Rabbiting on

While talking to Paula yesterday about pets and pet related matters on Instant Messenger I was suddenly struck by the idea that I desperately want to get a pet rabbit. I think it’s important that Amelia J grows up with exposure to animals as I didn’t get too much of a chance to bond with anything, thus resulting in a life long aversion to animals. I don’t blame my parents as with the best of their intentions we did have the odd pet or three over the years – a tortoise named Timmy (who would chase us across the backyard, snappity snap), a duck named Dixie (who disappeared from our lives very quickly due to a disgusting habit she had of tapping twice on the glass back door early every morning demanding instantaneous feeding or she would drop her droppings all over the back door step) and an extremely aggressive tom cat named Edward.

So I am thinking not just one pet rabbit, who would be terribly lonely, but two pet rabbits. And they would have to be those super cute ones with floppy ears. Brilliant! I thought, what an excellent pet for our little family… soft and cute and can be kept outside so us allergy suffers can still enjoy the pet thing while not itching and sneezing and feeling lethargic. So I put it to Big-P who I was sure was going to be his usual thoughtful self and point out the impracticalities of a rabbit (not that I could think of any at the time) but instead he was keen as I. This morning I started looking up rabbit sites to find out what kind of breeds we should think about and very quickly I decided that an Orange Holland Lop had to be one of the cutest things I have ever seen. But the more I read the more despondent I felt. It seems the only way to not be cruel to a rabbit it to house them indoors away from cats, poisonous plants, heart attacks and (most topically) heat exposure. Rabbits become uncomfortable at temperatures above 27°c – what on earth would happen when it reached 40+ outside while inside remained in the high 30s? Would we have to have Amelia J and the two fuzzy bunnies sleeping in our bedroom gathered around the one portable airconditioner all tossing and turning? Hmm. It requires more thought I guess.

Speaking of the heat, I am feeling very grumpy at the prospect of the temperature staying in the 30s over night.

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64 Responses

  1. From a girl who knows a lot about small animals (and small animals with babies, too), I have to encourage you to seriously consider pet rats. Of all the small animal rodents, they are the least likely to bite and are very easy to maintain. Rats have taken a bad rap (this also makes them a great way to teach tolerance), but if you are interested to know more about them (I have had 20 in total; 7 at the moment…as well as 4 nieces and nephews), email me, okay? Even if you don’t think you want a rat, I’m more than happy to talk about all types of small furry mammals and their particularities. 🙂 In the mean time, have a look at my friend Bella’s beautiful granddaughter, Isabella – she was born to love rats!:http://ratprincess.homestead.com/

  2. Watch out! A rabbit can be pretty cruel to couchs, carpets, and anything else soft and chewy.

  3. Oh bunnies are such a complicated animal for a pet. Goodness, I remember having one as a child and it was attacked by a cat. Then another one a few years later that died in the sun’s heat. It was horrible and traumatic. Parakeets have always been such wonderful pets in our family. Just a thought.

  4. smitchell@jwarch.com says:

    Never really been a rabbit fan, of course I had cats growing up. Just your average moggie mind you. But 4 years ago my wife, who wasn’t feeling clucky I stress, decided that a pet was what we needed. We lived in a unit on the river in Brisbane at the time so a dog (her first choice) was out of the question.She did some research (actually a couple of months straight) & decided a British Shorthair cat was just the ticket. She chose this breed for two reasons. 1) Deborah suffers from allergies (mildly) & these are low allergen animals 2) They are just so fat & cute (her words). Trivia alert – They were the basis for the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.
    We now live in a house & have doubled the number of cats (company for each other, you know) & they still do not go outside.
    Like most cats they sleep all day & then sleep on us during the night.
    Try this site for a couple of pictures
    Commiserations on the heatwave.

  5. anon@anon.com says:

    i’ve heard dwarf rabbits can be a little unfriendly, so maybe avoid those.

