Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rabbit Hopping in Minnesota Ya You Betcha!

Yesterday the Minnesota Star Tribune featured an article on the Sunday "rabbit agility" classes held at the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (MCRS).  Back when I lived in Minnesota I met Joanna Campbell an original founder of the MCRS and I'm not surprised  "kaninhoppning" training and events are hosted by this dedicated rabbit rescue group.  The sport originated in the late 1970s in Sweden, and it is now spreading around the world and very popular in the UK.  As the article noted "America's 6 million-plus pet rabbits come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they are imminently trainable, sharing traits with other favorite pets including dogs and horses. And they have attitude." I can certainly attest to that since every rabbit I have ever met has a strong and distinct personality with some displaying a little more rabbitude than others.  There are 20 or so bunnies in the MCRS classes, and the 50-plus participating in the ensuing recreational confab called Hoppy Hour.  Boy, those Minnesotans sure know how to have fun with their rabbits . . . ya you betcha!  (Photo credit: Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rabbit Rescue Calendars for 2012

The 2011 Year of the Rabbit may be almost over, but for rabbit rescuers every year is a Year of the Rabbit.  A good friend just sent me a rabbit rescue calendar as a Christmas gift (Thanks Karen!).  It is the first one listed here created by the Missouri House Rabbit Society and it’s perfect for one room in my home.  I was inspired to look for more calendars for other rooms so I did a little research online. What a great way help homeless bunnies and get a beautiful calendar, too.  
Below is a selection of rabbit calendars created by rabbit rescue organizations.  I know I may have missed some so if you have a rabbit rescue (anywhere in the world), and a calendar for 2012, email me and I will add it to this post. Click on each rescue name link above each calendar to go to their website to order.
 




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Think Twice Before Buying a Rabbit as a Gift

Lisa Reemer, Founder of the No Splitting Hares Bunny Rescue, was interviewed recently for an article in the Algonquin Patch. She rescues rabbits, as well as hamsters and guinea pigs, year around in Algonquin, IL. Over the past week she has had more pickups of unwanted rabbits than ever before from shelters who are euthanizing soon. Reemer, and her 17 volunteers, cover two counties to bring theses bunnies back to Reemer's farmhouse, where she shelters more than 250 animals and works to place them in adoptive homes. The article discusses the commitment of keeping a rabbit and why rabbits (and any other animal for that matter) do not make good "gifts" at the holidays. (Also, I have a list on Hopperhome with several reasons not to give a rabbit as a gift at this Link.) The No Splitting Hares Bunny Rescue has many, many beautiful rabbits available for adoption on www.Petfinder.com and pictured are two adorable dwarfs ready for adoption.

Happy New Year to Bob Barker & Mr. Rabbit

The Washington Post featured an article about celebrity pets and New Year's Resolutions. Here is what retired game show host Bob Barker’s has to say about his 8-year-old rabbit, Mr. Rabbit. The bunny already follows Barker around the house “helping me in every way he can.” If Barker could ask for more, it would be “to use his box every time, not just when it’s convenient.”
And Mr. Rabbit’s resolution for Barker? What else? “To continue urging folks to have their pets spayed and neutered — including rabbits.” Now about that litter issue . . . maybe some nice botanical hay in the litter box . . .
Thanks to Bob and Mr. Rabbit for saying exactly the right thing to help rabbits!  (Photo credit: Washington Post)

Friday, December 9, 2011

On the Wild Side: US Forest Service Saves Riparian Brush Rabbit from Floods

Last March heavy storms created above average rainfall and the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Rivers began to flood threatening the the habitat of the small Riparian Brush Rabbit found in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This refuge is located in Stanislaus County, California consists of 6,500 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands.  In other words, perfect habititat for these little lagomorphs. The Riprarian Brush Rabbit is is a federally endangered species. Tbey are similar to a cottontail, but with slight differences such as their smaller tail and no black color tips on the ears. They can swim, but with no high ground to escape to the rabbits were in trouble. The Endangered Species Recovery Program (ESRP) and refuge staff mounted a rescue in rough conditions to prevent the drowning of as many these rabbits as possible. The rabbits are good climbers and boats were used to find and remove them from trees in low areas.  They were then ferried to newly constructed bunny mounds and other high ground. Over a period of several days 125 Riparian Brush Rabbits were moved and saved from drowning. (Photo Credit: CSU Stanislaus, ESRP staff) Here is a link to a video of the rescue effort.

