen. There are about 50 species of rabbits and hares that are known to exist in the world. Apparently, the black-nape "rabbits" are hares. In fact, they are the Indian Hare (Lepus nigricollis), also known as the Black-naped Hare. These hares are facing extinction in Bangladesh where they are hunted and losing forest habitat. Tapan Kumar Dey, forest conservator (Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle) of the Forest Directorate, freed the rabbits. He said “"It is the high time to save the rabbits. Otherwise the species will be eliminated from our country. Raising of mass awareness is necessary to preserve them.” See the photo above of the Black-Naped Hare and it is obvious how these lagomorphs got their common name.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The White Rabbit of Inaba

Wendy from LA who was in Japan recently sent me this photo from Tottoro near Hakuto Beach. A house rabbit fan herself; she said she enjoyed all the rabbit statues in the area. The story goes a white rabbit lived near the Hakuto Beach. When a flood washed the rabbit out to sea he asked the sharks to help him. He hopped from the back of one to the next until the sharks became angry and attacked him. First, some men who passed by the rabbit told him to bathe in the sea to heal his wounds, but it caused more pain. Then Daikoku-sama, the brother of the men passed by and told the rabbit to “Wash your body with fresh water and roll on the fluff of cattails”. The white rabbit followed his advice and was cured. Hakuto Beach is the setting for the story and it is recorded in Japan’s oldest written records. Domo Arigato Wendy!

New York Lottery Hits Jackpot with Bunnies

Several people have steered me over to Youtube to watch the ad featuring rabbits in a New York Lottery commercial. Wow, there are bunnies in it. Lots of them dressed up in some fairly uncomfortable outfits. Plus, they get to sit in odd positions for lagomorphs the like spinning teacups props at a staged fair scene. The ad is part of a series including kittens, baby pigs, etc. Cute, but then I'm not so sure the rabbits are convinced about the costuming. See the ad at the link above.

Newspaper Features Articles on Therapy Rabbits and Rabbit Sausage Pizza on Same Day – What?

There was a wonderful article published today in the New York Post online about Maria Grieco and her two therapy rabbits Tosca and Rinucco. The rabbits featured in the story (especially people friendly Tosca) helps elderly folks and even stressed students relax. Plus, it emphasized how Grieco receives the benefits of pet therapy at home, as well because her bunnies “suit my temperament. They’re gentle, quiet creatures.” It also talked about how Grieco loves to watch her rabbits snuggle together “ cheek to cheek, silently enjoying each other’s company. I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us.”
On the same day the New York Post also posted a photo article about a Ricotta, zucchini, squash blossom and rabbit sausage pizza from Colicchio & Sons, 85 10th Ave. in New York.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thump on the Head to Opportunistic Writer & Reality Show Wannabe

Warning this blog entry is about cruelty to rabbits. There is a new book out I am going to skip reading. It is “My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm (Scribner). This is clearly a book deal gimmick. Manny Howard manages to have a farm in his Brooklyn backyard from March to August and in the process paralyzes and eats a pregnant rabbit. He has made the rounds on TV and has had several articles written about his attempt at “urban farming.” This experiment was grossly inhumane. He described the rabbit “growling” at him when he was cleaning the hutch. Obviously, he did not educate himself in the least on the behavior of the animals he purchased for his so-called "farm." Of course, rabbits and especially a pregnant female rabbit will grunt and lunge when threatened. Apparently, Mr. Howard feels his ignorance makes for amusing reading. In an interview with Elle Magazine he was asked if he was still freelancing and he responded: “Yes, I am, but later in the week I’m going to pitch my TV agent another wacky reality show that involves me doing stupid *%$#*.” So it seems he is willing to do whatever is necessary to get a book deal or TV show including hitting a female rabbit with a dust pan until she is paralyzed and then having her for dinner. This is not an "Empire of Dirt" - it is a dirty business.

