Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bouncing Bunnies are Good Sports

Update: A Swedish bunny jumped to victory at the first rabbit Grand National were dashed as a Swedish bunny jumped to victory. The winning rabbit was Cheri from Sweden and the highest-placed British entrant was Phoenix from Surrey.

British rabbits competed with rabbits from Sweden over the weekend at the UK's first Rabbit Grand National held in Harrogate. No winners announced yet online. But all of these rabbits are winners. Afterall, some of the bunnies had to jet all the way to England from Sweden, stay in new environments and then all the rabbits competed with strangers in front of a noisey crowd.
Last evening my stocky, little 6 year old Holland Lop jumped 3 ft. on to a favorite cat sleeping spot to see his feline friend for a few minutes. The leap didn't even faze the bunny. (The cat was startled.) Anyway, I won't be starting him in training for rabbit hopping events, but I am sure he could do it. Rabbits of all sizes and shapes and breeds including any mixed breed could be trained to do this sport. They are all naturals at hopping - no fancy show pedigree required.
Here are two videos already on Youtube from the competition in the UK. There is no doubt that a rabbit has a mind of it's own when it comes to hopping on command. The video in this link is almost 10 minutes long and uncut. I liked it better than the one below because even the most comical and frustrating moments were shown like little Smudge who was not interested in jumping at all. The second video below is produced by one of the sponsors of the event.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Wild Side: "Year of the Threatened Rabbit"

The BBC Earth News has a beautiful and informative slide show online of wild rabbits whose populations are threatened or facing extinction. Nearly 1 in 4 rabbits, hares and pikas are under threat despite the fact that they are prolific breeders. Click on this link to view slide show (Photo: BBC - Riverine Rabbit facing extinction in South Africa)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Eyeing Treatments for Corneal Ulcers

Animal Health Supplier News published an article today with the headline, “Virbac Animal Health has announced the launch of a new corneal ulcer treatment for domestic canines and felines.” Domesticated rabbits are also prone to this condition since their corneas (the transparent front of the eye) cover about 30% of their eyes. The ulcers can be caused by something as simple as bedding or straw dust in the eye, fighting or excessive rubbing of the eye. (For more in depth information on causes go to this article.) It is a painful condition for any animal. Rabbits may stop eating due to the pain causing more serious medical issues.
The article never states the new drops are “safe” for rabbits specifically, yet the drops were tested on rabbits. Heidi Lobprise, senior technical manager at Virbac Animal Health, said: "Remend Corneal Repair Drops were proven to heal corneal ulcers within 48 hours in a rabbit study and have been safely and effectively used in cats and dogs in clinical practice." I don’t support testing on rabbits. Nonetheless, these drops were tested on domesticated rabbits and it would make sense the recommendations would include rabbits. If a medication can heal a corneal ulcer within two days, it would reduce further pain, and more serious complications. I would want my veterinarian to know.

GOOD NEWS ON DOT SKIN TESTING:
According to PETA, the US Dept. of Transportation has approved the use of the non-animal Corrositex® tests to replace the use of rabbits in painful skin corrosion tests. (The DOT requires companies to test chemicals for corrosivity before they are transported.) The agency acknowledged that Corrositex® results are more precise than the results of the rabbit test! The new ruling is very good news for bunnies!

Bunny Craigslist Scheme Bombs - 50 Rabbits Confiscated

Fifty rabbits with more on the way - little Lionheads and other dwarf rabbits were confiscated by the Sacramento SPCA after a tip came in on rabbits living in fifthy conditions. Some of the rabbits are already up for adoption and the SPCA is neutering or spaying all of them first before adopting them out. It was a craigslist scheme that soon got out of hand. Watch Fox40 video:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TV Host Disappoints with "Hare"Brained Stunt

It was disappointing this evening to see a small rabbit used in conjunction with implied violence as a publicity stunt on TV. Earlier today I heard Glenn Beck's TV show had something to do with a bunny. So I tuned into his show where he was holding a small white and black rabbit (looked like a Hotot), while he spoke. After a few minutes he handed off the rabbit to pick-up a chainsaw. Several times he threatened to use the chainsaw before the end of the show on the rabbit. The bunny was off camera for most of the show and was obviously never in any danger. However, any suggestion of violent harm to animals on TV is disturbing.

