Should Your Rabbit Live Free-Range in Your Home?

Learn if you should let your pet rabbit live free-range in your home in this Howcast video featuring Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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Amy: Lets talk free range. Mary: Lets talk free range. Amy: Now my rabbit has free range in my home. But I'm home a lot. Mary: You know how I feel about that. Amy: I live with her, my bunnies my boss, and I know the dangers of that. You have to be aware that something small is running around at all times. What do you think about that? Mary: As a general rule having a rabbit free free range in your home is not a good idea, its like having a 2 year old child free range in your home. If your there to supervise when your in the living room with your 2 year old. Your sitting there reading a novel and your child can play, and that's fine. If you go to the kitchen and you leave a 2 year old child in your living room for 5 minutes, you know what can happen. And the same thing can happen with small animals. They will do the most unexpected things when your not there to supervise. Amy: But they're not going to grab a steak knife. Mary: But they will eat things that might be toxic that you didn't think of, they will chew things, they will destroy property. Amy: Make long distant phone calls. Mary: Work up your bills, eat your rent check. So its generally not a good idea to have rabbits free range. Its much better if you can give then a nice puppy pen, a nice big area to live in. Then when your there to supervise let them run around then. Interestingly enough rabbits usually get more exercise if they're confined and let out for exercise then they do if they live loose all the time. Mary: That make sense, like jail. Amy: It sort of is, its when a rabbit is free range all the time he or she will develop special places to hang out during the day. Under a sofa, on a sofa and they'll just chill in those places and they don't move much. But if you keep the rabbit confined and then you let her out at certain times of day, everything needs to be re investigated. Everything needs to be re chinned, chinning is a marking- Mary: Can you change the same rabbit that's been free range for 12 years. What if I decide to put her in a puppy pen now? Amy: At this point it probably wouldn't be a problem for her. She's got her places to hang out and she has certain activity cycles that your really aware of. You know when she's most likely to be active, and if your at home, you can let her out then. And you know when she's most likely to be quiet. Its just safer to keep them confined and they will probably will ultimately get more exercise if you keep them confined and then let them out. Its an interesting thing to watch. Free range.

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.