Everything Came Up Roses for this Rabbit

Who knew munching on roses in someone's yard would find a rabbit a new home.  No one knows how BunnyBoy ended up in the yard.  But he found a new home and that's what matters. According to a brief article in the Weekly Times Messenger (UK), the road where the house is located is a very busy street. (No wonder the rose bushes seemed like a safe and tasty place to be.) Fortunately BunnyBoy was taken in by the Wilkins family including their cat. Ms Wilkins said. “He’s very affectionate. He loves me cuddling him. He’s very smoochy.” Awwww. . .
(Photo credit: Weekly Times Messenger)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Santa Cruz Rabbit Spay-A-Thon, A Model of Generosity

The Santa Cruz Examiner published a very informative article on the efforts to spay or neuter 32 of the 114 rabbits confiscated several weeks ago from a breeder in Northern California. Organized by Dr. Hilary Stern from Animal Hospital of Soquel and Heather Bechtel, founder of The Rabbit Haven, two other vets also volunteered their services including Dr. Erika Sullenberger from Animal Hospital of Soquel and Dr. Sarah Hawklyn from Aptos-Creekside Pet Hospital. Vet techs also offered their help as well as volunteers from the Santa Cruz shelter and The Rabbit Haven.  To alter 32 rabbits in one day requires coordination of many logistical details. That's a lot of precious bunnies to keep safe and healthy during the surgery process from pre-op preparations to recovery. Considering how easily rabbits can be stressed and what the rabbits had already endured, this Spay-A-Thon was truly a success. It should serve as a model to other animal rescue organizations and shelters faced with altering a high number of animals to enable adoption out to permanent homes.  Read more here. The article also includes a slide show of the Spay-A-Thon.  (Photo credit: The Rabbit Haven)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bunny Paradise Brings Retirees Together

An article in the Helena, MT (helenair.com) newspaper featured the Johnsons who for the last 15 years have rescued pet rabbits and created a habitat for wild rabbits. Previously they had been in show breeding.  No more. They operate a sanctuary for rabbits which they soley fund themselves, although, they do accept donations such as rabbit feed. Right now they have about 250 rabbits and visit retirement homes and daycare centers.  They bring along a few of the rabbits so kids and adults can learn about them and enjoy being around them. “We’re a retirement home for rabbits,” Margaret Johnson said of their Helena Valley facility, Bunny Paradise Sanctuary. (Photo credit: helenair.com)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Odd Rabbit News This Week

There were several off the wall news reports related to rabbits this week and here is a sample of just a few of those stories that made the news:

Ruff Three Weeks: A terrier, Bilbo, got stuck in a rabbit warren in the UK for 3 long weeks.  Firefighters told Bilbo’s owners the warren's tunnels would collapse if they tried to dig him out so they waited until the dog made his own way out.  After 20 days, the poor pup had lost enough weight to squeeze out of the tight spot. Fortunately, it is reported Bilbo is doing fine now.  Rabbit warrens can be as deep as 9 ft. and are dug primarily by females. A few years ago I heard about one single warren in Europe that was home to 450 rabbits and had 2,000 entrances.

Cat Flap: Also, in the UK, the beautiful Angora rabbit pictured on the right was brought home by a cat.  The feline dragged the bunny right through the cat flap and gave him to his humans as a present.  Luckily, the rabbit was examined by a vet afterwards and was not physically hurt. Although, I wonder if rabbits have their own form of PSTD or at the very least a ‘cat phobia” after a close encounter like this. Attempts are being made to find the rabbit’s previous home.
Braking for Bunnies: I brake for rabbits, but a woman in Oklahoma swerved her truck to avoid a rabbit that ran into the road and crashed her vehicle.  She was 132 ft. off the road and struck a metal culvert.  She is okay.  The bunny did make it across the road.

Amazing Hop: In case you missed it last week, the CBS TV Show, Amazing Racing featured "Kaninhop" (rabbit agility obstacle races) in Denmark for Episode 8. Teams set-up the obstacle course and chose a rabbit. One team picked out Hopper to run their course. Hopper was good, but he knocked over one of the obstacles. The team tried another rabbit named Speckles who jumped through the course perfectly. Afterwards, Bill exclaimed, "Oh Speckles, we’re gonna take you home!” A competing team member, Marcus gave a pep talk to his rabbit, telling it, "I’ve had a frustrating day. Right now you can really help my frustration, okay?” The rabbit probably doesn't understand English being from Denmark, but the bunny gracefully hopped over the obstacles. An appreciative Marcus professed his love for the bunny. The rabbit had put Marcus' team in fourth place. 
Chicken or Rabbit: An eight month old rabbit in Finland was a free gift with a farmer’s purchase of chickens. The farmer said, "When I went to the hen house, I noticed he was sitting on the eggs. Later I watched through the window how he jumped on the beam, failed, tried again and with a lot of practice eventually he stayed up there." He also “sits on the beam between the hens and under their wings." Everyone says the rabbit thinks he’s a chicken.  Maybe the bunny hasn’t had a chance to be a rabbit, or perhaps he is simply being himself with his feathered friends.  Most domesticated rabbits will bond with other animals so his behavior is very rabbit-like.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

