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)