Wild Baby Bunny Basil

I get a lot of emails about wild cottontails that are injured or orphaned every summer season. This summer was no different. Most of these babies don’t thrive unless a wildlife rehabilitator can provide help. This season was no different and then I heard from a lady in Omaha. Her name is Kimberly and she rescued a cottontail after it was injured by a dog in her garden. The bunny was only 2 days old and left crying and bleeding. She had helped the baby bunny survive two weeks. I gave her links to the wildlife rehabilitator directory and the House Rabbit Society page on orphaned baby bunnies. Plus, I offered her a bit of advice and encouragement. Well, it seems she is a natural at this since her rescued baby bunny who she calls “Basil” is doing well so far. His hair has grown in and he is gaining weight. She plans to release him when he is weaned and strong enough. The photo above is of Basil and I would say Kimberly has certainly given him a good start. Love those little elfin ears!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bunny World Foundation Takes on Black Market Rabbits

The baby bunnies are just barely old enough to open their eyes and yet illegal vendors are selling them in the Fashion District in Los Angeles. Fortunately, there is Lejla Hadzimuatovic, founder of the Bunny World Foundation to the rescue. She has taken in approximately 800 baby bunnies confiscated by police primarily in downtown LA in Santee Alley over the past two years. Here is a recent video of a profile for the BWF by KBAC TV Eyewitness News in Los Angeles.

Zoning Issues for Rabbit Rescue in Georgia

The House Rabbit Society North Georgia Chapter is seeking a temporary land use permit to continue operating out of the house zoned residential instead of moving where it is zoned commercial. According to the article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the rabbit rescue group is doing what they can to compromise on sales of rabbit food and supplies, holding meetings away from the house and having rescue visits by appointment only. Sounds like they are really doing what they can to be good neighbors. The article quoted a 17 year homeowner in the neighborhood who supports the group as saying, "The bottomline is if the [rescue] is removed and the property is unoccupied, with the state of the real estate market, it could remain that way for a long time. The letter of the law and the good of the community are not always the same." This makes sense because the house was a vacant foreclosure before the rabbit rescue group purchased the house and renovated it. They did a nice job, too!

Rabbits Keeping Their Paws Above Water

An Australian newspaper published an article about the recent rain that has saturated a parched land and raising water levels in Lake Keepit, near Tamworth in northwest NSW, Australia. Farmers are happy, but this colony of rabbits is stranded on an outcropping of rocks and sharing it with seagulls. A rescue attempt was unsuccessful since boats couldn't get in close enough due to the boulders just under the surface of the water. Both domesticated and cottontails can swim if it means life or death. These are European rabbits introduced to Australia. The most famous swimming rabbit is the Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus), a large cottontail found in the southeastern USA. It's very well suited for swimming. In fact, it's the breed of rabbit that infamously chased former President Jimmy Carter in his boat several years ago. It's going to keep raining according to forecasters in Australia. The rabbits will eventually have to get their paws wet and swim for dryland. Photo credit: Peter Lorimer, The Daily Telegraph.

Bunny Berlin Wall

Check out this amazing street art in Berlin - a wall of white rabbits!

Hare Today Maybe Gone Tomorrow in Houston

In Houston Texas a woman found out her home could be considered a "hutch" because she kept three rabbits in her home. Not kidding. The woman received three tickets - one for each of her pet rabbits. It's perfectly legal according to a 1968 city ordinance. According to the article in the Houston Chronicle newspaper "A 1968 city ordinance prohibits rabbits being housed within 100 feet of the nearest residence, restaurant, church, school or other human habitation, said Christopher Newport, spokesman for Houston's Bureau of Animal Control and Regulation. The code means that if you keep a rabbit in your home, the house is considered a rabbit hutch, and it must be at least 100 feet from your neighbor's."
Fortunately, Newport also realizes the law is outdated and the citation was an isolated incident, and Section 6-32 on rabbits, guinea pigs and fowl is under review along with other animal-control ordinances. They will present proposed changes to Houston City Council within three months. In the meantime, Les Wood, president of Bunny Buddies, says change is needed immediately because the ordinance impacts the rabbit rescue group's effort to find homes for animals abandoned at shelters.
Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes AP

Sunday, August 1, 2010

San Juan Island Bunny Battle

San Juan Island which is part of the San Juan Island archipelago in northern Washington State, and a popular recreational area known for kayaking and sailing has a bunny battle brewing among the National Parks Service and locals. The National Parks Service believes the rabbits are damaging delicate habitat and there are many locals who believe the rabbits are now natives. They are European Rabbits brought to San Juan Island about 100 years ago and released by farmers as a food source. The Park officials have drafted a plan that is causing a fair amount of protest. The plans call for the NPS to hire a contractor to hunt the rabbits with small caliber weapons and leg hold traps (no teeth). Newspapers and TV news in Seattle have reported on the heated debates about the plan in meetings held to discuss the rabbits’ future.
There has been a reasonable and humane alternative suggested for the American Camp rabbits. According to a Seattle PI article, Sandi Ackerman of Rabbit Meadows Feral Rabbit Sanctuary in Seattle said the American Camp rabbits could be trapped, neutered and released back into the wild; or trapped, neutered and relocated to the sanctuary. Plus, sensitive areas could be protected with rabbit fences. Sounds like a plan to me.

