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Looking after Rabbits & Rodents

What cages/ hutches are best suited for different rodents?

If you go to your local pet shop you can see all the different cages they have to offer for rodents.

For small rodents, such as mice or dwarf hamsters- a plastic tank with a lid is ideal- as they can’t squeeze through any gaps that are in wire cages. Wire cages however are good for larger rodents such as rats, gerbils, Syrian hamsters and small rabbits.

For larger animals such as rabbits, a wooden hutch with wire doors is ideal, with separate areas.

What bedding is best?

A lining of sawdust and newspaper is always recommended in cages; hay and shredded paper or cotton wool makes suitable bedding materials, for sleeping and exercise.

How do I prepare a cage/ hutch?

Lay down the lining first - this could be newspaper or something else that covers the bottom of the cage. Then add a good layer of sawdust over the top. Prepare an area where the pet will sleep, a small rodent will generally like a small house or box to make a nest in. Use hay, or another form of bedding so your pet can build itself a cosy bed. Have a heavy weight food bowl, a light one will be knocked over, and a water bottle. 

How do I train my house rabbit?

House rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, much like a cat! Have a look at this website for more details.

Should I have an outside/indoor rabbit?

Many people argue that a rabbit is actually a pet suited to living outdoors, as there is more room for them to hop around. However many people do keep their rabbits outside in hutches, so there is no right or wrong place for a rabbit - as long as you keep it healthy, keep its living quarters clean and hygienic and give it lots of attention.

A rabbit can be trained to use a litter tray see above for details. However they are also renowned for chewing, (furniture and cables especially) so you will have to bunny-proof the house and provide it with lots of toys.

If you choose to keep your rabbit outdoors in a hutch, make sure it is weather proof, ie- sheltered from rain and wind. Also a run is vital as a rabbit will want to stretch his legs every day.

How do I keep teeth and claws short and healthy?

A vet will offer to trim claws for you, and hay helps keep teeth short and healthy.

What is myxomatosis and how does it affect my pet rabbit?

Myxomatosis is caused by the myxoma virus, a poxvirus spread between rabbits by close contact and biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes.  The virus causes swelling and discharge from the eyes, nose and anogenital region of infected rabbits.  Most rabbits die within 10-14 days of infection. However highly virulent strains of the myxoma virus may cause death before the usual signs of infection have appeared. You can get a vaccination for this disease and also use flea prevention, and make sure your rabbit will not come into close contact with wild rabbits

Can I get rabbits neutered/ spayed?

Yes, of course. In fact neutering or spaying your rabbit has many benefits- such as no surprise litters and also better health and behaviour.

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