114 Rabbits Confiscated from Breeder - Ready for New Homes

After the confiscation of 114 rabbits from a breeder, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in California is overflowing with gorgeous rabbits for adoption. (Just look at the photo on the left - very sweet!) According to the shelter staff, "The conditions these rabbits were living in were abominable, yet they are overwhelmingly outgoing and handleable, a testament to their resilient spirits." There were so many rabbits the shelter is housing them at two locations and has teamed up with Rabbit Haven volunteers to make sure the bunnies have had the best care. The bunnies are being neutered and spayed and some are already available to go to good homes.  If you are interested in adopting, becoming a volunteer or fostering, visit the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter or go online to www.scanimalshelter.org.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rabbit Makes a Statement on Law Journal Cover

The Oregon Law Journal just published their new issue yesterday and a white rabbit graced the front cover (pic on right). The issue featured an article about the work of the Oregon Humane Society in Portland. I am originally from Portland and proud they have a very active house rabbit community. The Rabbit Advocates were originally part of the OHS and became a separate nonprofit entity back in 2002. They are a very dynamic organization with activities for rabbit lovers every month.  The Oregon House Rabbit Society chapter also operates a sanctuary.  Both of these organizations have volunteers who work tirelessly to educate the public about rabbits and adopt out rabbits. Portland, OR has long been a community of animal lovers, Recently Lewis and Clark College announced it will have the first law school in the world that offers an advanced degree in animal law. By the way, I'd say the jury is in on the photo - that is one beautiful white rabbit. See the Law Journal article here about the humane society. (Photo credit: Oregon Law Journal)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Hop for Mankind - Rabbits in Space

A couple of days ago I was amazed to find a photo of two unlikely space travelers, a white dog and a grey rabbit.  Back in the late 1950’s space programs in the Soviet Union (Russia) and United States used animals to make high altitude and orbital flights. Tragically, many times they were one-way trips. It was inhumane on a lot of levels. Otvazhnaya (the dog) and Marnushka (the rabbit) braved a high altitude test flight on July 2, 1959 aboard an R2-A rocket (pictured on the right).  Another dog, Snezhinka, also went on the flight.  Fortunately, all three animals were recovered successfully. This rabbit went on to make five more successful high altitude test flights in the following year. Then in August 1960, two dogs, Belka and Strelka, an unnamed gray rabbit, 40 mice and 2 rats, were launched in Sputnik 5. Again in September 1962 a rabbit was aboard the Artemis that made 12 complete earth orbits. However, Artemis collided with space debris and sustained critical damage. Fortunately, the rabbit was recovered unharmed 933 miles off the east coast of Brazil.
NASA’s History of Animals in Space web page states, “after the manned lunar landing of Apollo 11, the role of animals was limited to the status of biological payload."  Rabbits were included as a “biological payload” species.  After finding this reference to rabbits, I was unable to locate any further information on rabbits utilized in space flights. There are a couple of websites touting the use of rabbits as a food source for human space colonies on Mars, but I don’t take those too seriously.  I hope by the time we venture to Mars, humans will have stopped serving rabbit as a dinner entree on planet Earth.

Thankful A Little Lop Survived GI Stasis

This Thanksgiving a sweet 7 1/2 year old lop is happily hopping around my home after a bout of GI Stasis earlier this month.  I am so thankful.  The symptoms started on a Friday before a long holiday weekend when most vets were closed for three days. My first rabbit, Groucho, died from GI Stasis many years ago. Since then I have learned everything I can about it from veterinary journals to many good sources on the web.  It is scary every time I have seen rescue rabbits with symptoms. 
Now my own lop bunny (pictured right) had stopped eating, was not producing any fecal pellets, lethargic, hunched up in pain, his stomach gurgling loudly, and an abdomen somewhat hard instead of soft and doughy. This had come on quickly. He was in real trouble. I got out my bunny first aid kit and drawing on what I had learned over the years his symptoms diminished. He slowly got better over the three day weekend and made good progress over a week. It took another week for his fecal pellets to become normal.  I racked my brain for a cause.  At the onset of symptoms I did not take the bunny to the vet. I did not have that option over the long holiday weekend. I recommend everyone get their rabbit to a vet immediately if possible.
I don’t know why this rabbit developed GI Stasis. I realized even though his diet is very good, he had lost a bonded partner three months before.  Plus, I had moved his rabbit pen into a less drafty part of the room for the winter just a couple of weeks before.  An attempt to introduce him to another rabbit wasn’t working out yet. All of these things are stressful for a rabbit.  In the past 2 weeks he seems to be bonding more with me.  He nudges me for pets much more often during the evenings when he has free run of the house and he sticks very close now.  As far as I am concerned, he can have all the pets he wants and I'm grateful his litter box runneth over this Thanksgiving.
Don't wait to take your bunny to a vet - GI Stasis is a killer.  Go to this Link for a list of vets. If a vet isn't available, try a veterinary emergency clinic.  For good information on the web:

Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer - by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.  required reading for anyone with a rabbit as far as I am concerned.
GI stasis in rabbits - Excellent article in Hopping Mad Magazine online from the UK
Huh, Rabbits Can Get Gas?!  Go to page 12 of this booklet by the Columbus House Rabbit Society

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dozens of White Rabbits Abandoned in Colorado

Over 60 white rabbits were dumped by someone on a roadside in Colorado Springs, CO. (Pictured screen clip of rabbits on right). KKTV 11 News went out to the site to report and is offering information on caring for rabbits and how to adopt them their website. They also had a guest on air the next morning to discuss rabbit care if someone rescued one of the bunnies.  The rabbits were rescued in the middle of the night by many good samaritans who came out to help. It was dark, cold and people showed up and helped gather up the rabbits on a rocky hillside.
KKTV 11 News reported they "contacted the local humane society to notify them about the situation, but they said they couldn't send someone out to get the rabbits until Monday." The TV station is investigating who dumped the beautifully classic white domesticated rabbits.
The State of Colorado: Animal Protection Act 8-9-202 Cruelty to Animals includes abandonment for this type of crime. It certainly is a crime. These rabbits would not have lasted the night. The area is known for its coyotes, bears, birds of prey and foxes.   See several videos on the story at this Link.  All of the kind people who went out to save those rabbits deserve a big thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hero Bunny Saves Girl's Life

Tonight it was reported in the Central Coast News that a bunny alerted a girl's mother to a potentially life threatening medical emergency. Not once, but twice. The Hudgens family is fostering, Hammie, who is a 7 month old rabbit.  Hammie started thumping at 2:00 am one morning and Aundrea Hudgens went to her daughter's room to see what all the commotion was about. The girl, Emily, has type one diabetes and her blood sugar had fallen dangerously low.  According to the article, normally Emily wakes up when this occurs.  The other interesting part of the story was that Hammie did not stop thumping until Hudgens was able to treat her daughter.  Only then did the bunny calm down. Hammie also sensed it another time two weeks later and again alerted Emily's mother. Hammie definitely knows when Emily is in distress and this behavior has been seen in other companion animals including other rabbits. If I were the Hudgens, I'd adopt Hammie the Hero Bunny. See video and full story about Hammie at this Link

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rabbit Hopping Growing in Popularity in Europe

A rabbit clears a hurdle during the first European Kanin Hop Championships in Switzerland on Sunday. Some 55 rabbits from different countries took part in the steeplechase. See a great photo collection and video at this Link  (Photo credit: EPA)

Bunny Beauty Pagent Winner in UK

A photogenic rabbit from Birmingham, UK was selected as Britain’s Cutest Bunny and will appear on the packaging for a rabbit feed. The winner, Binky, is a 4 month old lop. Britain’s Cutest Bunny attracted a bevy of bunnies - 812 entrants, with over 10,000 people interacting with a special Facebook application produced by Supreme, a rabbit food company. I have no doubt all 812 entrants were just as cute as Binky. My local feed store where I buy my bales of hay may not sponsor beauty pagents, but I'm sure a cute bunny contest would get just as much attention in the US.  All rabbits deserve a winner's ribbon. Photo Credit: Supreme Petfoods  (Hopperhome is reporting the story and has no affiliation with Supreme.)
  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Victoria Secret Model Visits Pumpkin Patch Bunnies

Victoria Secret Model Alessandra Ambrosio and her daughter were featured in several photos in a Daily Mail online article enjoying the rabbits at a Santa Monica; pumpkin patch. Mom has a good grip on the bunny, but the other rabbit looked less than thrilled with 3 year old's cuddling. Certainly young children are drawn to hold soft, furry rabbits, but it isn't safe. Rabbits have sharp teeth, strong legs made to kick and most don't tolerate sudden movements or being picked up especially repeatedly.  For the rabbit, it would only take being dropped once to fracture their fragile backbone.  A family visit to a pumpkin patch with a bunny petting area might mean patching up the kid, a rabbit or both. (Photo credit: Flynetpictures.com) 

