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Your First Rabbit:
Preparing Your Home for a Rabbit

Protecting your home and protecting your rabbit.

First and foremost, your home needs to be rabbit-proofed to protect both your rabbit and your home. Check out ⇒this link or consult with RabbitWise or your rescue organization for tips on how to do this.

Poisonous plants, inside and out

Many houseplants are poisonous to rabbits, as are many common garden plants. Keep houseplants out of bunny's reach! Here are links to some lists of poisonous plants.

House Rabbit Society
Agriculture Department of Victoria (Canada)

Setting up house with a rabbit

Next, your rabbit will need a place to call his/her own with dining and bathroom facilities. (Here's a ⇒shopping list of what you will need.) For recreation and exercise, your rabbit will need some toys. Get great ideas from the ⇒links below.

Ideally, there should be a room in the house designated for rabbit care. Do not use high humidity areas such as bathrooms and basements. Mold thrives in these areas and mold kills rabbits. Rabbits who have had to live in high moisture areas suffer increased respiratory problems and die prematurely.

Natural light should be available in the rabbit room but rabbits should always be kept out of direct sunlight because of the risk of overheating and subsequent heat stroke. The temperature of the room should be cool, in the 60F to 70F degree range.

In his/her room, there should be a place where your rabbit can go for some private time. RabbitWise recommends rabbit condos. They can be ordered on the internet (see below) or custom made if you are handy. Do not use pine or cedar because the organic solvents used to preserve them can cause liver damage in rabbits.

An alternative to the condo is a puppy pen. Get one at least three feet high because those great hind legs on rabbits were made for jumping. For the flooring, use a towel, a piece of flat woven carpet, wood, untreated sisal/grass/hemp/coir mats, linoleum, cardboard, newspaper, and/or synthetic fleece. If your rabbit eats any of theses, change to another type of flooring. For a rabbit that chews, synthetic fleece works nicely because there are no long strands of fabric that can get caught in the digestive tract. It is also washable.

Some organizations recommend cages but RabbitWise feels that there is no reason to cage your rabbit if your rabbit is properly litter boxed trained, his/her area is rabbit-proofed, and acceptable diversions are available. Caging deprives you of the delights of the rabbit personality that emerges only in cage-free rabbits. It deprives your rabbit of proper exercise, mental stimulation, and freedom of movement. If the doors are always left open, cages can function as your rabbit's "headquarters." Cages may sometimes be necessary for initial litter box training or subsequent retraining and limiting some other behavioral problems because controlling your rabbit's space is often necessary for these procedures.

Helpful Links
Pens and Condos

Read more about pen living at The House Rabbit Society.
Read more about pen living at O'Hares (the Buckeye House Rabbit Society)
Look for the "Bunny Abode Condos" at Leith Petwerks
Look for the "Mondo Condo" at KW Cages
Look for "the Deluxe" and "the Duplex Deluxe" at Martin's Cages
How to build a rabbit condo using Neat Idea Cubes (NIC)
Neat Idea Cubes (NIC), Creative Cubes, and similar products are available at Costco, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Warning! Some versions have grids with large openings. Don't use grids with openings larger than 1 1/2 inches for walls. Grids with large openings can be used for the floors of upper stories, but only if they are covered with something solid, such as wood panelling that the rabbit won't chew through, so that the rabbit can't get a foot or head into the opening.

Toys, Playthings, and Healthy Treats

DIY Rabbit Toys
Bunny Bytes
Bunny Luv
NOLA Chinchillas. (For chinchillas, but all the toys and treats are safe for rabbits, too.)

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