  6. Ho ho! Pet rabbits! An excellent choice. I’ve got four myself, and they guard the crib under my little ones at night. I have a little guide to their care here, if you’re interested: http://www.wishbonezine.com/buncare.html
    P.S. Yes, the dwarf variety can be a bit aloof.

  7. You should name the rabbit “Bernard.” Or if you’re going to get two, “Bernard” and “Henrietta.” I don’t really know much about rabbits except that those are good names for them. 🙂

  8. Well, about the allergies, I am allergic to everything with hair, rabbits being THE worst. Rabbit hair tends to be very feathery and stick-to-your-nose-ish. We bred rabbits for many years for show, Jersey Woolies, Holland Lops, Fuzzy Lops, Rexes, Californians, Hotots, all kinds. My pet of choice-guinea pig!! They are ever so cuddly, small, they do have hair that I’m allergic to but since they’re small and enjoy staying in their designated area, I don’t have much problem as long as I wash my hands after I play with him. You can see Chewie on our website. Somethien to at least consider. Guinea pigs are also better off in pairs. Single sex pairs.

  9. feylena@hotmail.com says:

    If you’re looking for cute and furry, you might want to think about a hamster. They’re low maintnance, and cute as all hell. 🙂 Just a thought.

  10. ephall@hotmail.com says:

    rabbits may not be the answer as they could get a bit freaked out when amelia j is moving about a bit more. see http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/children.html

  11. Bunnies are nice. Go for it, Claire! Oh, and I’d actually love to be down there in the heat right now–because it’s 3 degrees F here in Boston, USA! Brrrr!

  12. I’m not much of an animal person (unless they’re illustrated*:), but it sounds like a very nice idea…I hope the bunny is cute, should you choose one!
    I love the meanie trio! Funny!

  13. I had a house rabbit for three years and I did some work for a rabbit shelter. They hate heat. The little ones are cute but tend to suffer from little napolean complexes. Actually, the larger the rabbit the more likely it is to have a mellow personality.
    My rabbit (Trousers) was a dutch and he had an amazingly wonderful personality. He was super sweet and funny, however he was highly destructive. Carpets, baseboards, computer cords, table legs, sweaters, books, furniture. Not all rabbits are that crazy but they have a ceaseless need to chew as their teeth are constantly growing. Nothing in our house was safe. He was a small bunny, but he could jump on top of tables and counter tops. They don’t necessarily like small children either and they communicate a lot by nipping and scratching, which isn’t intense enough to bother an adult but I wouldn’t want one near a baby. Rabbits kept in a yard don’t tend to tame up all that well either.

  14. gayla@fluffco.com says:

    As someone who had exposure to quite an assortment of pets during the course of my childhood (except a duck or a tortoise) I can second the guinea pig over the rabbit. Although they can be a little bit squeally. Mine used to squeal every morning at 6:00am like clockwork. I had an Abyssinian and a regular short hair. The abyssinians are really cute.
    Hamsters are cute but they really aren’t very friendly. Every hamster we had bit. I love rats. They are so smart and friendly. Some people are put off by the tail but I always thought it was neat.

    Now, as an adult, I have one cat and a freshwater aquarium. I have cat allergies but mainly to shorthairs. Have never had a problem with my cat who is a norwegian forest cat (medium to longish hair).

  15. EP – Oooh dear. That page you posted ( http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/children.html ) is enough to make me take a step back from rabbits for a few years. The way Amelia J kicks her legs frantically (to the point of cutting her little feet with toe nails that I am constantly trimming) makes me think she may not fit into the “calm” category.
    Jenna – I think you might be onto something with the guinea pig suggestion.

    Bunnigrrl – I will be interested to see how your adorable little girls (Saige and Darcy! What beautiful names!) grow up with your fuzzy bunnies…

    Gayla – I am amazed that it is the short haired cats that have caused allergies! I would have always presumed the longer the hair the greater the allergy. I will have to keep that in mind. Hampsters are something that I have yet to see – only read about in Judy Blume books and other young adult fiction set in the States. I don’t think they are really an Australian thing. Are they a little like guinea pigs?