Ventura Bunny Brigade

Thanks to the Ventura County Star newspaper who featured the "Bunny Brigade" volunteer program at the Ventura County Animal Services shelter in Camarillo, CA. We need a whole army of volunteers like the two women who started the program in Ventura - Kim Jones and Kimbery Jacinto. Their numbers are impressive in just their first year.
According to the article, "in 2008, 94 of the 208 rabbits at the shelter were adopted, and 97 were euthanized. In 2009, after the Brigade arrived, 181 of the shelter’s 214 were adopted and 13 were euthanized, most of them with medical problems." Plus, the rabbits have a better quality of life because they are receiving personalized care and enrichment such as toys and exercise time out of their cages. County shelters are not the "dog pound" anymore with all types of animals being housed at facilities all over the country. These types of volunteer programs can really make a difference! (Photo: Volunteer Dorothy Frick of Newbury Park holds a rabbit in the bunny and puppy room at the shelter facility at Camarillo Airport.) See full article here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Leaping Lagomorphs

Harley the rabbit is jumping to take on his Swedish competitors in rabbit hopping event in Harrogate, UK over the weekend. According to his 14 year old trainer, Demi Smith, all it took was dandelion leaves and now Harley jumps for the fun of it. Harley needs to beat 12 other rabbit athletes in the Grand National, which features a timed display and tackle course that is based on horse jumping. Harley seems to be at top form. Just look at his style and after all it comes naturally. The highest bunny jump record was set in 1997 by Danish rabbit, Tosen, who jumped almost a 3 ft., 3 in. (1 meter). The sport originated in Sweden in the late 1970s and you can find a number of videos of rabbit hopping at YouTube. It is also interesting how many lop earred rabbits even with their more stockier builds are great competitors. (Photo: Yorkshire Evening Post)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Year of the Rabbit Unlucky for Rabbits

A Shanghai based online newspaper reports on an aspect of the Year of the Rabbit that is not a cause for celebration. The news is now being reported on CNN online. The article stated, “Huge numbers of live rabbits had been listed as hot "items" for sale on the country's leading e-commerce platforms.” Tragically the rabbits are taking too long in transport with fatal consequences. Some deliveries are taking 5 days. Plus, there are reports of “rough handling by transport workers, many who don't realize they are dealing with live animals as packages are often labeled ‘Fragile: Glass’ in a bid to avoid security checks.” Chinese law bans the transport of living animals without a certificate of quarantine. It is estimated there are more than 600 online vendors selling pet rabbits in China.
This news comes on the heels of an appeal by PETA in Beijing to discourage impulse buying of rabbits. The Year of the Rabbit only occurs once every 11 years and the festivities span twelve months. Whereas, the annual rabbit buying increase peaks for a few weeks at Easter in the United States. This puts the Year of the Rabbit in perspective with regard to the number of rabbits that could end up abandoned or worse. It seems the Year of the Rabbit isn’t so lucky for the rabbits. I’d have to agree with Maggie Chen of PETA who said, "There's no better time to help rabbits than during the Year of the Rabbit, and you can do so by refusing to support the pet trade that causes so many animals to suffer.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

University of Victoria Rabbits’ Disappearing Act

VicNews.com reported that the last 50 remaining rabbits on the University of Victoria campus will be removed and relocated to sanctuaries before the breeding season begins and removal permits expire. The initial plan called for all, but 200 out of almost 1000 rabbits to be removed. However, predators and lack of breeding have decreased the rabbits’ numbers dramatically. (See Hopperhome's free download: "A Dozen Wild Reasons") According to the article “As of March 1st, any rabbits caught on campus will be removed and euthanized.” The campus will be rabbit free. Officials are aware they need to let people know “it’s not OK to drop your unwanted pets off at UVic anymore." There will be no question as to the fate of pet rabbits if abandoned there. Also, the municipality is considering bylaw amendments “that could prevent sales of unsterilized rabbits in pet stores.” See the full article here. (Photo credit: Don Denton/News staff, VicNews.com)

Fur Flying Over "The Magicians" (BBC1)

A lot of rabbit fans in the UK are hopping mad about a segment on the BBC1 show, The Magicians, aired in the UK in the last couple of days. On the Happy Hoppers Rabbit Forum the descriptions of the circumstances were disturbing. The Rabbit Welfare Association has voiced its objection on their RWA Blog - January 16th to the depiction of the 30 or so live rabbits in the television segment . The show isn't broadcast in the US right now so I am unable to view it myself unless it is broadcast on Youtube at some point. However, from all the complaints being lodged with the BBC, I hope they realize the opposition to using rabbits as magic props won't just disappear.