By the way, there is a good article on Children & Rabbits at the House Rabbit Society website. For a yearly holiday visit with rabbits considering having an adult hold the rabbit securely so the child can gently pet it or simply get down on the ground at "rabbit level" to interact. Let your child know that poking, chasing or being too noisey scares rabbits.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

30-Second Bunnies Theatre Scares Up Fun

Jennifer Shiman, creator of the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre, wishes everyone a Happy Bun-O-Ween with a new short film. The bunnies' version of Mike Dougherty's excellent horror film, "Trick 'r Treat" is online at Fearnet. The bunnies' version joins a number of shorts celebrating the film. If you aren't familiar with the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre, take a look at the their link at the top of this post.  About once a month Jennifer's troupe of bunnies parodies a movie by re-enacting it in 30 seconds (more or less).  There are several bunny 30 second reenactments featuring scary movies.  You could have a Halloween Film Bunfest! 

Matisse Drew Rabbits into Fine Art

Most of us associate fine art and rabbits with the wonderful, realistic painting, "A Young Hare," by Albrecht Durer,  However, it seems Henry Matisse also appreciated rabbits as illustrated by an original lithograph published in 1950 as part of a limited edition book of poetry called, "Poèmes de Charles d'Orléans."  The poetry of the 15th century writer must have inspired Matisse. He illustrated the book with carefree, light drawings using children's crayons. The drawing featuring bunnies is called, "A Family of Rabbits." As one art curator said, "it shows how the artist could produce such a playful, delightful image that so clearly shows his love of the natural world."  You can see the Matisse lithographs at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool England now until April 15, 2012. Even though I won't make to the UK to see the drawing in person, I can see Matisse enjoyed the fanciful grace of rabbits.  I'm pretty sure that's a "binky" hop on the right side of the drawing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

UK Study Shows Obesity Epidemic in Rabbits

The results of a national pet health report in the UK conducted by a large veterinary charity, PDSA, show pets in the United Kingdom are in the middle of an obesity epidemic. When compared to cats and dogs, rabbits have the least amount of junk foods (26%) in their diets. However, this equates to over 430,000 bunnies consuming a diet "that includes toast, biscuits, cake, cheese and crisps."  Yikes! This is a long way from a healthy diet of primarily timothy hay, vegetable greens and a small amount of pellets.  These thousands of rabbits are at risk of developing obesity related and certainly life-threatening disease if their diets don’t improve. The data from the report came from 11,000 pet owners in the United Kingdom.
Rabbits are prone to digestive issues and many of the treats meant for humans can cause a blockage resulting in GI Stasis. That is just the short-term issue. In the long run obesity can cause sore hocks, arthritis, overdeveloped dewlaps in females, soft stools, etc.  And, the list could go on. Overweight rabbits are also unable to properly clean themselves or reach to consume their cecotrophs.  Plus, it is a quality of life issue for bunnies too tired to have normal activity levels.  This type of study has never been done in the USA as far as I know for rabbits.  Based on the number of emails I have recieved over the years asking if Cheerios, pasta or potato chips are safe treats, I wonder how the USA would compare if the same study were conducted here.   
 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7 Tips to Keep Halloween less Scary for Your Rabbit

Have a Hoppy Halloween this year! Please remember rabbits are sensitive creatures and may find this holiday a little creepy.  Here are some tips to keep everyone safe:

1. Noise Rabbits can get spooked by strange noises anytime of the year. Just look at those ears. They can hear what is going on outside the house. Halloween night the door bell may ring more than usual and visiting goblins may have lots of sound effects. Keep your rabbit away from the front door and in a quiet area.

2. Costumes (for people) Did you know your rabbit sees your shape first and recognizes your familiar scent and voice. So if you are wearing anything that changes your basic shape, or scent and you put on an accent from Dracula's hometown, your rabbit may not even recognize you. Speak to your rabbit normally and don your costume after you have settled the rabbit in for the night.

3. Candy It's not great for humans and sugary treats especially chocolate should be kept away from rabbits during and after Halloween night. Give your bunny a bit of apple for a Halloween treat

4. Decorations Don't let your rabbit near stringy  fake cobwebs and other filmy decorations . They maybe tempted to chew on them and they can cause serious digestive problems.

5. Candles Burning candles in jack-o-lanterns can be dangerous especially if a rabbit is hopping around in the house. Rabbits are as curious as cats and may investigate. They can knock them over creating a fire hazard.