  16. m_locks@hotmail.com says:

    bunnies are smelly…they don’t do much either. What about a good ole’ fashioned dog. They are loyal and playful and sensitive, especially if you get a girl dog. They don’t die at the drop of a hat, they’re trainable and they love you forever. Anyway, just a thought. Hey, maybe you should have another baby…tee hee, a bit premature I’m sure. Hey what about a new photo of the family!? 🙂 I bet you’ve all changed a bit.

  17. I http://surreal.nu/mochi01.jpg (up to 04.jpg)
    I recieved him as a gift when he was 4 weeks old, so he bonded with me very well. He was a house bunnie for a long time, but he got big so my mother asked me to put him in our garage. However, he was well behaved and never had any problems. If you let him out in the yard on a hot day, he will la under the shade to avoid overheating. (But you have to make sure your backyard doens’t have any holes big enough for him to run away!)

    Bunnies are easily trained to go potty/poo in a litter bin (using cat pine litter). If you don’t want him to smell, you can muss up his hair with some baby powder. 😉

    My bunnie wasn’t afraid of humans (he runs up to you if you call his name), he chases people, and he also licks your hand if you put your hand under his mouth and rub his head. 😀

    So I don’t think anything is wrong with a bunnie! 😀 😀 I’ve had many (since mine had babies), and they were all potty-trained by the mommy. I didn’t teach them at all! So I highly recommend a bunnie. They’re very loveable, easily trained, and very smart animals. 😉 I really hope you get a bunnie for Amelia!

  18. Ack, the beginning of my comment got cut off because I made a heart symbol. It was:
    I love bunnies! 😀 My past bunnie (he sadly passed away of old age last year) was a lop too. I uploaded some pictures if you’d like to see him ~> http://surreal.nu/mochi01.jpg (up to 04.jpg)

  19. i had a pet rabbit when i was living in singapore. temp there were always 32-35 and high humity… and my rabbit survived… hmm?
    also there is a lady down the road who has a rabbit [she got it from the child care who needed to find it a new home] and it was potty trained!! it’s a beautiful rabbit. and because it got handled so much with the kiddies it loves people.

    made me consider getting a rabbit all over again…

    but fish can be a good source of entertainment for a little while or until your ready for a full-blown pet

  20. I think you can’t go past a pussycat. Especially a Siamese or Tonkinese – they’re so loyal. Also I’ve found that these breeds can tolerate kids, especially ones they live with.

  21. kalikat404@hotmail.com says:

    It all depends on the bunny! We’ve had a motley assortment of bunnies over the years, and some have been anti-social psychos, whilst other have been amazingly-intelligent and loveable.
    The most memorable was a dwarf rabbit called ‘Nibbles.’ We had to keep him indoors after a, uh, nasty accident involving the Siamese sticking a claw in his eye (which had to be sewn shut and was prone to infection. Pirate bunny!), but being kept indoors only made him more sociable. He came when he was called, he sat on laps, he played, he clambered over the bed clothes and nested by my feet, and he only pooped in his hutch, believe it or not. He was a fantastic little bunny. Ya bunnies!

  22. dearmisha@yahoo.com says:

    Rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters sound a bit boring to me. A kid needs a pet she can cuddle and tumble around with.

    In my mind, only a dog fits the bill. I had rodent-type pets as a child, but I didn’t reach pet heaven until we got our long-deceased Labrador, Lucy.

    If allergies are a concern, there are several breeds you could consider. The cutest is definitely the American Hairless Terrier http://members.aol.com/AHTerrier/AHTphoto.html

    Hairless may be kind of weird, but at least they’d do well in the heat! (maybe not too much direct sun, though. Ouch!)

    Basenjis are also nice. They have hair, but are low-allergen and they don’t bark (although they do yodel, apparently). They need firm training, though.