Hen Babysits Bunnies in New Zealand

Here's a video story about a hen who is babysitting baby bunnies for a rabbit in New Zealand. The doe is continuing to nurse her kits once a day so it seems all is well and the little ones get some downy comfort in between feedings.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brazilian Bunny Saved from Flood Ruins

From MSNBC's photo blog of the Brazilian floods rescue workers save a live rabbit from a home destroyed by a landslide as they continued to search for human survivors. This photo was taken in Teresopolis, Brazil, one of the hardest hit areas. (Photo credit: Felipe Dana, AP)
Though covered in mud, I am sure this white bunny was a hopeful sign of life in the ruins. A rabbit is known as a "coelho" in Brazil.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Bullas on Bunnies

Will Bullas has been my favorite artist before I had my first rabbit. His visual puns are "hare"larious with or without a rabbit in them. However, I am partial to watercolors of rabbits and I have a print of the "Carrot Cafe" myself. He has a whole lot more including, "Bad to the Bun," "A fool & His Bunny," "Attila the Bun," and some like "The Velveteen Bouncer" which are simply beautiful portraits. Recently, I discovered he has created two Year of the Rabbit watercolors. The one pictured is a print and the other is being sold as a cards. One of these days I am going to have to find out where he finds his models because he captures those lagomorph expressions and postures perfectly. Visit his website at Will Bullas.

Buying for Bunnies Online

Leith Petwerks sends out a their newsletter periodically and today it reminded me to jump online to look for unique products for rabbits. (BTW, I don’t accept advertising on Hopperhome so I really like all this stuff.)
Case in point, the folks at Leith Petwerks have rabbits themselves and I have purchased several of their terrific Bunny Abode Condos to house rescued rabbits. Now they have the best hay rack I have ever seen offered anywhere in two sizes. Only rabbit owners would think of something like this. Skip those flimsy hayracks from pet stores.
Next is a treat that some rabbits love, 100% Organic Calendula Flowers (dried) to sprinkle over salad or pellets from Bunny Bytes. And if your rabbit isn’t a calendula fan, there are more treats to choose from at their online store.
I highly recommend keeping a GI Stasis Kit since it can be a lifesaver. I know since I put together my own box of these items over the years as emergencies came up. Now you can get a kit with this combination of products from Bunny Bunch Boutique and believe me they are good to have on hand.
Grocery store bags with the promise to keep your salad greens fresh are expensive plus most don’t last. However, the folks over at Bunny Luv found a film that allows gases to escape so food stays fresh longer. Busy Bunny custom makes them and they can be reused many times. Great idea!
Some rabbits won’t go into a circular tunnel and so a nice triangular cardboard tunnel from Busy Bunny might make the rabbit feel less intimidated. The Ton O’ Fun Bun Run has rabbit and carrot drawings on the side, too.
I have purchased a couple of the Cottontail Cottages from Cats & Rabbits & More and my rabbits can certainly attest to the fun one of these cardboard cottages offers. I like the great cutouts and graphics printed on the sides.
There a lot of bunny approved products online and online store offering products for your rabbits are multiplying, well, like rabbits. It is all good because these products can improve your rabbit’s quality of life. It is worth hopping by these online stores! (Photo: my Miss Pansy playing under the kitchen table.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gambling on a Big Bunny

The Year of the Rabbit doesn't officially start for a couple more weeks and Las Vegas is getting in on the action. The LA Times reported on the installation of a giant 16 ft. rabbit that weighs a 1,000 lbs. and is showcased in the Palazzo's atrium. It took four months to build and has movable parts such as the tail, paws and glass eyes. Several online sources say the 2011 rabbit year in the Chinese zodiac will be a year "of increased luck and pleasant outcomes." I am sure the casinos are betting on it. (Photo Credit: Paul Stocum Cashman Productions)

However, as impressive as the big acrylic furred bunny will be in the Palazzo's lobby, my preference is a rabbit more like "Mae West." She is a 3 year old English Spot and lop mix featured on Petfinder from the NV SPCA. There is a both a House Rabbit Society in Las Vegas and Nevada SPCA. Over 70 rabbits are available for adoption in "Tinsel Town." It would be a "pleasant outcome" if Miss Mae West were to be adopted (plus all the other beautiful rabbits waiting for a homes in Southern Nevada). (Photo from NV SPCA, Petfinder website)

Hoppiness of the Holidays Shared

The holidays are over, but the fun lives on. I received this happy video this afternoon from Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary! Click anywhere in space below to see video.

