Friday, July 29, 2011

Cute, Fluffy Missouri Flood Survivors Ready for New Homes

When acres and acres of farmland in southeastern Missouri was flooded in May, 26 rabbits almost became victims, but they were saved from a levee that was about to break. The Riverfront Times article interviewed volunteers from the House Rabbit Society for the article about the rabbits (and many other animals) saved from the devastation.  The bunnies are now ready (spayed and neutered, too) and up for adoption.  They are at the Humane Society of Missouri, 1201 E. Macklind, this Sunday.  Contact the House Rabbit Society of Missouri, St. Louis Chapter for more info and see a video of some of the bunnies at this Link. Photo Credit: Adorable survivors Pringle, Pretzel and Poptart:  Ready for Good Homes.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heat Has Wildlife Rehabilitators Hopping in Georgia

Many of the rabbits brought to Critters of the Woods are severely malnourished and the hot weather isn't helping.  Animals brought to rehabilitators may have mothers who are severely dehydrated and unable to produce milk.  The good news is they are doing well with care in rehabilitation.  Article has a video and lots of photos of baby cottontails you can see at this Link!  Photo: Critters of the Woods - Rhonda Woods

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gosling Imprints on Rabbits

Several media outlets picked up the story from British Columbia about Andre, a Canadian Goose who needed to taught he was a goose. His interspecies confusion began when he was rescued as a young gosling and spent his time in the company of some domesticated rabbits.  He had been taken to the World Parrot Refuge where they realized he would not be accepted by colorful residents.  He went to live at a rabbit sanctuary where he ate and slept with rabbits. Although, he did have some pool time and then plenty of rehabilitation with other geese. "He's definitely goose-like now," according to the Wild ARC manager. There have been several stories about rabbits and other animals bonding this week. In this case, the rabbits already had plenty of bunny company, but allowed the goose to be part of their "herd." (Photo credit: Andre as a gosling - Susan Vickery)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rescued Fawn and Rabbit Bond

Real-life Bambi and Thumper story at Holbrook Animal Rescue facility - Great Video:

"One of our rescue rabbits seemed to know that something was wrong and immediately snuggled up to the deer. The rabbit started to wash and comfort the fawn, and the fawn responded. This is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened here. In fact, there have been a number of times where different species have bonded."

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Christmas Bunny Movie

It might be July and a few months until Christmas, but Hopperhome is very pleased to have been asked to contribute to The Christmas Bunny movie website for information on rabbit care  The House Rabbit Society contributed a lot of information for the movie and it all helps educate people on proper care of rabbits!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's Fair About It?

With sweltering triple digit temperatures sitting over a large portion of the United States and fair season just gearing up, rabbits (and other animals) are subject to temperatures that can kill them.  I have been keeping up on fair events in several states during this record heat wave. Some fairs have cancelled rabbit related events, some have moved the rabbits into air conditioned buildings and too many are just hoping for the best. 
Heat can kill.  It's that simple. My vet has told me time and time again that rabbits out of all animals in the home or certainly outdoors are the most susceptible to heat stroke. After all, they are wearing a thick fur coat. Symptoms can include panting rapidly (open mouth breathing), weakness/lethargy;  laying flat out with tail down and reluctance to move, lack of interest in food, drooling/wet around mouth, convulsions, coma and ultimately death. Temperatures of 85 degrees F and above can be dangerous.  A lot of the country is well above this right now.  Rabbits regulate their body temperature with those big ears full of large veins.  (By the way, this is tougher for the lop breeds due to the down position of the ears next to the body.)  Misting ears with water can help because it cools the blood  that circulates throughout the body. A large cool ceramic tile on the cage floor (in shade) may help. A warm rabbit will lounge on it to keep his cool.  A "cold buddy" consisting of a frozen water filled bottle (plastic) and covered with a wetted down cotton sock is cool comfort, too. 
Fairs are already stressful for rabbits with all the new smells, sounds and strange rabbits in the cage next door. But most all all, if the facilities at the fair are not air conditioned and the temperatures are well over 85 degrees, maybe it's time to consider leaving the bunny at home. If the fair officials do not have enough common sense when it comes to heat stressed animals, then individuals need to make the right decisions about the safety of their animals. There is always next year.
One more thing - where are the resting boards for rabbits at fairs.  Last year the local fair near me said  that resting boards were "too messy" and the bunnies could "deal with the wire floors for two days" during their events.  I hardly think this is fair. (Photo: Three very handsome brothers in a cooler year at a fair.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Reasons to Bring Bunnies Inside