  23. Somehow I missed the bit about the allergies before. If you have such problems, you really need to spend (extended) time with the type of pet you want to have before you decide to adopt. While some people may not may allergic to one animal, another person may be incredibly allergic. Yes, there are some breeds of dogs and small animals that are considered less likely to cause allergic reaction than others, but it’s not a guarantee. You might look to see if any shelters or rescue groups in your area have “foster care” programs. This will give you the opportunity to not only get to know the personality of the given animal a bit more (and see if it will fit with your lifestyle and Amelia’s little fingers), but will also let you know if you’re going to have allergy problems as well.

  24. Oh, and one other thing (can you tell pets and animals are a big deal with me?) — I meant to mention that the Australian Rat Fanciers Society (AusRFS) is based in Melbourne and I’d be happy to put you in touch with some of the best breeders — AU is known for having pet rats of outstanding temperament, health, and color. 🙂

  25. re: short-hair cats more allergy-inducing
    i’ve heard that this may be true, actually. because of how it’s not really the hair that causes the allergies but the dander. supposedly long-hair cats have less dander.

    i’m not sure if that’s really true or not. but my roommate has a short-hair cat and i have a long-hair cat and hers seems to shed way more than mine. it could also be that he is twice (or more) the size of my little one.. 😉

  26. My dad was going to get me a lop once. I REALLY wanted a puppy or a kitten, but my mom was against it, so my dad though maybe a lop. I got a book on them and got ALL kinds of excited and then he changed his mind. Something about TV radiation. wierd. I don’t remember really. Then He thought an African Grey Parrot was THE way to go…they’re the most talented of talking bird AND supposedly, they’re very cuddly (for birds?) I saw one at the pet store and I was terrified of it. In the end, they caved, and we got a puppy 🙂
    Now, as an adult, I have a tonkinese cat. I have no doubt she’s be great with kids, as she is a real people-cat and loves to be with me (and anyone who comes over) all the time, but they’re extremely talkative and active cats that have a LOT of opinions and get into EVERYTHING. BUT, she’s a RIOT, and a loveable one at that. Here’s a pic:

    Anna – Although my old romate had a pet Rat (Soyboy), and he was in fact, a nice little guy, I have to say that there is something REALLY creepy about pictures of babies with rats crawling on them.

  27. annamartin@ivillage.com says:

    My niece has a pet rat (she just turned 7) and it is just the sweetest animal, very smart and good tempered. It has pretty markings — kind of butterscotch on white. She’s had it for about a year or so, and it’s simple enough that my niece can take care of him. We were kind of freaked out by it at first thought, but it really is a great animal to have for.

  28. We have used an anti-allergy solution on our cats that works very well. We need it when my monther-in-law comes to visit, because we have two cats and she has terrible asthma.
    Most people are allergic to cats’ dander, rather than to the fur. A good vacuum, with a HEPA filter, and this lotion stuff pretty much removes any allergy problems. It also helps if you have wood floors, or tile, or anything besides carpet.


    And I second the observation about house-rabbits being incredibly destructive. I couldn’t stand having a pet in a cage, so we let it run in the house. (It was litter trained, like a cat.) But the chewing!! We had holes in our clothes, holes in the walls – the rabbit ate the drywall! He chewed through the speaker wire, through the phone wire, through the screen door. It was a mess.

  29. annelibabe@hotmail.com says:

    Siamese cat !!!! Thats all I can say! I have had one since birth and they are the most loyal and tolerant animals I have ever come across – my first two lived until I was 20 and now we have two more – I would never be without one and as soon as I have my first child, I’ll be getting them a siamese to grow up with – they’ll keep each other company and be best of friends for life – you’ll be amazed.
    I reckon you should seriously consider it! Just a thought !!


