Rabbit trouble at our zoo... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-13-2005, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I have never posted on this board before but I need some advice.

I've got this nasty habit of rescuing animals (and kids, but that's an issue for another board!). Currently I have two cats, two birds, a rabbit and a snake. I take care of them primarily by myself (my kids help with what they can) in addition to being a student, taking care of my own three kids - two of which I homeschool, taking care of three teenagers (mostly from afar), taking care of my house, and babysitting two additional kids full time. There's more, but you get the picture.

I'm feeling really stressed lately about having all these animals that need to be cared for and fed and demand so much of my attention. But I'll get to that in a minute.

This morning my rabbit bit my baby. This is the first time he's been aggressive in any way in the three months we've had him. The baby did nothing to him, just hooked his fingers around the bars of the rabbit's cage to stand up. There are a number of things that could have contributed to it. First, the rabbit is old enough that we need to get him fixed soon. I know they become aggressive sometimes when they need to be fixed. Also, I was about an hour later feeding him this morning than I usually am. This is the first time this has happened, and I didn't think it was a huge deal because I fed him alot very late last night, so he shouldn't have been starving to death. And I was about an hour late letting him out of his cage. Normally he spends the day running around the house.

There was alot of blood, and I'm scared it will happen again. On the one hand I just want to get rid of him, but I've come across so few people that are nice to animals that I'm torn up about it. I also feel that when I got him I pretty much accepted responsibility for him from now until he dies (even though I didn't purposely get him because I wanted a rabbit). My kids are attached to him and he's always been a nice rabbit. And I'm almost certain (but not comepletely) that once he's fixed he won't bite again. But then I think about the fact that he's so picky about his cage that it has to be thoroughly cleaned every morning or he poops and pees aaaaalllllllllllllllllll over the floor. I can't even do it the night before, which is alot more convenient to me. I have to feed the rabbit countless times a day because we feed him a natural vegetable diet. He's chewed up many of our game and puzzle boxes (my fault because I had forgotten we were keeping them under the spare bed), as well as all the books on our bottom shelves, our door frames, our carpets, the trim on our stairs, toys, furniture.... I realize that this is just part of having a rabbit, you need to bunny proof the best you can and just watch them all the time. But it's wearing on me.

And the biting thing REALLY disturbes me, even though it was just once. It was bad enough we were considering bringing him to the hospital for stitches.

How can I feel better about this? How can my kids feel better about this? He's really like part of my family. How can we deal with this quickly, but make sure that he ends up with people that will really care for him and treat him well?

Or how can I keep him and make sure the biting doesn't happen again and drastically cut down on the amount of time that needs to be invested in him? I know that's not really practical, but I wish it was.
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#2 of 6 Old 09-19-2005, 02:40 PM
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I have no answers really, but wanted to see if someone had an idea!

You could explore if there are others who are rabbit lovers that would be willing to lighten your load.
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#3 of 6 Old 09-19-2005, 04:00 PM
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I had a male rabbit when I was a teenager that I got when he was just a tiny baby and kept him several years. Males DO sometimes get aggressive, and I'm pretty sure male rabbits go into Rut (like heat, I guess, for males LOL). Fixing him might solve this problem, but I'm guessing it has more to do with the fact that he doesn't have much to chew on. Sometimes rabbits don't get enough chewing through their normal diet - just like some babies don't get enough sucking through eating, but I digress.

Rabbit teeth continue to grow throughout their life, and chewing helps grind them down to a reasonable level. He may be biting out of discomfort if his teeth get too long. You can find wooden chew toys for rabbits and guinea pigs at most pet supply stores. If he runs around the house a lot, it may be a good idea to leave some of these around for him to find, or put a few in his cage with him. Having something acceptable to chew on whenever the urge strikes can keep him from chewing up puzzles, curtains, shoes, whatever (the curtains near my rabbit's cage were shredded LOL). Also, if he's biting from territorial issues, it wouldn't hurt to teach the kids to respect "his" space and not try to pet him unless he's out of the cage.

HTH Good luck!
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#4 of 6 Old 09-20-2005, 07:51 PM
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Our last rabbit once jumped at and clawed my ds about the face when my ds was just starting to crawl. She hadn't done it before. She never did it again. Those things happen and it's just up to us, as animal parents, to prevent that from happeing. Now you know! Make sure the babe doesn't use the cage to crawl up on. Those little fingers could have been mistaken for something else. Who knows...

How old is he? Yes, male rabbits need to be neutered asap once they reach those teen months! Before the nasty habits of "spraying hot urine", "humping everything in sight", and biting HARD start. My first rabbit (when I had NO idea what to expect) use to bite my roommate so hard she once had to smash him against the wall to get him off her ankle... and it happend often. Once he was neutered he never bit again.

We currently have a 3 month old mini-lop girl. Nelly-belly. She's a doll. Yes, they're clean freaks. I clean her cage litter box first thing every AM. She runs free all day long and has SIX other litter boxes in her favorite pee/poo corners/spots that also get cleaned once a day. She also appreciates me cleaning up her spilled hay every day and putting it back in the hay-holder. For whatever reason, if her area is clean- she reacts in a more appropriate bathroom-way. ??? picky little buggers!

You mentioned that you feed him vegies. I hope you also mean that you include timothy hay and appropriate rabbit grain (pellets) as rabbits NEED THESE FOR SURVIVAL more then vegies!! In fact- a baby rabbit shouldn't really have any substantial vegies (asidde from their grain and hay) until around 1 year. At almost 4months our rabbit pees only in a litter box. No mistakes. She poops MOSTLY in her boxes but will still occasionally drop some poops around when she's running. Or sitting in my husbands shoes! :LOL We kept her mostly in her cage until she could prove to pee only in the box. About a week. And when we did let her out we would pop her back in the cage each time she peed (put her in the litterbox in her cage). And where she had chose to pee outside the cage we set up a litter box. Really, only took a week!

Anyway, good luck!
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#5 of 6 Old 09-21-2005, 12:36 PM
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I think things like what happened happen whenever you have an animal. It's probably just a freak accident. Do you really thing the rabbit was thinking "hey I'm gonna bite the baby today" NO, its a rabbit(not to undermine rabbits but you see what I'm saying. I second the making sure he gets neutered and and making sure he has something to chew on and not your puzzles. Other than that I'd just keep an eye on the two and encourange your son to use something else while standing up next time
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#6 of 6 Old 09-22-2005, 08:11 AM
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I wouldn't get rid of it just for that one instance of biting. However, if he is too much work with all that you have going on I would say start looking for a new home for him. http://www.rabbitrescue.com/findingAhome.html

There are some rabbit rescue organizations... maybe there is one near you.

Get the rabbit fixed. Teach your kids no fingers in the cage for now. Maybe relocate the cage to an area the baby doesn't have such free access.

I'm sure this is very difficult for you. I am sorry your baby got hurt.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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