University of Victoria Rabbits may have Hoppy Ending

The British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction to stop the University of Victoria from its planned rabbit cull. In June the university released a plan that would have 1,400 rabbits killed or sterilized and relocated to sanctuaries. Animal activist Roslyn Cassells successfully went to court to prevent the cull, and the injunction is in effect for about another month. This will hopefully allow time to get the permits.
Here is what is hoppening to save the rabbits:
The Wild Rose Rescue Ranch rehabilitation farm in eastern Texas has offered to take 1,000 of the rabbits. It’s a long way from home, but certainly better than the alternative.
Susan Vickery, of Common Ground, a Gulf Islands-based wildlife assistance organization is also trying to get permits for a new sanctuary at the World Parrot Refuge near Coombs, B.C. Refuge owner Wendy Huntbatch has agreed to allow a space for up to 400 spayed and neutered UVic rabbits.
A vegan bake sale organized by Liberation BC last Wednesday night raised over $8,300 to spay neuter and relocate UVic rabbits. 40 bakers contributed baked goods and hundreds of people came out in support of the fundraiser.
A $50,000 donation from the Fur-Bearer Defenders will pay for spaying and neutering all rabbits trapped, and 14 local veterinarians have been lined up.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter

In honor of Beatrix Potter’s birthday, July 28th here is a rare watercolor of one of her original drawings for A Rabbit’s Christmas Party. This was a preliminary drawing. She often put rabbits in clothes like little blue coats, but here she shows them off more naturally. She seemed to love animals and had two rabbits. Benjamin bunny was her first rabbit. She said he was a "an impudent, cheeky little thing.” Then there was Peter rabbit who she trained to a leash and took with her on outings. Even though she was a renown children’s author, conservationist, and respected expert mycologist and fungi expert, to me she was a woman who loved nature. She left her 4,000 acres of property to the National Trust and it remains unspoiled. I am sure there are plenty of European rabbits still making their homes among the working farms and doing their bunny dances. For more information: See The Beatrix Potter Society or go to The World of Beatrix Potter

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Not Fair

It’s that time of year again, when state and county fairs bring in all type of animals including rabbits to show. It seems a very stressful place for the rabbits. My sister and I go with Hopperhome cards in hand to talk to people about rabbits as pets and it is usually the hottest time of year in most parts of the country. I recently read about a fair in Indiana with triple digit temperatures and big fans blowing in their “bunny barn.” Last year when it was hot at my local county fair I saw one little girl misting water on her rabbit’s ears as the temperatures soared. With the rabbits starting to pant, I wondered why fair officials didn’t close it down.
My other gripe about rabbit accommodations at many fairs is that rabbits are not allowed any type of resting board. I asked a Rabbit Barn official last year why they didn’t allow them. “It’s messy – it’s only two days” she said. That was it – no more explanation. It’s simple, cheap and humane to put a resting board in a cage. Rabbits do have pads on the bottom of their feet. What pads they do have are very thin and much different from the thick pads of cats or dogs. The fur on the bottom of their feet is normally the only protection they have to cushion their weight. Many breeds do not have heavily furred feet. After all, a rabbit’s original environment was a soft forest floor or field of grasses. Fair barn cages with wire floors are not healthy or comfortable, and what’s “fair” about that?
Above, those bunnies who look like little tattooed jailbirds are beautiful Himalayans at the fair last year.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rabbit Phobia