  30. While I am thoroughly in favor of dogs and cats, this may not be entirely possible with your lifestyle. Your thoughts of rabbits are not so far off the mark! When I was a very young girl, I had two guinea pigs, and they were amazing pets: however, we later got rabbits, and I was SMITTEN. Guinea pigs can be loud and rowdy, and while they DO make great pets, rabbits are neater animals. They don’t make as much of a mess, there’s not as much of a smell, and our rabbits were friendlier. Another important point is that each and every rabbit has a different personality. Some are INCREDIBLY friendly, like our Neatherland Dwarf mix, Todd, whom we picked up at a fair and had been in a lot of contact with humans, and there’s a wide range. Our larger female, Blackberry, was downright phobic. She was very afraid of humans. The most important points I can stress are making sure you get a rabbit with the right temperment for you, getting a very socialized rabbit, and making sure it STAYS socialized. You don’t actually need two rabbits, contrary to popular belief, and sometimes it’s better to only have one: they tend to bond with you over their companion. The important thing is that they need company, but if you’re willing to spend lots of time with it, there’s no need for two. Most people are not, in fact, allergic to rabbits: they’re allergic to the cedar bedding that most people use, also known as “shavings”. Also: consider the fact that there are plenty of wild bunnies living outdoors. While it might not be wise to have a long haired rabbit outside in the summer, some short haired ones can handle it just fine. If worse comes to worse, you can freeze water in bottles, as we did when our rabbits were living in our garage.

  31. Rabbits…hmmmmm….well, get rabbits if you like the smell of poop and you like cleaning up after them all the time and you don’t mind a pet who won’t be held and get rabbits if you want to attract predators and have to have something worry about in the heat…but the upside is that rabbits are good for a nice Hasenpfeffer.

  32. I just have to pipe in cause pet choices are a thing close to my heart. If you do get a rabbit you should really consider adopting one from a shelter. So many are abandoned each year because they have lost their “cute” factor or people just didn’t want to care for them after the Easter season faded. Also, remember, it is a huge decision. Pets are for life. They are our friends.Okay, I’m done.
    P.S. Love the pics of childhood pets.

  33. Since everyone’s offering their own suggestions for pets, here’s mine. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of owning a chinchilla. My friend had one when I was younger and he said that they have the softest fur of any animal.

  34. oh! that is the cutest thing i’ve ever SEEN! also, i hope you don’t mind that i was inspired by the felt shapes you made for your amelia and made some for my best friend’s new little niece, sarah kate.

  35. Wow – I want that same bunny! And it never gets above 30s here in the summer, unless really, it’s a week or two in the middle of July. But I’m near the ocean atlantic, therefore… And it’s currently winter, and -43C, and I couldn’t IMAGINE having to sleep during the night with the temperature above 30! Dear goodneesssssss. It takes me everything in my might to go through three skimpy months of summer, lol. =) Get the bunny !

  36. gayla@fluffco.com says:

    It didn’t even occur to me that hamsters were such a North American-centrique pet. I really don’t think they make good pets at all but people like them because they are puffy and fuzzy. They are very small and nothing like a guinea pig.
    I really agree with those who talked up the rat as a pet. I had a few many years ago and they were all really sweet and highly intelligent.

    I do agree that it is the dander but I think that the type of hair also plays a role. I tend to have stronger allergies to cats with course hair and many short hair breeds have course, thick hair. My cat has rather thin hair that sheds in lumps while I find that short hair cats just shoot the stuff out everywhere.

    For instance I don’t have cat hair all over my clothes and furniture. And average vaccuming/sweeping keeps things under control.

    BTW: We had a rabbit when I was a kid but I couldn’t play with it as I was highly allergic to it. Go figure.

  37. Just wanted to chip in…I woulnd’t get a hamster, they are a bit smelly and they don’t live long and they wake up at night when you are trying to sleep. oh. or is that gerbils? Clearly I don’t know what I’m saying; I do know that my asthmatic cat-allergic husband has grown tolerant to our cats (although he’s still allergic to other people’s) so maybe don’t worry too much about the allergy thing (and – there are ways around it: it’s the cat saliva not the hair, so I understand). and bunnies, while cute, chew your wires.

