In the later part of last month multiple stories about rabbit hoarders made the news. One good-intentioned Rio Rancho couple had 334 bunnies living on their property. Meanwhile one black-hearted, or, perhaps, crazy, woman known as “ The Bunny Lady” was arrested again in Oregon.
The story made me interested in rabbits as pets, so I got in contact with Placitas-based Margo DeMello. DeMello is president of the House Rabbit Society, a national organization that helped in rescuing and adopting the Rio Rancho rabbits. Over e-mail I asked her a few questions about the current economic crisis. Kidding.
What kind of pets do rabbits make? Are they affectionate? Do they have personality?
Rabbits make wonderful pets; they are smart, funny, curious, playful, willful and affectionate. They are also very independent, and can be destructive, so they are not pets for everyone.
How many different kinds of rabbits are there? What kinds are kept as pets?
I don't know how many breeds are out there, and any kind of domesticated rabbit can be kept as a pet. House Rabbit Society rescues rabbits of all kinds, and we do not advocate one breed over another, as breeders do.
Do rabbits prefer to be called "rabbits" or "bunnies"?
I'm not sure what they prefer since they don't speak English. We tend to call them rabbits, or affectionately, bunnies.
How does a rabbit owner care for a rabbit?
Too much to answer in a couple of lines—please go to www.rabbit.org for care information. But basically, we recommend that rabbits live indoors as house pets, are spayed and neutered, use a litter box, eat a diet of hay, pellets and fresh vegetables, get to be a part of the family like a dog or a cat, and get good medical care.
How much does care typically cost?
Their food is relatively inexpensive; medical care can be expensive however.
What is a group of rabbits called?
How do you avoid ending up with a warren of rabbits?
Get your rabbits spayed and neutered, and don't take in more rabbits than you have the resources to care for.
Anything else the world should know about rabbits?
Visit us at www.rabbit.org; for local (New Mexico) folks, visit us at www.rabbit.org/newmexico to find out about our adoption program, our events, our recommended veterinarians, our volunteer needs and more.