Best Carrier for a Pet Rabbit

Find out what is the best carrier for a pet rabbit in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover 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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So a lot of people want to know what's the best way to travel with a rabbit? What kind of carrying case is best? Well, there are probably as many kinds of carrying cases out there as there are inventors, so we just have a small selection here to show you the differences, the major differences. One is a fabric carrier and this carrier is small and flexible which may be suitable for walking around the city, but ultimately, as you can see, a rabbit can break out of it simply by chewing it. This zips up conveniently up the front, but because it's made of fabric the rabbit can work his teeth into it and make little holes as you go along. Eventually the carrier will be ruined if you depend on it for any length of time. For short trips, if you live in a major city, and you're just jumping in a cab for a quick vet visit, this might be okay. I prefer solid carriers because it's safer for the bunny. So I'm going to put this one down and show you two different kinds of solid carriers. This is called a clam-shell carrier here because it opens and closes like a clam shell. This is the carrier that Bean arrived in today. This carrier is ideal for a small rabbit, they fit really nicely into the carrier with a litter box inside, which is terrific because it gives them hay to chew on, newspaper lined in case they want to pee on the way, they're good. Bean is used to traveling in this and when I put him in, I generally put him directly in the litter box and then I put my hand in while I close the top so he won't be scared and then the carrier slides closed like that. This is an old carrier, it comes with a plastic handle up here when it's new, but usually the plastic handles in my care fall off pretty quickly. So i brought the typical carrier for my crew today and this is what that looks like. Clam-shell carrier. One very convenient thing about a clam-shell carrier is for airline travel, it fits really nicely under the seat in front of you. So if you're going on a short trip with your rabbit by plane, this is an ideal carrier to have. Another kind of carrier, and this is probably the most common we see, is a front opening carrier. This is a really nicely designed carrier in many respects, it comes with its own little food and water bowl, which you can put at different levels if you have a bigger rabbit it goes up here, a small rabbit can go down here. And that's really nice if the rabbit is going to be at the clinic during the day, for example you have a vet visit and you have to drop the rabbit off and he needs room to move around and some food and water, that's a great carrier to have. Some of these hard carrier, the plastic carriers also have the added convenience where the top half actually unscrews from the bottom half and you can lift the whole top off the carrier, which makes it easy to get the rabbit out. This particular one doesn't have that, but it has a nice other feature, which is a door big enough to fit in a small litter box. This little litter box will fit into the carrier if you just twist it a little bit and then put it inside. One thing I highly recommend whatever your carrying case is to put a section of newspaper in the bottom of it, and this one has several sections. The newspaper keeps whatever else in there, including the bunny, from sliding around. So if I have a litter box here, and it's on plastic-to-plastic, it's going to slide. If you put a section of newspaper in first, or a couple of sections, it tends to be much more stable and doesn't slide around as much, which means it's easier on the bunny, it doesn't scare the bunny. So that's a good feature. The main thing to remember when you get a carrying case, and this is counter-intuitive, because most people just think the other way around, the main thing to remember is to keep the carrying case as small as possible, not as large as possible. The right sized carrying case will be one that just gives the rabbit enough room to move around and lie down comfortably. The bigger the carrying case, when you're in transit, the more dangerous it is for the rabbit should you stop suddenly. And just think of it, I mean, that's what seat belts do for us. Seat belts hold us back in the seat so that if we stop suddenly, we don't fly forward into the windshield. And what happens with a rabbit carrier, if you have a small enough carrier, and there's a sudden stop in the vehicle, the rabbit's body can fly forward into the side of the carrier or the front of the carrier. But if it's a small carrier, you're only talking about a couple of inches. If you get these gimongous carriers to give your rabbit lots of room, then his little body can hurdle forward hard into the inside side of the carrier and he can hurt himself. So you want to keep the carrier small and compact as much as you can given the size of your rabbit. Obviously a larger rabbit needs a larger carrier, but just constantly think "If I stop suddenly, how far is my rabbit going to fly to get to the side of that carrier?" and that will give you a good index of the size of carrier that will be safest for your bunny. Bean likes these all. Want to go inside? Want to go snoop around in there and see what's what? What do you think? Good boy!

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.