  38. i grew up with Samantha the cat. It was like have a slightly snippy grandmother around the house all the time. She never bit me (although she’d yawn rather threateningly at me if i annoyed her and Mum wasn’t looking) and only scratched me once when i went against her wishes and talked Mum into getting me a puppy. i reckon though, get something you want because at the end of the day, you’ll be looking after it!

  39. hueswong@hotmail.com says:

    i too, was seriously considering getting a bunny as a pet (but decided against it cos we thought our old lab would get jealous hehe). later on though, i would love to get a holland lop. they are way too cute!! take your time in searching for the perfect pet.

  40. annamartin@ivillage.com says:

    Forgot to mention before that your daughter may not be as susceptible to pet allergies if she is exposed to an animal at a young age. I _think_ (should check to be sure) that because a very young child’s immune system is not fully developed, exposure to certain allergen-inducers (like pets) at that state may help her increase her immunity to them as she gets older. Plus, if neither of are allergic, she may have inherited some resistance from you. Definitely ask your pediatrician or allergist about it to confirm, but you may find that you can get a pet as furry as you like! 🙂

  41. sarah@lifethroughwords.org says:

    I would not suggest a rabbit with a young child. Not only can they be extremely moody and, but are not exactly the cleanliness of animals. In my opinon, they’re not exactly “kind” — I’d be worried about them nipping or such.
    I would suggest a cat (even though I’m a dog lover — the barking could be slightly annoying with Amelia), even if you did have bad experiences with them in the past. Sure, they’re more expensive, but they’re also independent and are available in short-hair, so they don’t shed all over the house. I also had the sweetest hamster when I was younger, but that might not be right for Amelia’s age — I would suggest starting out small (fish?), and going from there.

  42. I’ve fogotten what its like not to abel to sleep at night for the heat! here in Holland it rarely gets over the 30’s during the day. At the moment its snowing. And as for pets, I had dogs as a kid and can only recommend them. I think they;re wonderful for kids.

  43. CirrusSkie@attbi.com says:

    Here’s a pet story that should be amusing yet sad at once- my neighbor’s bought a ragdoll kitten for their son- she cost $500.00 (American). After 5 weeks, they took her to get her spayed, and she died on the table. Instead of telling their son, they went out, spent $600 on a brand new identical kitten that they drove several hours to obtain, shaved a little hair off it’s tummy where it had it’s “operation” and told him that Blue shrunk because of her surgery.He’s only 6, and I don’t think that was the best way to go about it, but it’s rather funny at the same time!

  44. CirrusSkie@attbi.com says:

    Another tidbit I forgot to post in the last message- I also don’t reccommen bunnies for small children. Kids tend to want animals they can hug and treat a little more roughly then most animals would like- I strongly suggest a small dog (West Highland Terriers are great- very little shedding and extremly friendly critters, I have one) or a cat, since bunnies aren’t so much into being carted around in the arms of a toddler.

  45. chan_dreamer@yahoo.com says:

    bunnies are a great deal more work than most people bargain for. i have two of the exact same ones you’re pining after – holland lops – and, while indeed the cutest things in the world, they are HIGH maintenence animals. they eat a lot, they poop a lot more, and – particular to holland lops – a nose-plugging smell tends to get caught in their long fur unless they are given regular baths, clippings, and the like. they do have to be kept indoors ’cause they’re prey animals, and wouldn’t be happy in an outdoor enclosure that is exposed to grueling australian summers. we keep ours in the cooled basement and they seems quite content down there.anyway, the conclusion here is that they’re a huge responsibility, but i think they’re worth it. 🙂

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  48. j.ketchion@student.qut.edu.au says:

    wow, everyone has something to say about this topic. even me, heheh.
    it gets pretty hot up here in brisbane, but in my primary school they always had guinea pigs as classroom pets. everyone loved them and they didn’t mind all the handling.

