Bunny Log

Well, it’s been an educational week.

First of all, bunnies do NOT like being picked up. I knew this already, and didn’t get a bunny for the sole purpose of carting it to the shops in my Prada bag. However, no one tells you how to get Bunny from A to B without one or both of you winding up in intensive care. I’ve looked at countless instructional videos on how to pick up a noncompliant rabbit, all of which are demonstrated on what are obviously lobotomised bunnies with no soul. Roman will not gaze adoringly at me as I “support her back legs and scoop her up snug against your chest.” Roman turns into three kilograms of fluffy indignant fury. There is no scooping of my Roman. She has her first vet check up on Thursday, and I’ll give $50 to anyone who wants to come and coax my sweet little fuzz-demon into her carrier.

Secondly, bunnies are excellent dusters. Roman has cleaned under the fridge, behind the TV cabinet, under the couches and around the plant holders. Of course, she leaves a two inch deep trail of moulted fur wherever she goes, but she’s certainly removed a lot of cobwebs. She gets into everything. Open the fridge: woah, what’s in THERE?! Open the cupboard: omigod, look at all the stuff in there! Open the linen cupboard: holy shit, TOWELS!! It’s like she’s new to Earth.

Third, bunnies evolved from cheetahs. I’m not sure how rabbits became prey instead of predator, because nothing in the world could fly down the hallway faster than Roman. I teased her into chasing me the other day, and it was terrifying.

All in all, I think I chose a great little buddy. She uses her litter without fail, and hasn’t even left ‘territorial’ deposits for me to stumble upon. She doesn’t chew anything except her toys, ignores my plants completely, and doesn’t bite even when I piss her off. She binkies while I’m watching Charmed and licks my fingers when I give her a sultana. She’s the perfect Starter Kit rabbit.


Oh god. I’ve just turned into Crazy Bunny Lady, haven’t I?

24 thoughts on “Bunny Log

  1. What a wonderful post and it’s going so well! I commend you on your innate bunny huggerness. She is so pretty and looks so happy! They are such good company.
    Get yourself a pair of thick polar fleece gloves to pick her up. I do this with Vuvu as otherwise I will have no palms on my hands from her back feet claws as well as if I drop her, she might break her back. Most bunnies do not like to be picked up, you are correct. Also everybunny knows The Carrier = The Vet. And The Vets smells like dogs…bad juju.
    Some bunnies like (well, prefer) to be carried with their head up under your chin and supporting them like you would a baby who can hold its head up. I am not sure how to explain this better than http://www.flickr.com/photos/beeeevolution/6364447067/in/set-72157627358192343
    when you attempt this make sure you have at least one layer of clothing over your entire chest.

    • She’s still a bit cautious and not quite sure what to make of me, but she seems happy to wander the house and amuse herself. I’m relieved to hear Vuvu does this too – I was beginning to think I was doing something terribly wrong. The gloves are a great idea! I tried with a towel, but it’s really hard to tell what part of her I’m grabbing and I’m scared of injuring her. I read on one website that they can sense when you’re not confident, and it freaks them out even more – I guess practice makes perfect (although I’ve let her be for a few days – no good making her hate me). I’ll see if she tolerates being carried like that…but yes, I can see how it would be painful if it didn’t work out!

      • Vuvu is not the only one…our tiny little Milo will rip the skin off your chest in a second and only my husband can pick him up. Also Coffee faints, literally, it scared the shyte out of me first time she did it. So we scoop her up quick into the carrier no time for stolen head rubs. And then Frida allows me to hold her as if she were my child. It just depends. The more you do it the better you will get. They are some very opinionated critters.

        • D’aww, Frida sounds lovely. I guess that’s how animals burrow into your heart – you can get the exact same species and exact same breed, but their personalites will be entirely different.

  2. Yeah, I think practice is the thing. The rear end support I think is not so difficult it’s the front end that’s tricky, so you could practice with her, stroking her forehead to keep her calm (assuming you’re friends enough to do that), giving her a treat for good behaviour, and trying to get a hand under her chest and arms and just hold her there without lifting her off the ground.. get her comfortable with that hold – you should have the weight in your palm and use the fingers to restrict the front legs from doing too much… you can hold the other hand over her shoulders initially, and then only once you are sure she is OK with the front end hold, move the other hand down to support her bum. The bunny freaks out if there’s no support under her.
    You have to get to know the bunny and figure out whether it’s better to hold under the feet, which will make her feel much safer, but also give her traction for scratching and kicking and escaping – so it only works with very calm bunnies, or whether you want to hold her under her chest and bum/thighs, but leaving the feets free. This is what I would do with a madly flailing bunny.
    …and I know the websites say this is not ok, but the scruff of the neck… if all else fails or it’s an emergency… if you do it right, it will keep the bun super calm and you should always support her weight with the other hand under her rear end. That’s what I do with a panicky bun… if you catch a stranger outdoors for instance… you can’t pick it up like in the demonstrations with a calm bunny.
    Finally… do it quickly.. don’t stand with the bun over open air for more than a split second.. get her up against your body so she feels there is ground under her as fast as possible. Wear a coat in the beginning if you’re worried you’ll be shredded. If she knows that you got her back, all you have to deal with is her willingness to be picked up, and not a total freak out panic attack.
    I don’t think you’re likely to hurt her… you have a cat already.. I scoop my cat the exact same way I always scooped bunnies. Right hand under his chest mainly between/supporting his arms, my lower arm supports the front half his body as I swing him towards my left shoulder and the left hand and arm goes under the bum and rear half of his body and he’s totally supported. Then he’s got his claws sunk into my shoulder and his head against mine and his back feets ready to bunny kick me right in the belly…

