Monthly Archives: January 2017

Loving Your Rabbit

With long ears, a twitchy nose, and a puff ball tail, rabbits have long been a popular pet. Caring for your pet rabbit can be time consuming, but, if done right, it will give you the affections of a beloved member of your family.

Choosing the right hutch: indoors or outdoors

In the past, rabbits were largely kept outdoors. Provided with a sturdy hutch, they can be kept safe and clean outdoors. They can also be given an enclosed area of grass for a run.

However, many now prefer to keep their rabbits indoors. Inside, they can be kept in a hutch or allowed to roam free as house rabbits. In either case, they should be given plenty of time to exercise.

Exercise for your rabbit

A rabbit’s main exercise will be running, or hopping around. The larger the area, the more they will be able to do, but any exercise area should give them enough space to do several fully stretched hops. It is also possible to train a rabbit to walk on a lead, but many rabbits do not enjoy having a harness or lead on.

Another way of giving your rabbit exercise is to make them search for their food. Rabbits will naturally graze on plants throughout the day, looking for hidden treats. Your pet rabbit should have plenty of good quality hay and free access to water throughout the day. Rabbit pellets and fresh fruit and vegetables can supplement the hay. Each rabbit will have its own preferred food, but there are some that can cause problems for any rabbit.

What to feed your rabbit and understanding them

Keeping your rabbit away from dangerous foods, such as the leaves and stems of tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and too many processed treats, can do a lot for their health. The biggest health concerns for rabbits are related to their digestion, including gut stasis and bloating.

It’s important to understand the signals your rabbit gives. In nature, they are a prey animal and much of the prey behaviours are present in pet rabbits. Most notably, they do not do anything to express their illness or pain. As a rabbit owner, you must be able to notice small changes in your pet’s behaviour or eating habits and be ready to get them medical treatment as soon as possible.

Are rabbits right for you and your children?

The need to carefully monitor rabbits is part of why they are often not suitable pets for children. While children can enjoy playing with a rabbit, they may not have the ability to give it the veterinary care needed. Depending on training and socialization, rabbits may also bite or not tolerate being handled, something many children simply don’t understand.

Like any pet, a rabbit is not a small commitment. Whether you opt for a smaller breed, such as a Netherland Dwarf, or a bigger breed, such as a Flemish Giant, your pet rabbit will require food, healthcare, and lots of attention. You may also need to prepare your home for a rabbit by ensuring that there are no exposed wires that they could chew through. However, a rabbit can also be an excellent pet, bringing a lot of love and joy to a family.

 

The Cons of Exotic Species

What are exotic species? Exotic species are species that are not native to the environment. They can be plants, fish, or animals. The reason they are dangerous is that they can invade a native environment and take over because the native species, whether plant, fish, or mammal, do not have the means to defend themselves against the exotic introduced species.

One exotic species, that is not really so exotic, but comes under the heading of harmful or potentially harmful and can overtake an environment and affect the ecosystem is the common goldfish. Goldfish are plentiful. They are easily obtained. And they may be dumped into a local pond or lake where they can grow and crowd out native species as they eat food meant for the native species. Another fairly well-known example is how pythons have been taking over the Everglades in Florida, even able to consume alligators.

Potentially harmful plants include water hyacinths, giant salvinia, and hydrilla. Exotic fish include Asian carp which go by the names of grass, silver, and bighead; tilapia, and zebra mussels. Harmful plants and animals are regulated by strict state laws. Permits are required to transport them. There are fines if these species are found. There are some permits given to zoologists or for research purposes, but outside of that there are strict controls against exotic and potentially harmful species. Texas alone has a 370 page book that presents information on the various species and similar species. If you do a Google search for “exotic species regulated”, in conjunction with a specific state’s name, such as “Texas exotic species regulated”, you will find the different states have information and links specific to their state regulations. The point is, the issue of exotic species and dangerous species is an important topic.

For example, in the case of the zebra mussel, it is required that boats be drained of water as they leave or approach public fresh water. Plus, these mussels cannot be found clinging to the vessel. Other regulations cover the clinging of vegetation to the boat, or regulations on live bait. The only way to know the regulations for the particular state where you live or vacation is to search out the regulations of that particular state. People in tournaments are covered by special rules and documentation that the tournament organizers possess.

Another form of regulation concerns transporting live, non-game fish in specific geographic locations. In other words, certain geographical locations have specific rules covering only them. These will be better known by the locals, but if you are going into a certain location, it is worth searching out these regulations so as not to be in violation. The purpose of these regulations is to keep the native species alive and well, and keep the non-native species from overcoming the native species and destroying the natural ecosystem.