    my neighbours found a hamster in their backyard once, though they didn’t know it was a hamster at the time. it was unusual (apart from the fact that they found it in their backyard!) because hamsters are really un-aussie pets. i’ve never heard of anyone else with one.

    and yeah, the orange holland lop is the cutest thing i’ve seen in ages. 😉

  49. RachelPixiedust@aol.com says:

    Oooohhh, you have to get a rabit! I’ve had one for 8 (count ’em, 8!) years and he is the sweetest thing. he’s a house rabbit, behaves exactly like a little puppy, and they’re so gentle!

  50. As a tyke I was completely smitten w/ the Leo the Lop Serendipity Series kids books. So, when I got old enough to have my own pet (we had loads of different kind of pets, and I think it’s great to grow up with them), the only choice was a lop-earred rabbit.
    So, I got a gray lop rabbit and unimaginatively named him Leo. This rabbit should have been in rabbit bliss, since my dad built him an eight foot long cage with open spaces and enclosed spaces. That cage was in the middle of a grouping of trees that was fenced off, so Leo could lope around. PLUS my crazy dad actually dug a network of tunnels for the rabbit, so it could stay cool in the summer. Like I said, this rabbit had the digs.

    Sadly, this was a *mean* rabbit. I was a animal-lovin’ kid, but I was pretty afraid of this one. Once he chased me around the fenced in area (age 10) trying to bite my ankles. Another time Dad was crouched down in the pen – Leo bit him in the butt. Dad stood up and Leo was hanging off his ass!

    In our case, this particular rabbit wasn’t a good pet.

    Right around Easter, I went out to feed Leo and he was *poof* GONE. I was completely freaked out. No signs of him digging on the fence. No signs of escape.

    I lived in a house near a big field with loads of rabbits. A couple seasons later we spotted a couple lop-earred rabbits. Our theory was that someone tried to steal him for Easter, Leo bit his way to freedom and a life of stud rabbit in the field out back.

    That’s my rabbit story to throw in the mix. Personally, I’m smitten with rabbits too, but I would recommend any kind of pet. They teach you a lot and are so good for you. The only dating advice my dad ever gave me was, “Never date a guy who doesn’t have a pet.”

  51. I’ve had every type of pet as a kid, bunnies, cats, dogs, hamsters (no P in hamster), gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, fish and a pony. I love pets so much and I recommend anyone with the means to care for it properly should have one. Here are my comments, based on experience. I don’t think hamsters or gerbils (gerbils have tails and jump more) would live long enough for Amelia to have any memory or benefit from them, but they might be good trial-pets for you. Female hamsters are nasty-territorial and will kill any males that live with them (after she mates, of course). They are noisy at night so you’ll have to have a space for them outside of the bedrooms. They love to gnaw on cage wires, which can get pretty annoying. Birds are cool, but can be noisy and nip at tiny fingers poked through cage wires. I had a dwarf himalayan bunny (named Pipkin, from the novel Watership Down, of course) who was so cute and fun. I swear he had a sense of humor. He never bit, and loved to cuddle. He was litter trained to pee and poo in his box, so his smellyness was limited to a small space that was easy to clean. I love Terrier dogs, but poodle crosses have great personality and are non-shedding (though my sisters’ tend to be “emotionally sensitive”). Right now I have a bicolour cat, Job, who is the coolest cat I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. He has so much more personality than any of the tabbies we had growing up. I think it’s important to research the type and breed of pet you want to make sure it’s right for you, too many pets are let loose or put down or neglected because their people bought them without though. I’m glad you’re looking into the options before jumping into it. After all, pets are people, too!

