Rabbits! - Page 84
Poll Results: I love rabbits because...
27% (45)They're sooo cute!
7% (13)They're friendly!
22% (37)They're entertaining!
42% (70)They've cast me under their fluffy spell!
- Ordure Heir
People who believe that rabbits are naturally social creatures misunderstand the true nature of a rabbit. In the wild, the European wild rabbit is the only kind of rabbit that is ever found living in groups - every other kind of rabbit lives alone. This is why people think our domestic rabbit (which is descended from the European wild rabbit) is social. But when people have actually studied the behavior in the "groups" of wild rabbits, they have not found any kind of "social" behavior - no shared care of the young, no mutual grooming, none of the things that indicate a group bond. What they have observed, is that it is "every rabbit for itself" within the colony - and that even applies to the tunnels. Each tunnel has one owner; namely, the rabbit that dug it. If any other rabbit enters another rabbit's burrow, it is promptly attacked. There are no "friends" or "family" in a wild rabbit colony - there are dominant rabbits that have fought their way to the top of the pecking order, and subordinate rabbits that may spend a lot of time just getting out of the way of the dominants. The dominant rabbits usually have the tunnels that are at the center of the "warren," and the subordinates' tunnels are located more toward the edges.
When the researches have looked at the area the rabbits are living in, they have found that most of time, the rabbits are concentrated in areas that have the best conditions. The surrounding soil is too sandy, too wet, too rocky - for some reason, it can't support tunnels, so the rabbits are forced to live in the limited areas in which they can dig tunnels. In areas where good conditions are more widespread, the rabbits spread out - which makes it look like the rabbits live together by necessity rather than by choice.
Most of the people who have experience with breeding rabbits can tell tales of rabbit aggression as bad or worse than the ones I have mentioned. My rabbits have behaved like perfectly normal, intact, sexually mature rabbits do. The only thing that has been stressing them is that they don't have thousands of square feet of space in which to spread out and get as far away from each other as their instincts tell them they need to.
- POOF Goes the Pooka
I hope your rabbit makes it through the night.
Rabbits instinctively fear things that tower over them, so even a rabbit that is friendly when it is in a cage that is waist-high on you may run from you when it is on the ground. If the rabbit is normally friendly, you can try just sitting still on the ground with the rabbit's favorite treat, and let it come to you.
There are live traps (Havahart is the most well-known brand) that may be useful for a rabbit that simply won't be caught any other way.
Some people use small nets to catch chickens or other poultry (like those used by anglers to land hooked fish); these can be useful with spooky rabbits, too.
If there is a corner, or if you have some fairly sturdy things that you can set up to make a corner, you can drive the rabbit into it and catch it there. What would be best would be something that can make a 3-sided "pen" that can be closed at the open end once the rabbit is inside, preferably along a wall or something that will make it easier to get the animal to move into it.. It wouldn't have to be very high - while a scared rabbit can jump things a meter or more high, one that isn't scared will often turn back from things that are half that height. This is a good time to practice your acting skills, because animals read our "body language" much better than most people do. If you approach the rabbit with your attention focused on it and your body language all "I'm gonna get you," the rabbit will see you as a predator and will run away from you. If you act like you don't care that the rabbit is there, like what it is doing is of no interest to you at all, the rabbit will most likely let you get pretty close to it, and if it moves away, it will go at a pretty slow pace.
When you get your "trap" set up, you can start to push the rabbit toward it. GO SLOWLY. You have to approach this with the mindset that you have all the time in the world. Move toward the rabbit, but look away a lot, and keep your body language casual. If the rabbit starts to run, DO NOT CHASE IT - walk off in a different direction. If you chase the rabbit, it will panic, and all bets are off at that point. Try to move in a way that keeps the rabbit between you and the trap, because you want to herd it in that direction without seeming to be pushing it, if you know what I mean. If you do this right, the rabbit won't run from you - in fact, I have had escaped rabbits I was following come right up to me and put paws on my feet or knee. This is a small, naturally shy animal, so if you make yourself as non-threatening as possible, it may overcome its nervousness and come to you. If you get the rabbit cornered, approach quietly, talk softly, do what you can to reassure the animal that you are safe and familiar and not going to hurt it, and hopefully it will hunker down and let you pick it up without a lot of drama and struggle.
Thanks so much, Bunnylady, useful advice for anyone in the same spot
He's fine, I went out first thing and he went into the back shed. Went in behind some "stuff" that wouldn't let him keep going out the other side, he had to turn back towards me and I picked him up then. He more or less followed your instructions, all by himself
They had some huge bird nets up at a bird shop I visited the other week. I was going to get one in case I needed to use it on a chicken (my big girls are tamed, but my young ones maybe not so much). It is now top of my "to buy" list. Lewis isn't wild, as you say he was just doing his bunny "I'm prey, better get away" thing. He would come to me and take some treats, but he didn't want to be "grabbed". A foot out of reach is enough to have succeeded with that.
(I've no doubt that my anxiety to get him inside was being semaphored to him.)
Have you researched how to look after bunnies? Will you keep them separate? They won't automatically "get on". You might be better off looking at adopting a bonded pair rather than 3 girls.
Anyway, to answer your question, you might like to consider the same breed as my star of "Prison Break", Netherland dwarf. Lewis is a black otter, but there are other colours.
(You should consider temperament over looks. Although bunnies look "sweet and cuddly", they may not be, and some breeds are very independent and shouldn't be the first option for a new owner. Hopefully any responsible breeder won't sell you a "non-pet" type, but also do your own research first)
Edited by potato chip - 3/1/16 at 4:14pm