Katie Holmes' "Hare"raising Experience

One of the online gossip websites published a photo of Katie Holmes who abruptly learned some rabbits don't want to be picked up. A petting zoo was on the set for filming Katie's new movie, "Jack and Jill." The actress took a few moments to meet the animals with her daughter Suri. But this little white rabbit was having none of it. Rabbits are expert escape artists and it can happen in a flash. I have one at home who always squirms and fights if I pick him up. However, when a rabbit starts struggling that's when the human needs to fight the impulse to let go. Granted, that is easier said than done especially for a novice rabbit handler.
A rabbit's backbone is very fragile and bad landing can result in serious damage to the spine if the bunny is dropped. Their skeleton comprises only 8% of total body weight whereas a domestic cat’s skeleton is 13% of its body weight. Fortunately, this bunny landed with no harm done. Photo: gossiponthis

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Greens in the Year of the Rabbit

There was an article recently in a produce industry magazine about farmers looking toward the Year of the Rabbit to promote and market Chinese vegetables in grocery stores especially bok choy, baby bok choy, choy sum and gai lan. Then I received an email from “Bunny Mom” in Kansas City asking if these vegetables were okay to feed to her rabbits. With twice as many taste buds as humans, most rabbits will eat just about any vegetable you offer them. They love new flavors. But some vegetables are safer than others.
Bok choy, baby bok choy and choy sum are all in the cabbage family. Kai Lan is also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale. All of these vegetables are high in calcium which is the first reason I do not include them in my rabbits’ salads. They can result in large amounts of calcium carbonate sediment in the urine causing sludgy urine and cystitis. No thanks.
The other good reason to avoid these vegetables is that they are all Cruciferous vegetables. High in sulfur they can cause gas both in people and yes, in your rabbits. The issue with gas for rabbits is it can result in bloat (gas bubbles). I have seen the bubbles on abdominal x-rays of rabbits. They can be quite large and painful for a bunny. The danger with bloat is it can cause Gastrointestinal Stasis (GI Stasis) and if left untreated or treated too late, the rabbit can die. So while I may enjoy some new Chinese vegetables in this Year of the Rabbit, I’m going to skip them for my rabbits. There are plenty of safe alternatives and for a list see this link.(Photo: The Packer)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Interview with Dusty and Her Human (Amy Sedaris)

Check out the video interview with Amy Sedaris and her rabbit Dusty on One on 1, a New York City news TV channel. The interview starts with Dusty and Amy. Dusty, a mini-Rex, has to be several years old since I remember hearing about Dusty well over 5 years ago. The bunny looks beautiful and very feisty in her segment of the interview (so does Amy). Dusty is obviously a very well cared for and much loved bunny.
In the video Amy states, "I really want to do a series of videos for rabbit training and rabbit care -- how to trim their nails." Then narrator says, "Amy Sedaris is being serious, really. It is sometimes hard to tell." I have no doubt she is serious!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bunny Bento Boxes

A bento box in Japan is a meticulously prepared one person meal and most are very creatively designed with some featuring rabbits or cartoon rabbits. Over the last several years I have received many photos of these bento boxes in my email. I decided to compile them and put them on a web page so everyone can enjoy the art of the bunny bento box. By the way, no rabbits are used as part of the food, just the design! I have not tried to fashion a rabbit out of white rice and nori (roasted seawood) myself. However, these photos are inspiration. See all the Bunny Bentos here.

Melbourne, Australia Rabbits Disease Outbreak

My heart goes out to rabbit fans in Melbourne, Australia who find themselves very concerned about the outbreak of myxomatosis spreading throughout the city. One vet says it is the most cases he has seen in one month in the last 15 years. They believe the cause is the increase in the mosquito population that carries the disease due to the warm weather and rain. Myxomatosis can also be carried by flies and fleas. While there are some incidences of myxomatosis in the United States, they are isolated and normally on the Pacific coast with the last I know of in California this past year. See this article by the House Rabbit Society about this terrible disease.
Ironically, The Canaberra Times reports officials are warning agriculture ministers around the country of an impending rabbit plague in southeastern Australia. It is feared the prolonged wet spring conditions will increase feral rabbit numbers dramatically. Over the years the wild feral rabbits have become more resistant to rabbit calicivirus and myxomatosis which were introduced to control their populations.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Florence Henderson as the Bunny Lady