6. Going to a Party If you go out for Halloween night, make sure your rabbit is safe and secure especially if it isn't an indoor house rabbit. If you aren't home to give out treats at the front door, someone might decide to "trick" you.  A rabbit could be spooked by strangers or a target for a "trick." if kept outside. 

7. Pet Costumes Not recommended, but I am guilty of placing a hat over those long ears. However, they were not attached to the rabbit. If you want to dress up your rabbit, don't use rubber bands, ties or elastic that can constrict breathing or movement. Some rabbits will try to remove the costume and can become entangled. Bunnies can also become stressed or too warm especially if the costume is tight. After all, they are already wearing a fur coat. Take a picture and then get the bunny out of costume.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Things Come in Threes

The rabbits pictured on the left are going to be adopted after being abandoned to fend for themselves. Three beautiful Holland lops were found in the bushes at marina in Point Roberts (a small community in the far northwest corner of Washington State). According to the All Point Bulletin newspaper, there were attempts to capture them. Fortunately, they were being fed until the marina staff caught the first bunny. Then a family (son in photo) captured bunny number two, and the third was rounded up by another kind resident of Point Roberts.  The rabbits have been in foster care since then. There is a hoppy ending since their fosterer has agreed to adopt all three to keep the trio together. (Photo credit: All Point Bulletin)

Fluffy Bunny Tea Party Card Game

In searching for rabbit related items on the web, I found this game on Kickstarter - a site for funding all kinds of creative projects (not fundraising).  What a great idea.  But what I liked most were the sweet illustrations recalling the Beatrice Potter Peter Rabbit series (pictured on left).  The video promoting the game includes a photo of a real grumpy bunny.  Nice touch. The creator must have found his inspiration somewhere with a real rabbit.  Even though Kickstarter isn't for fundraising, the ideas are inspirational for someone who might want to pursue a creative project through another avenue.  This Fluffy Bunny Tea Party Card Game received almost $1,000 more than the $4,400 goal for the project. Somebody out there is interested in rabbits or card games or maybe both.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The True Cost of a Rabbit as a Companion (PS: They are worth every cent.)

In September Kiplinger Personal Finance published a slide show on the "The Cost of Owning 5 Popular Small Household Pets." The first pet featured was a "miniature lop" rabbit more commonly known as a "mini-lop," Their totals came out to: First-year cost: $1,040 Annual cost: $660 Total lifetime cost (avg. lifespan: 10-12 years): $6,980 - $8,300

Neuter/Spaying: Their neuter/spay estimate was around $160. I have seen this cost climb for both neuter and spays the last couple of years since laser surgery is becoming more popular and it is more expensive. I was glad to see they recommended getting rabbits in for an annual check-up, which they estimated at $70.  If the rabbit lives to be 10 years old, an "exotic" pet vet can get a little pricey for specialized care in those senior years.
Cage/Litter Box: They estimated a cage  and litter box at $125.  An X-pen (also known as a "puppy pen") runs around $70 and there are countless other options and some very nice bunny habitats available for a little more than a standard wire cage.
Toys: I thought the toys estimate  of $40 was high since the cardboard core of a paper towel roll is sometimes more fun than anything else.
Grooming: Grooming tools at $20 seemed a little low since my sissors ran that much alone since they are stainless and curved for safety.
Feed: They also noted diet is an important component in keeping medical costs down. They further estimated the average annual cost for rabbit food of $190.  It seems a little low without vegetables from a garden.  However, I disagreed that "high-fiber pellets are critical grinding teeth down."  Hay does the job right.  Fiber pelleted food literally disintegrates in a rabbit's mouth with one or two crunches.  
Litter & Bedding: I thought the annual expense for "litter and bedding" was high at $400.  I have never, ever purchased nor used "bedding" for my rabbits.  A nice bale of timothy hay from a feed store every couple of months at $20 works just fine for bedding, litter and, of course, 80% of a rabbit's diet.

Overall, I thought the rabbit expense estimates were close to actual costs and even a little low. Rabbits are neither low mainenance nor inexpensive companions. Yet there was something missing. The article didn't have the space to calculate the value of watching rabbits joyfully hop around the house, seeing their sweet faces lowered for a pet, or the privilege of knowing a small prey animal can learn to trust you and even your cat.  Priceless.
Read original article

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Parody of Kid's Cereals, Right for Rabbits, Too!

