Even though your domesticated (pet) rabbit is not a wild rabbit, his base nature is still intact. His nature is one of a prey animal. Prey animals need small, dark hiding places. For that reason, rabbit retreats should be considered a basic need.
When thinking about which kind of retreat to provide, it is important to consider a few things. Of great importance is whether or not he will consume his retreat, rather than just chew on it and spit out the pieces. Cloth retreats, such as the one shown on the left, are made of cloth-like material. Some rabbits will chew on this cloth but will not consume the chewed pieces. Other rabbits might eat the pieces. Monitoring your pet rabbit will let you know which retreats are safe for him, and which are not.
If you find that the retreat has been chewed on but you find no pieces on the floor around it, your pet rabbit is likely ingesting them. If this occurs, you should remove the retreat and not allow him further access. Also, contact your veterinarian as a precaution. Material in the digestive system would not be good and can, in fact, bring rapid and serious health consequences.
Consuming anything that is not safe and natural (herbivorous) can cause blockages which lead to Gastrointestinal Stasis (GI Stasis). GI Stasis is a fast and silent killer and can come on quite suddenly. The same precautions should apply to cardboard retreats, toys and tunnels – anything your rabbit has access to. Supervise play so that you are certain the chewed pieces do not wind up in his gut (digestive tract).
Cardboard Box Retreats
Domesticated rabbits seems to be very happy with a homemade, cardboard box retreat (and/or playhouse). In fact, many rabbits will stay very busy customizing boxes to their liking. Make sure the box is free of tape, glue and other harmful materials.
Another factor to consider is that rabbits need at least two holes in each retreat – one for entering and one for exiting. In fact, your pet might not take much interest in a retreat or playhouse which only has one entrance/exit. As part of his nature, he feels most comfortable with an alternate, or second, escape route. This is true, even though he is perfectly safe in your home environment.
As always, if you find your rabbit has consumed things he should not, call your veterinarian. If you notice he is not eating, drinking, pooping or becomes listless, it should be considered an emergency.
Purchasing our $9 paperback book, Bunny Conversations, (description below) helps pay for expenses related to our rescued rabbits.
“Bunny Conversations, The Entertaining Dialogue Of Pet Rabbits“ was written by Author Jana Brock. She had the help of two co-authors: a bonded pair of Holland Lop rabbits named Lila and Bandit (also known as “The Littles”). This is a light-hearted, entertaining and informative book. It is also very special. After all, rabbit co-authors are very rare ((grin)). It was written with a wide audience in mind – even those who do not have pet rabbits.
Purchasing the $9 paperback version (rather than ebook) will help us expand so we can rescue, rehabilitate and responsibly rehome more rabbits in need. Helping us distribute this information also helps immensely. To purchase your $9 Bunny Conversations paperback, PLEASE CLICK HERE. Thank you!
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