Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vancouver Rabbity Agility Club is Hopping!

The Vancouver Courier recently published an article on the newly formed Vancouver Rabbit Agility Club (British Columbia) with Olga Betts. Olga is the President of the  Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy, a chapter of the House Rabbit Society
I have noticed in the past couple of years several rabbit rescue organizations are now formally or informally organizing rabbit agility or hopping events.  The events showcase rabbits as the active, intelligent and very independent creatures they are.  As Olga notes in the video below, rabbits are not like dogs performing for treats. They are more like horses in that they learn what to do and then make their own decisions whether or not they will perform.  If you have ever been to a rabbit hopping or rabbit agility event, it's obvious rabbits decide whether or not they will take a jump or go through part of an agility course.  As long as the training and events are positive for the rabbit (no negative reinforcement), then it is a fun indoor or outdoor experience plus incredibly adorable. 
Even though rabbits approach Rabbit Agility like little horses it still looks a lot like Dog Agility with rabbits maneuvering the agility equipment by going over, under, around and through. The rabbits are generally off leash in a timed event. Rabbit Hopping or Rabbit Jumping is similar, but there are big differences. First of all, Rabbit Hopping is all about jumping.  The competition features the rabbits running a course of jumps normally on a harness/leash. 
These activities go a long way toward getting rabbits out of cages, demonstrates another enjoyable aspect of bunnies as a companions, and creates a lot of interaction with humans and rabbits.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hip Hop Dance Drama Workshop Teaches Kids (& Adults) about Rabbit Care

In the UK Woodgreen Animals Charity has created a dance and drama workshop for kids - Hip Hop bunnies! Seven to eleven year olds will learn about rabbit care in the workshop through the play script by learning lines, rehearsing dance moves, preparing costumes and props. At the end of the workshop the kids will put on a performance for the adults. The youngsters may have a thing or two to teach their parents about rabbits. The best part is that everyone will learn about rabbits in a fun and memorable way.  Email for more information.

Pink Rabbits Popping Up in Queensland

First there was a giant pink rabbit that appeared in the Italian Alps in 2005 and now in Perth Australia a street artist, Stormie Mills, has created several bubble gum pink, large bunny sculptures for the Brisbane Festival public art installation.  The number of pink rabbits and their locations are secret for now – at least until they are installed.  People in Brisbane won’t be able to miss them.  Ironically, Mills recently discovered keeping rabbits as pets in Queensland is illegal. According to one article I read, Mills said, "But that's the thing with art and projects like this – they allow you to think about things differently," he says. "So maybe through this process people might think of bunnies as less horrific – maybe they'll just go back to being cute, fluffy animals."  In photo: Brisbane Festival artistic director Noel Staunton and artist Stormie Mills with first bunny to be installed. Photo Credit: Vicki Winter

Monday, August 5, 2013

Japanese Artist Illustrates Rabbits Beautifully

Recently, a friend sent me a link to Akiko Shirato in Japan.  The entire website is posted in Japanese language, however, her artwork depicting rabbits can be understood in any language. (I tried some translators, but the results were comic.) Take a look at her galleries online. Below is a preview of her art.  She captures the rabbits' expressions perfectly.

Photo Credit: Akiko Shirato

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tunnel Vision - House Rabbits & Warrens

I'd love to provide my rabbits with a mound of dirt they can dig in as much as they want, but it isn't always possible.  Their wild cousins (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in the UK and elsewhere dig large warrens. These warrens provide the rabbits with underground passages that are deep enough to provide shelter and protection from predators.  The warren passage openings are used for daily comings and goings and some are mainly "bolt-holes" if there is danger nearby.  The tunnels themselves average 9 inches wide and there are main runs which lead to areas above ground to graze.

My rabbits live in a safe environment inside my home so they basically live in my human warren. (sometimes I wonder if it isn't the reverse).  Even though they have a big area to run in and live, they still enjoy a nice narrow tunnel to run through for play and sit in part of the day.  Over the years I have provided my rabbits with amazing habitats, but when it comes down to it, they like a long dark tunnel.  Go figure. I started out years ago with cardboard cement forms in tube shapes from hardware stores. They were coated with something on the outside and fortunately the bunnies never chewed it. Now there are plenty of nice cardboard tunnels available (see all the online outlets below) and even habitats with short passages. I bought a fabric tunnel for the cats from Ikea recently and even though my rabbit Pansy has plenty of places she could relax, she has claimed it as her own (pictured). I'm lucky she is not a fabric chewer. The cats are stuck with their cat trees and I'm sure Pansy would agree that's where they belong.
Binky Bunny
Bird Kabob
The Blissful Bunny
Best Little Rabbit, Rodent & Ferret House
Bunny Bunch
Bunny Bazaar (UK)
Busy Bunny
Cats and Rabbits and More
Leith Petwerks
Pet Care Depot
Pet Treasures
Pluesch Nasen (Plush Noses) A German website
Rabbit Houses
Wabbit Works