About three days ago I began receiving emails from people impacted by the record setting heat wave wondering how to help their heat sensitive rabbits housed outdoors. The first thing I suggest is to bring the bunnies indoors where the rest of the family is enjoying air conditioning and ceiling fans. I also offer more suggestions (if this isn’t possible) and explain the signs of heat stress. Overall, it was a bad week for rabbits housed outside. There was a news story about a woman in Rigby, Idaho who lost 9 rabbits to a mountain lion. From the video on the local news channel it shows the wire cages were stacked against the side of an outbuilding and not predator proof. One comment said, the “rabbits were nothing more than bait.”  The  the breeder had stacked the wire cages three high just a few inches off the ground. Then further south in San Diego a rabbit breeder was surprised when a big evergreen tree fell on her property and smashed cages trapping rabbits under the tree. Fortunately, those rabbits survived. I did hear back from a woman who wasn’t sure how to help her bunnies stay cool in the hot weather in Texas this week. She had kept rabbits in hutches since she was a child in her native England. She brought her rabbits inside for relief from the hot weather and set them up in an air-conditioned family room. The good news is they are now permanent house rabbits and she’s calling her home “Bunningham Palace.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rabbits & Cats Bond Despite the Smell of Danger

Recent studies about the mechanics of instinctive predator avoidance by prey animals shows how remarkable it is that domesticated rabbits will bond with house cats. Rabbits like other small prey mammals use their powerful sense of smell to detect and evade predators, including species they have never met before. Within the last couple of months what happens at a molecular level in rabbit olfactory receptors to trigger predator aversion (particularly to urine) has been reported in scientific journals. Rabbits like rodents have a capacity for recognizing interspecies odors and their danger-associated behavioral response is hardwired.

Gardeners have known for years predator urine (like bobcats) will keep rabbits from noshing on their nasturtiums. It turns out cats have the highest concentrations of the chemical which repels prey animals and lions have the highest concentration of all animals. This summer gardeners in Syracuse, NY have noticed a marked decline in the number of rabbits grazing their flowers when they spread lion dung (provided by a nearby zoo) on the soil. The smaller domesticated version of big cats, i.e., the domesticated house cat, also produces the chemicals. (Another good reason to keep a cat litter box located well away from house rabbits aside from the fact rabbits should never ingest the clay litter.) Here at home the rabbits play with the cats, lounge with them in evenings and make every effort to get the cats to groom them by “flat heading” under their feline chins. This behavior hardly screams fear. Even the gardeners in Syracuse have noticed wild rabbits are getting over their aversion to lion odors without the actual lions stalking and pouncing on them. There haven’t been any “pouncing incidents” with my sister and my cats and rabbits despite their proximity. In fact, if the cats wanted to groom them, not one of the rabbits would turn up their nose. For more information on bonding rabbits and cats see Amy Shapiro’s article at this Link. (Photo: my cat Pele grooms Mr. Hops)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Whirlwind Recovery for Rabbit After Tornado

On the Monson Tornado Watch 2011 Facebook Page, Jo Buswell Sauriol wrote: "Pretty Girl, the rabbit we have been fostering, who took a bumpy ride 500 feet thru the air during the tornado. Is back at home with her family. So glad we could help you out."  This is a June tornado that tore down Monson's Main Street, destroying businesses, knocking down trees, leveling some structures, breaking windows, even ripping the steeple off the church. Pretty Girl is one lucky rabbit. Disasters affect both people and pets and this community is pulling together to help both.  The good news is the bunny is doing well despite the trauma of taking a high flying  ride courtesy of a tornado and home where she belongs. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Rabbit & his Sword

Tomorrow (July 9th) the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA is celebrating The Year of the Rabbit by hosting Stan Sakai creator of  “Usagi Yojimbo” with a day of comics, anime, and stories for the whole family.  Usagi Yojimbo (Literally meaning "Rabbit Bodyguard,") is a popular comic book series created by Sakai. Over 25 years ago, a rabbit in samurai costume sought shelter from a snowstorm announced, "I am called Miyamoto Usagi." It was the beginning of a comic book series with a blend of American and Japanese elements (Sakai grew up in Hawaii) winning the National Cartoonists' Society Award and the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award as well.  According to interviews I found online with Sakai, his rabbit comic book character is based on a real samurai named Miyamoto Musashi.  One day Sakai drew a rabbit with his ears tied in a “chonmage” or traditional samurai topknot and he loved the design so much he renamed him Miyamoto Usagi. (Usagi means rabbit in Japanese.)  Stan Sakai may not have had rabbits as a child, but told an interviewer that “rabbits play an important part in Japanese folklore. In the West we have the man in the moon, but in Japan the legend is that there is a rabbit -- or rather, a hare -- in the moon. Rabbits are also a part of Japanese folktales and are usually the good guy. It was just natural for Usagi to be a white rabbit.” (Photo: Stan Sakai

