Posted: March 13, 2008, 4:30 p.m. EST
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Rabbits see the world from an entirely different perspective than people do.
View 1 – A rabbit sees nothing but your outspread hands zeroing in toward its body.
Your perception: Look at my cute little bunny napping in the corner. He wants to be picked up and cuddled.
Your rabbit’s perception: Predator! Those claws are trying to grab me and whisk me away!
Solution: Don’t sneak up on your rabbit and snatch it up in your arms. Instead, accustom your rabbit to friendly handling (don’t chase it around or force interaction), and use healthy treats and gentle petting so your pet associates you with good things.
View 2 – A rabbit sees a child’s inquisitive expression and prodding fingers just inches from its face.
Your perception: Kids love rabbits, and rabbits love kids!
Your rabbit's perception: Oh no! Not him again! These smaller humans always chase me until I am tuckered out — and just when I think it’s OK to sit down and rest, I’m half way off the ground. I better close my eyes tight, too, — last time I looked up, I got poked in the eye.
Solution: Consider your rabbit the family’s pet, not just your child’s pet. Children often don’t recognize when a rabbit is afraid or wishes to be left alone. Supervise your child when he or she is around the rabbit. Have your child sit on the floor next to the rabbit to pet it instead of picking it up.
View 3 – A rabbit sees a tangled nest of black and white cords underneath a couch’s end table in your family room.
Your perception: My rabbit must be admiring my table because he keeps hopping over to it ... wait a minute ... why doesn’t the phone work?!
Your rabbit’s perception: Ooh, la, la! Are those wires I see? I love the taste of wires!
Solution: Rabbits are very quiet when they are up to mischief — and one quick nibble can render your appliances useless. Before you allow your pet loose in a room, protect all wires and cords with plastic tubing, or place them high out of reach so your rabbit can’t get to them.
View 4 – A rabbit sees a texturized rug of thick, bristly threads that is easily moved.
Your perception: This rug adds depth to the room and goes well with my chairs. Floppy will like the feel of it, and this will keep him off my white carpet.
Your rabbit’s perception: Finally, some real fiber! I will chew on this for a while and then use it to keep my nails in shape when I see how far I dig through it.
Solution: Don’t put your expensive rug in your rabbit’s area. Instead offer your pet rabbit-safe grass mats to dig up and chew.
View 5 – A rabbit sees a small opening under a low-lying armchair with wooden pegged feet.
Your perception: Where did my rabbit go?! He was here a minute ago, circling the room, looking for something.
Your rabbit’s perception: This room is so wide open ... I will hop under that chair for protection and to keep my person from putting me back into my pen.
Solution: Take a look around your home for low areas that might attract your rabbit. As long as you know where your rabbit is — and it is staying out of trouble (e.g. not chewing on the furniture or marking its territory via urine and droppings) — let it enjoy a little snooze under its favorite chair while you sit and watch TV or read the paper.