Charges were dropped against a German student who had terrified a teacher with a chalkboard drawing of a rabbit. The 60 year old female teacher has a case of “leporiphobia,” i.e., rabbit phobia. I have a few phobias myself, but rabbits no way. However, I am very respectful when I handle them and I have experienced my share of bites from new rescues.
Bites or not, I love rabbits, and animal phobias are not rare. Most Americans (almost 80%) have a fear of some animals and it usually becomes apparent around age 11 years old. Many of these fears are associated with a traumatic or emotionally disturbing event which is sometimes long forgotten by adulthood. Even a picture of the animal can send the phobic into a panic. The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by facing it gradually until a desensitizing effect takes place. Most animal phobias can be overcome in a short session in less than a day. For instance, confine a cute little Holland Lop several feet away and the leporiphobic comes closer in small steps while talking through the fear with a therapist. It seems pretty silly until I replace the little bunny with a big old snake in my mind’s eye. I cannot fault this poor teacher for her fears. She deserves our sympathy. Afterall, she will never experience a nudge from a bunny nose or bunny kisses. Now that’s a scary thought.

And speaking of rabbit hoarding . . .

The folks from the Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary in Phoenix were called to a home earlier this month to gather up what they thought would be 40 rabbits, it turned into more than 100. At the time the news article was written more baby bunnies were still being found in the backyard burrows. The rescue group plans to neuter and spay all the rabbits and have already made good progress. The many injured rabbits are receiving medical treatment. Read the article here. If you can help with any donation, visit the Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary link above. They are updating this story weekly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Animal Hoarding TV Program on Animal Planet

Tomorrow night Animal Planet starts a TV Series on Animal Hoarding The show does not profile a rabbit hoarder, but the dog, cat, bird and other exotic pet animal hoarders all share the same serious psychological condition. Over the years I have read about many, many cases of rabbit hoarding. If the person doesn't receive mental health treatment, they have a 100% relapse rate. Tufts University has done a lot of work in this field and is listed as a resource on the Animal Planet website above. The really sad aspect of animal hoarding is the harm the hoarder does to themselves and the ultimate abuse to the animals involved. Most hoarders start out with good intentions, but somewhere along the line those intentions veer out of control. It's easy to do with rabbits especially if they are not neutered or spayed since they can multiply so fast. It can result even in thousands of rabbits. The Great Reno Rabbit Rescue comes to mind where well over 1,000 rabbits were found in a backyard.

Rabbit Crochetdermy

This interesting craft piece by crochet artist, Shauna Richardson, caught my eye. I’m not big on the other kind of “dermy” utilizing deceased animals. In fact, I think it is downright creepy and then some. But this is okay. In fact, it is amazing since I have tried my hand at crochet resulting in misshapen hats and potholders. The nice thing about the rabbit is that it celebrates the bunny as a work of art. A hopping rabbit crochetdermy graces Shauna’s website front page.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rabbits - the Original Spanish Soccer Players

¡Enhorabuena España en su victoria del equipo de fútbol! I have known a couple of rabbits who were great "futbol" players. Afterall, Oryctolagus cuniculus is thought to have originated in southern Spain. With those powerful hind legs for kicking and their dizzying zigzag pattern of moving away from predators, they are certainly suited to soccer. In Spanish rabbits are called "Conejos." I admit I watched my own fuzzy futbol players more this past week than the World Cup.
The word "Hispana" means "land of rabbits." Apparently, the European rabbit declined in it's native Spain because of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus disease, hunting and habitat loss. It is considered a keystone species in it's natural habitat. Losses of predators like the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Eagle are directly related to the lack of a healthy rabbit population. Wild rabbits are not pests in Spain and are listed as "near threatened" or "vulnerable" by authorities. I think the Spanish Soccer team should have a rabbit as a mascot.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Advanced Rabbit Speake Seminar

What a line up for this seminar . . . Nancy LaRoche from Colorado HRS, Kit Jagoda from Rivers's Wish Animal Sanctuary, Karen Courtmanche from Harvest Home and Margo DeMello0, Ph.D. author and Executive Director of the House Rabbit Society. The bunnies definitely approve of this seminar!!! Find more information here The range of subjects is bunerific, too - from bonding to how to set-up temporary predator proof enclosures outside to behaviors inherited from European rabbits and much, much more. The collective knowledge about rabbits from these speakers is well worth the trip. The HRS does the best job of education and this is just one part of it. Visit their website at House Rabbit Society. There is always something new to learn.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Smuggled Rabbit turns 8 Rabbits into 25