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bunny Cart Business Hopping

Yesterday I received an email from Laurie Miller of Dogs to Go thanking me for the link to their family owned cart business because they have made over 200 carts for rabbits. 
She wrote, “I cannot tell you how many bunnies we have helped with wheels now because they saw our information on Hopperhome!” (Disabled Rabbits). She went on to say both she and her husband, Larry, (chief designer) never imagined building a cart for a rabbit, but after their very first rabbit, Ethel, their bunny cart business “went crazy.”  So far they have made over 200 rabbit carts for bunnies all over the world especially in the UK.  I think this is great since carts can provide rabbits who have hind leg paralysis with a better quality of life and most likely more time to enjoy their lives. What I like about Dogs to Go is that the owners started the business because of their Dachshund dog, Penny, who needed a cart after a ruptured disc. No doubt they are animal lovers. They have kept their prices quite reasonable and rabbits adapt well to the unique design. (By the way, Hopperhome does not accept advertising and any recommendations are bunny approved.)

Canmore's Feral Rabbit Issue Multiplied Over Past 4 Years

Back in 2007 I was wrote a blog entry about the feral domesticated rabbit issue in Canmore (Canada):

March 2007 - Update on Canmore Rabbits - The question of what should be done with the Town of Canmore's feral rabbits was being asked of the community through a survey with a deadline of March 31st. According to the Rocky Mountain Outlook, media across North America seem far more interested in the problem than the town’s folk. The town representative said, “We’re not getting a bevy of surveys, we don’t even have a dozen.” There are a reported 1,000 rabbits in a town of 11,500 people. The rabbits are descendants of pet rabbits abandoned in the 1980’s.Since then, the rabbits have multiplied to approximately 2,000 over four and a half years later.

Now the Mayor of Canmore says: "This is a question of practicality. It is always very easy to come up with schemes and ideas for solving an issue for which you have no accountability. If the individuals who are speaking and writing are strongly in favour of spaying and neutering and sending to a facility rabbits from Canmore, they should step up to the responsibility of paying for this solution."

What? Over the last four years with no plan in place, the City of Canmore has effectively allowed the feral rabbit problem to grow. It is certainly going to be twice as expensive to "solve" the issue in 2011 than back in 2007 or earlier. The people with Save Canmore's Bunnies did not abandon the rabbits, or sell unaltered rabbits, or contribute to the multiplying problem and, in fact, they have spent countless hours trying to create a nonlethal solution. They do not have "accountability," but they have been working to save the rabbits anyway. It's ironic the City of Canmore didn't procrastinate at all when it came to diverting the responsibility for expenses to a few people with compassion for animals.

Homeless Man who Rescued His Rabbit Offered Job

The courageous homeless man in Ireland, John Bryne, who hopped off a bridge to save his pet bunny, Barney, is a local hero for his compassion toward animals. Over 200 people watched as John saved his pet from a watery death. He told the newspaper he would do it again. The other good news out of this story is that John has been offered a full-time job caring for animals. He is grateful for the opportunity. According to the the Herald newspaper, "I got some cheers when I rescued Barney and loads of people have been coming up to meet me and my pets. These animals mean everything to me." (John, his rabbit, Barney and dog, Lilly with an admirer are pictured above - photo credit: Kyran O'Brien

The man who threw the rabbit off the bridge has been arrested for animal cruelty.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

House Rabbits Revisited Video with Amy Sedaris

Great informative video from House Rabbit Society starring beautiful rabbits and a special human who loves them - Amy Sedaris:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit - A British Tradition

"Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," - it's a British superstition. The idea is that upon waking on the first day a new month, you will receive good luck for the remainder of the month. They have to be the first words you utter in the morning. The tradition is also somewhat common in some parts of Massachusetts and Vermont.  There are also plenty of variations on it, like saying "white rabbit" when you wake up and "black rabbit" before you go to bed. I feel lucky enough living with my rabbits and muttering "coffee" first thing in the morning so I'll probably skip it.  However, I did take an opportunity first thing today to visit Rabbit Rehome online in the UK.  I found this photo of six year old Honey who is available for adoption in Essex. According to her description, this sweet lop rabbit was left behind when her human split with her boyfriend and he did not know how to care for her. Honey is looking for a loving home with an older male rabbit.  Let's hope Honey is lucky herself and finds her forever home soon.