Early in 2010 I heard an independent movie had started filming called “The Bunny Lady” starring Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch fame. Most of the movie was shot in West Michigan. The plot according to news media said Henderson would play a “crotchety old farm woman” who runs a rabbit rescue. “She befriends and mentors a girl, fostered by a neighboring family, after the youngster finds a lost bunny.” The movie was renamed “The Christmas Bunny” several months later. There were screenings recently in late December in West Michigan at a couple of small venues.
A local educational farm,The Critter Barn, provided, Rumble, a mini-lop rabbit as the lead animal actor and his back-up bunny, Hopscotch. The star began to "quickly began to show off his star qualities." The Director (and writer/producer) Tom Seidman said, “The bunny has been great.” We shot some stuff with the bunny and the bunny did some things that nobody expected him to that were absolutely amazing. He started pushing some blocks around with his nose and we got it (on film)." (If the filmmaker thought that was amazing, I've got some rabbits at home with Oscar potential.)
A date when the movie will be distributed to a wider audience hasn't been announced yet as far as I know. However, I for one would like to see how “crotchety old” women in rabbit rescue are depicted. One article said Henderson was coached on how to handle a rabbit by the Critter Barn people. Also, from the photos I could find, Ms. Henderson left her “Dancing with the Stars” gowns behind and dressed appropriately in the film for cleaning up after multiple rabbits - work clothing. More on the film when I find out.

Fact: Rabbits are Good for Your Health!

This is something rabbit fans have known for a long time and now a new study proves it – rabbit companions are good for your health. Yes, it is now scientifically proven by a team of experts from the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri headed by Dr. Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN. According to an article in Genius Beauty Magazine, “This new study conducted by a team of experts from the University of Missouri and led by Professor Rebecca Johnson showed that the presence of rabbit gives women a sense of tranquility.” Scientists observed decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the bodies of women after they hold a rabbit for several minutes.
The article went on to quote Dr. Johnson about how the presence of domesticated rabbits not only facilitate social bonds, but also teach women and girls how to better understand themselves and others, and how to communicate with others more effectively. Further, it is shown that women who have kept the rabbits also have “better control in emotion and behavior.” Rabbits as part of therapy “also facilitate the healing of serious illness in children and adolescents, such as autism or depression, and help them overcome the lack of confidence.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rabbit Railway

Boy, those trains in Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture Japan better hop to it! The railway station in Seiyo has appointed Tsubasa as its stationmaster in a bid to attract more tourism to the area. According to the station official, "I hope we can promote our town so that it will make a big leap this year, like Tusbasa.

The 8 month old bunny received his offiicial hat yesterday at a ceremony. Stationmaster Tsubasa looks like he could use a hat with bigger holes for those ears . . . better to hear those trains coming down the track.

(Photo: Mainichi)

Monday, January 3, 2011

One More (Deadly Yet Preventable) Reason to Neuter a Male Rabbit

If the possibility of a litter of rabbits, plus aggression and urine spraying weren’t enough to warrant neutering a male rabbit, add testicular cancer to the list. A lot of people are beginning to understand the importance of spaying a female rabbit due to the high probability of uterine cancer and to prevent unwanted litters. However, it can be a lifesaver to alter male rabbits, too. My sister, Bonnie, got a call today from a vet clinic where we take our cats. They wanted a referral to a vet who specializes in rabbits. They had a rabbit with testicular cancer. (Bonnie referred her to two local and very qualified rabbit vets.)
It seems rabbit vets are seeing more of this type of cancer. It may be rabbits are receiving better medical care like cats and dogs nowadays, and living long enough to develop this type of cancer. I don’t know. But I do know this disease should be on everyone’s rabbit radar as preventable with early neutering. If you are squeamish, you might want to skip this link, from the Long Beach Animal Hospital with photos and video of rabbit testicular cancer and surgery.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Australian Rabbit Shelter Thumped by Neighbors

This is a very unfortunate situation in a country where rabbits are considered pests and pets. When I read they only had 16 rabbits in their care, I thought the neighbors where being a bit overzealous about the nuisance factor. Plus, blaming the Inglis' for the black rabbits running loose is unfair. The rabbits most likely had been dumped in the neighborhood by pet owners in anticipation the rabbit rescuers would find them. I hope they find a solution allowing the rabbits to stay at the Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage! Read article at this link.

Korea Celebrates Rabbits

Enjoy this video of the Everland Zoo in South Korea. They are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a "rabbit village" and a demonstration of rabbit hopping. One of the employees described rabbits very well even in translation. "Our Rabbit Village holds this event to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Rabbit and to show the rabbits' amazing capabilities as well as their gentle and innocent disposition." See video here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stamping Rabbits

The Chinese celebration of the Year of the Rabbit begins officially February 11th. However, several countries have kicked it off with postage stamps and Hopperhome has collected stamps from 14 countries so far for 2011.

See the entire collection at this link: Year of the Rabbit.