Artist Ron English created a series of parody cereal boxes that were covertly placed on shelves at a Ralph’s grocery store in Venice, CA. One of them is a well known cereal with a rabbit character.  The one pictured on the far left might be targeted at kids, but those of us feeding our rabbits should beware, too.  It says "Obese Bunny Trix the Kids" and "Healthy Rabbits Don't Eat Trix."  The latter is absolutely true because healthy rabbits should never be fed cereals intended for humans. Cereals aren't healthy for rabbits and it doesn't matter what brand or type.  Most are high in sugar which upsets the balance of good bacteria in a rabbit's cecum and serious digestive problems will ensue aside from the weight gain. A small bit of carrot or apple is a much better treat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Hare"larious Rabbit Fashion

Okay, here's something for rabbit fanatics who want to take it too far - a unisex "rabbit onsie" for adults.  Yep, that's right - complete with a tail. These are not your bulky Easter Rabbit suits - they look comfortable. The onsies are available on Blamo Toys in other colors including Energizer Bunny pink.  Plus, they offer a rabbit hoodie, too.  Both run around $150 so I won't be hopping around in one of these outfits soon. However, Halloween is just around the corner and it is more impressive than my clip on rabbit ears. They look more practical for lounging around on grey days with the real rabbits. On second thought, it might scare the rabbits. (Hopperhome is in no way affiliated with Blamo Toys.) Photo credit: Blamo website 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sega Promotes Game Revival with Mystery Rabbit

White rabbit looks sweet for 56 seconds while Sega promotes a sweepstakes to Name that Game since they plan to revive one of their classic games.  I'm not a gamer, but I am a rabbit fanatic.  All I took away from this was that the little bunny was adorable. Keep the sound off and enjoy the rabbit, or better yet go see the video by AlabamaEars: A Bunny's Guide to Exercise

New York City Rabbit Care Conference

If you live in New York City (or close) - attend the Rabbit Care Conference on Sunday, October 23rd, with a presentation given by Dr. Susan Brown and Mary Cotter on the Behavior Connection. More Info at this Link

No Close Call for Bunny When Fatal Attraction Stars Reunite

)Michael Douglas and Glenn Close reunited recently to reminisce about the 1987 movie, Fatal Attraction, and pose with a very safe bunny. I never watched the horrifying rabbit scene in the movie and I often wondered how Glenn Close, a well known animal lover could film it.  The article states she "confessed the movie's most memorable moment made her think long and hard about whether she should star in the film. She explained in the Entertainment Weekly reunions special: 'The bunny was the one thing I had a question about. 'I took the script to a psychiatrist and said, 'is this behaviour possible? Could somebody do something like that?' The answer was yes." Yikes! - but 24 years later I like this image much better than the movie.  (Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On the Wild Side: Pygmy Rabbits vs Cattle

According to the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Washington State, a rabbit is embroiled in a "range war" of sorts.  Pygmy Rabbits, (pictured on the right) are at the center of a lawsuit filed by an environmental group over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision that these tiny native rabbits do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. "The Western Watersheds Project, based in Hailey, Idaho, said the rabbits were first identified as possibly in need of protection in 2003, and their numbers have diminished since. They contend the rabbits are suffering from loss of habitat caused in large part by livestock grazing." 
It's easy to see why they need protection.  The rabbits weigh in at about one pound. Every predator in their natural habitat will take them as a snack. Their lifespan is short (3 years) like any wild rabbit subject to predation. The rabbit's own food source (99% sagebrush) is being replaced with an "agriculture lawn" of grass forage for those large, docile, non-native ruminants - cattle.  Pgymy Rabbits are not prolific breeders like most rabbits and offspring mortality is as high as 50% up to 5 weeks old. Their populations do not recover well from habitat destruction. Finally, it is well established that a loss of any species always has ecological ramifications. I think it is tragic the Pgymy rabbit could disappear forever because their home range is being trampled by some mild mannered bovines who will only end up as steakhouse dinners themselves. (Photo credit: AP)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Singapore Philatelic Museum Celebrates Rabbits

Through the end of this year, 2011, the Singapore Philatelic Museum is hosting an interactive exhibit called "Bunny Wonderland" for children to celebrate the year of the rabbit not only in the colorful the world of postage stamps, but also to meet some famous bunnies who are favorites from around the world.   Kids will be able to discover interesting facts about the nature of rabbits, their behavior and anatomy. (By the way, Singapore is fortunate to have a very active House Rabbit Society Chapter, too.)
It would be a long trip to Singapore from the USA to see the museum. Besides, I am more of a collector of bunnies needing rescue. Yet I did find time to collect a few Year of the Rabbit stamps to display on Hopperhome (more at this Link).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Feral Rabbit Control at Long Beach City College Hops to it!