  52. I spent a long time “Aww”ing over the cute wee bunny pictures, then my mum came over to see what all the “Ahh”ing was about and joined in. I have a bunny of my own (named “Bunny”) who sleeps in a large, specially made in our garden shed. Being Scotland, I don’t think there is much risk of him dying of heat. Every day he comes into the house and wanders about for a while (he scares the cat though – he’s fearless). He’s so lovely and loves to be patted (although make sure they don’t jump on the sofa). He’s a lop-eared rabbit too – I love them, they’re so cute, and look a bit like wee lambs.

  53. I used to have a hamster, and that was pretty cool, but not when it came to cleaning out it’s lovely Rotastak cage-thingy. What a job! I’ve got a tortoise called Toby now, much easier!

  54. a@a.com says:

    clare, bunnies are the best pets! they also eat your house. really. we adore ours and accept that she’ll eat the couch and everything else, when she’s in the mood. for kids, bunnies aren’t always recommended, because they can be delicate and easily hurt. HOWEVER, larger breeds can be great kid friends, because they’re too big to be picked up by the little ones. flemish giants, for example. i can’t imagine having two of those. and you are right — although it’s not common thought in all parts of the world, the only way your bunny will be safe and happy is if it lives inside with you. the more time it spends with you, the more sociable and fun it will be! the link below is to the house rabbit society…everything i learned i learned from them. good luck!

  55. blue@uc.org says:

    Bunnies are really cute, but I have heard (like others) that they can be pretty standoff-ish. Although our flatmate had one for years when she was a kid and she said she never had a better pet. Joey used to fall asleep in her lap.
    On the rat subject — yes!! I love rats. We have six right now (we started with two) all boys and they’re so intelligent and sweet. It takes getting used to for a lot of people… but if they’re kept clean (once a week) they don’t smell, they come when they’re called, go in a litter box, and provide hours of entertainment. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to live very long, that’s about the worst thing… but if you’re considering a low-maintenance, friendly, loving pet, rats are great. They’re like little dogs without the walks and space needed.

    This is the site that got me hooked in the first place — you -have- to look at their pictures before being disgusted by rats: http://www.dapper.com.au

    At any rate, I hope your pet choosing goes well, and you’ll have to let us all know what you decide!

  56. Claire, rabbits are super sweet. Mine is just adorable, but to forwarn you, they will eat electrical cords and the wall and your carpet. You have to keep them off of tile/wood so they dont slip or get a cold. They can be very loving though, and mine even jumps on my bed and then nudges my hand to be petted! Also be warned that they can snap if you get in their space and they may bite, its just their shy nature. Other than that they are wonderful pets who love attention and will truely win your heart 🙂

  57. ebaxter@ebsworth.com.au says:

    My sister recently gave her son a rabbit for all the good reasons you list – to help him bond etc etc. My nephew named the rabbit Angel I guess after the angels in the Christmas stories. Unfortunately Angel must have thought he was named after the the VAmpire of Buffy fame because he seems to spend most of his time jumping out from behind things and biting people. Mostly my nephew! So much for bonding! I think Angel might be on the market to a good home shortly…

  58. janet@yahoo.com says:

    about chinchillas …
    they’re extremely heat sensitive — over 26 degrees and they can get heatstroke and die. also, they do not like to be held, are skittish, not intelligent, and chew everything. most definitely not a pet for a child.

    i have 3 though, and they ARE very cute and soft 🙂

  59. looloop@hotmail.com says:

    Bot it just goes to show you, chat about the weather or pets & people are so forthcoming, I find it the same on long-distance phone calls, it seems to be something that is safe ground for us all.

  60. Being a bunny owner i highly recommend them as pets. They are fairly easy to take care of and are easily litter box trained. If you keep yours in the house (and treat it in much the same way you would a cat) you’ll probably find that the bunny develops a very distinct personality–and they are just sooooo cute! The house rabbit society has lots of info.

  61. I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

  62. helenm3@optusnet.com.au says:

    I have just bought a grey cashmere dwarf lop earred rabbit, 10 weeks old. Not toilet trained. Has wee-d on my chest twice already, once on the lounge and poos everywhere. I’m wondering what I have done.