  3. http://www.hoppingmad.org/E3/handling.htm
    this lady is demonstrating with a quite tame bunny (there are two you-tube videos half way down the page) – and still manages to have a lot of fail happen…. I’m not super impressed with her technical skillz, but still… nothing ever works when you’re filming, so theoretically it’s the way I’d do it – I just wouldn’t loose the bunny out of my grip if I have it off the ground.. EVER!… and the fails are very instructional actually… just don’t start with stroking the bunny’s bum, that’s just rude! Start with getting a good handle on the front end… and if the bunny is not trained to eat out of your hands.. then be very careful with sticking your hand under her face from the front.

    • Thanks for the link and the info Drude – that’s the most comprehensive bunny-picking-up site I’ve seen. I can manage to pick up her front feet one at a time, and I can lift both of them for a split second before she backs away. I’ve managed to pick her up twice (traumatic for us both!), and once I’ve got her against my chest she’s ok…it’s just the transition from the floor that’s a drama. I guess you’re right, practice is what I need to do – I just hate seeing her scared and mad at me!

  4. Awwww, you’re doing great! She looks fantastic and I’ll bet it won’t be long before she realizes that you are her friend, even if you have to pick her up once in awhile!
    I would have loved to see her chase you down the hall!
    Is Mini adjusting?

    • Thanks Lauri, I hope so! Mini’s getting a bit braver, she growls and hisses a lot but she can sit in the same room with her now. Roman doesn’t help matters – she tears at Mini full speed, stops a foot in front of her, then turns around and does it again. I don’t know if she’s playing or just being an arsehole.

  5. W00t! Inga, I’m overjoyed for you. She sounds like royalty and very well behaved indeed. Let me tell you the first critter that ever bit me was a bunny. She bit right through the interosseus (thumb muscle), and yes in an alternate universe they are surely the rulers!

    Great advice from GW and Drude, I won’t say much more except that bunnies are ground dwellers and they simply don’t like the feeling of being in the air. In nature that would probably never be a good situation. Give it some time, keep her low to the ground and eventually she will feel comfortable in your lap (near the ground) then maybe months or even years later she’ll be fine with you picking her up if you take it extremely slow. Ives was like that and he’s a cat!

    You may want to tempt her with treats into or at least near the carrier so she won’t associate it with bad stuff. I can’t wait to see more photos. She is glorious!

    • GAH, right through the muscle?! Erk. I think I’m lucky she’s not a nippy bunny then. I’ve just been sitting on the floor every evening with my laptop or watching TV, and letting her run around and do as she likes – I’m hoping once she’s comfortable with the house, she’ll get comfortable with the big two legged thing. I

      I’ve been letting her hop in and around the carrier, but it’s just a matter of getting her to do it when I want her to! When I wave a sultana around in front of it she just looks at me like I’m mental.

    • You are correct, they do not like it. Some will however tolerate it and Frida even asks to be picked up…but she’s special like that (and I suspect jealous of the others and wants to show me I am HERS).

    • Nah, that’d be the end of her if I let her outside. There are so many cats in my neighbourhood, not all of which are as pussy (so to speak) as Mini.

  6. Yes, you have. We have wild bunnies around here. And I wonder that too: how does anything ever catch them?

    That’s SO nice she’s using her litter. And being a bunny, she will naturally want to destroy other bunnies in her turf, including dust bunnies.

    • Thankyou Kim – the first step is admitting I have a problem 🙂 I’m thrilled at the litter thing. I’m anal about keeping the house clean, and I was fully expecting to clean up a lot of little messes. It doesn’t even smell!

      Yeah, I sure don’t know how anything on four legs could catch them. I can see how a hawk would have the element of surprise, but animals like dogs aren’t exactly stealthy.

      • NEVER come inside with dog poo on your shoe…she will definitely leave poos everywhere then and probably not forgive you for a week.
        I have not mentioned vaccination, please get her jabbed. Myxi is prevalent in OZ and the jab is not 100% effective but pretty good at giving her a fighting chance if she contracts it. In fact if you go for a walk where there are wild bunnies, take off your shoes before coming into the house and sterilise them.

        • She has her myxomatosis and calici vacs up to date – one more bonus for adopting from a shelter 🙂 I never thought about her catching it from wild bunny poop though – thanks for the heads up.

  7. I’ve learned more about rabbits here in the last 2 weeks than I had from all other sources in the previous 6 decades. Now….let me lower the educational tone. Re getting Roman into the carrier to go to the vets…….if she’s happy to poke around in the fridge when you open the door…..surely just a couple of minutes inside there would lower her metabolic rate to the stage where you could harmlessly transfer her into the box?

    I’m happy to conduct some research trials next time I visit.

  8. I had not either till my friend who runs the Hare Preservation Trust told me. Well done with the jabs on the shelter! I miss my big city vet, she used to give us a discount on jabs (secretly – she would charge for less buns than we brought in).

  9. I should have told you, a top loading carrier is much better for bunnies. We have two and we use them for the more “difficult” buns.
    Herman of course had to have an extra large carrier.

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