According to the LA Times, two years ago Long Beach City College had a population of 300 abandoned pet rabbits. They faced attacks by territorial rabbits and became prey for a variety of predators.  But an instructor, Donna Prindle, chose to help and  leads the humane effort with a Rabbit Population Control Task Force, formed in 2009. The rabbits are not exterminated, but instead are rounded up, neutered/spayed and made available for adoption. An impressive 236 rabbits have found new homes.  "I walked by them for 30 years and I was ignorant of what was going on," Prindle said. "I couldn't sit by and not do anything."  The plan is working with only six new bunnies  found since August.  
The success of the program is also attributed to continual education efforts. Strategically placed signs warn would be rabbit dumpers that "no bunny wants to be a college drop-off." Plus, it is accompanied by a  warning that abandoning a rabbit carries a $500 fine or six months in jail. So far, no one has been caught according to officials. Sometimes it only takes one person like Donna who is willing to take action and motiviate others to join in to help animals. (Donna Prindle pictured above with an abandoned bunny - Photo Credit: Luis Sinco, LA Times)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Motorcycle Riding Lagomorph Sculpture

This past summer the University of Maine hosted an exhibition called "Critters."  The exhibit included a standout entry of a motorcycle riding rabbit called, "Duster" by sculpture Andy Rosen:

A Silver Lining: Bunny Breaks Leg, Becomes Shop’s Mascot

In Gatlinburg, TN a small Dutch Rabbit enjoys three days of attention, not at home, but at Arrowcraft, the Shops of the Southern Highland Art Guild. Silver, a 5 1/2-year-old house bunny belongs to Laurel Kiewitt, a full-time employee at the store who has three free roaming house rabbits and a cat. About a year ago, Kiewitt came home to find that Silver had somehow injured himself, breaking his back left leg. After a trip to the vet Silver wore a cast for a few weeks, but it didn't heal correctly and the next option was amputation at the knee.  Both Laurel and her co-workers were awaiting the outcome of the surgery. Laurel had brought Silver with her to work every day to make sure that he didn’t injure himself further, chew his sutures and to administer the medication he was prescribed. Silver made it through surgery just fine and still enjoys all the attention at the store.  At Arrowcraft, Silver is “king of the throne here, and he knows it,” said  one of the bunny’s best fans. “A day without Silver is a day without sunshine.” Article (Photo: Mountain Press)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rabbit Fur Poster Illustrates Cruelty

Emma Napier in the UK designed this poster as her Postive Poster 2011 entry.  Here's what she said about it:
"At first glance, you may think this poster is advertising a designer coat but if you look closer, it is made out of hand illustrated bunny rabbits. The underlying approach was to have the audience look deeper and realise that the coat is made up of bunnies, the same way a fur coat is. The style is rather elegant until you realise it is quite horrific and graphic just like the hidden methods which are used to make a fur coat." 


Flood Float Trip Ends Well for Three Rabbits

"We got three rabbits that were floating down the river," according to Marge Bart of Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge.  These were the bunnies who were almost victims of the devastating floods in northeastern Pennsylvania recently. The no-kill animal refuge in Dallas, PA was started by Marge Bart who started rescuing animals more than 10 years ago at her home.  See the video that shows the rescued animals including those flood rafting rabbits at this Link. (Pictured: one of the former floating rabbits)

Rabbits Left Behind when Woman Moved

According to newspapers in Scotland, a young mother recently "abandoned two pet rabbits in filthy conditions without food and water when she moved." Fortunately, someone informed the Scottish SPCA who found two "thin rabbits in a cage unprotected from the weather."  This is a problem everywhere especially now that people are experiencing foreclosures and tough times in a long recession.  Animals of all kinds are left abandoned locked in homes, or cages and even dogs are being found tied up in a backyard without any protection from the elements after their families move away. 

Mother in court for abandoning pet rabbits when she moved homeThe young woman who ended up in court in Scotland was described as "still young with an 18-month-old daughter with brain damage and, also a five-week-old son."  The rabbits had been bought by a former partner and he was gone. In this case, the judge imposed a disqualification order  so the woman does not own or keep animals for five years as punishment. To me, punishment is an "after the fact" deterent, but certainly appropriate. The bigger issue is making it ethically (if not morally) unacceptable in all societies/cultures for people to turn their backs on the responsibility to behave humanely toward animals in their care.  It's going to continue to take education, teaching by example, effective ordinances/punishments and providing lot more resources. Not an easy task. Plus, it is disheartening to read the frequent stories of animal abandonment.  Yet, looking at that rabbit's face (above) make it all the more reason to persevere.