A lop-eared albino rabbit dumped in a children’s zoo romanced the resident females resulting in 25 rabbits where there were originally eight. The Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in London got a lesson in rabbit math when an intact male rabbit was abandoned for about an hour with three of their female rabbits according to the Mail Online. It all added up to more bunnies than anyone counted on from the brief time the smuggled male was loose in the rabbit exhibit. The three unaltered females all gave birth to Archie’s offspring on the same day and the keepers don’t know which of the kits belongs to which doe. Archie has been neutered in the meantime. The zoo warned visitors not to abandon their pets with them. The new bunnies will be shared with two of their other facilities. Obviously, Archie is a handsome rabbit (see pic above from Mail Online) and the previous owners could have easily found a new home for him.

Pictured (Mail online) right are Archie's large family and they are cute. However, the new arrivals have put an added burden on the zoo. For rabbit rescue groups, humane societies and anyone who needs to convince someone to fix their rabbit Hopperhome has a free download of a flyer on why rabbits should be neutered or spayed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Woman Chases Bear To Save her Pet Bunny

Just in from the Anchorage Daily News - a woman chased a bear who grabbed her paralyzed pet bunny from an enclosure in her yard Thursday morning. Read the article here. I feel bad for the woman who thought her rabbit was safe until the bear jumped a fence to get at her bunny. She then managed to chase a bear in her stocking feet and couldn't get her beloved rabbit back from the bear. The bunny is gone and the bear is in really big trouble. The woman who the article didn't name risked her life to save her rabbit to no avail. Even in tamer places than Alaska, pets need constant supervision outdoors to be safe from wild predators that wander into cities and towns. I have heard of bears breaking into rabbit hutches, but this is a first.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If Rabbits Dig Your Garden Too Much . . .

For those of us who love rabbits including the wild ones, it is hard to imagine people don't want them in their yards. But it is true. I receive several emails every year once gardening season starts requesting information on how to rid yards of these "pests." Rather than let rabbits be exterminated, I decided it might be good to offer up some tips on how to do this in a non-lethal way. All of it is advice I have received over the years. I have compiled a list of old wives tales, tried and true methods, and anecdotal information on how to keep rabbits out of gardens. Contrary to the myth about "dumb bunnies," rabbits are very smart especially when food is involved. See picture above - I know this rabbit personally and he is very intelligent plus well fed. I don't offer any lethal means of thwarting hungry rabbits. It just isn't my style.
Find Tip Sheet to Print at bottom of my Wild Bunnies web page

Making Sure Your Rabbit Keeps It's Cool

It's over 100 degrees on both coasts this week. I am sure there are a lot of domesticated rabbits who would like to dig a deep hole in a warren to get out of the heat. This is exactly what their wild counterparts in Europe would do. My place doesn't have an air conditioner so right now the lop, Speedy, is sitting next to his "cold buddy" and enjoying cool tile flooring. Miss Pansy is as close as she can get to the fan. She is keeping her ears up and open toward the breeze. She seems quite comfortable. Mr. Basil is over ten years old and he's enjoying the heat wave. However, for most rabbits high temperatures can be serious if they have no way to cool down. Visit my web page with several tips on keeping your rabbit cool.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Too Many Feral Rabbits in Headlines

There seems to be a lot of nasty headlines lately about feral rabbits. The one thing that strikes me is that the rabbits are being blamed. Terms such as “nuisance,” “public health issue,” to more dramatic like “hatred” and “war” are being thrown around. Hold your horses (or rabbits), the problem is people. It is people who dump their rabbits outdoors when they no longer want them as pets. I think the phrase “irresponsible pet owners” misses the point. “Ignorant pet owners” is a better description and it doesn’t mean anyone is stupid. People just don’t know abandoning domesticated rabbits is inhumane on many levels.
Persistent education of all potential and current pet rabbit owners could make a big difference. Some municipalities are considering requiring neutering and spaying of all pet rabbits sold. Also, in some places halting sales of rabbits altogether is being discussed as a solution. I am sure education is the preferred choice of everyone involved with rabbit sales before other measures are taken. For many years Hopperhome included a web page on the perils to rabbits when they are released into the wild. Recently, I revamped the web page and made it into a color flyer (or black and white) that anyone can download to give to someone considering getting a rabbit. I encourage it wholeheartedly. I would like to see feral rabbit news become old news.