How-to: Rabbit Acclimation

It is important for every rabbit pet owners learn rabbit acclimation to help their newly acquired pet to adjust swiftly to its new environment. From the moment you get your rabbit from the pet store, your rabbit will experience stress as you transport it going to your home. They need time to recover from that and allowing them to be alone for several hours would help them ease up a bit from the stress.

This is just the beginning of their adjustment as they will need some time to get accustomed to your household. If you have other pets at home, make sure they don’t come in contact with your new pet so it won’t add up to the stress. Your children may become too excited to the new animal at home, so make sure you talk to them first and tell them that these animals easily get stressed and they need some time to become acquainted with them and to the new place. It isn’t the best time for them to be played and carried around.

They have to undergo acclimation slowly to make sure that they adjust properly. Ask the pet store to give you some portions of the food they eat so that feeding them at home will not be as difficult. Their cage and area must be prepared before the rabbit arrives (that is why it is important to plan ahead, and preparation of the things they need must be done prior to acquiring them) to make it convenient for them once they arrived at your place.

You will know that your rabbit had passed the initial shock and they are heading to a better rabbit acclimation when they begin feeding, start grooming itself, and when they show signs of calmness like stretching and resting conveniently in their new cage.

 shy rabbit sitting in cage rabbit acclimation

Photo: Rob “Berto” Bennett | Flickr

Choosing the Right Location for Your New Pet Rabbit

When choosing the best area of your home where you intend to let your rabbit stay, it is important that you consider the following factors:

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• Rabbits prefer a cool temperature, about 12 to 22°C

• Rabbits cannot tolerate the heat of the sun so don’t place them in hot areas or where the sun light directly strikes

• The rabbit cage must be placed on the floor and not on table top.

• Avoid placing them in the noisiest part of your home. Rabbit have very sensitive hearing and would not appreciate too much noise around them.

Creating Trust for Faster Rabbit Acclimation

• Whenever you visit them on their area, always make sure that you don’t create noise that will make them panic. Slowly and quietly approach them and call them (by their name) softly and with a soothing voice.

• Your first interaction with your rabbit from the time they have passed they initial shock, must be easy going. Sit on the floor and make sure your rabbit could see you at eye level. If your rabbit approaches the bar, place some treats in it.

• Do not ever attempt to just suddenly grab your new rabbit. Make an effort to make them feel at ease first. You can do this by allowing them to smell your hands and rubbing their head and back gently before you pick them up. Keep in mind that predators just grab them by their back and doing this to them will not help them adjust well rather they would feel more threatened and stressed to be in their place.

• Keep in mind that petting a rabbit is different from petting a cat or dog. Belly rubs and scratching will not work for them the way they work for cats and dogs. As a matter of fact, rabbits are displeased and stressed with this especially if you are going to scratch or rub their chin and belly. If you want to pet them, do it by scratching the behind of their ears and stroking them gently along their entire back.

You will easily recognize it when your rabbit acclimation had worked because a fully adjusted rabbit would love to be petted and will ask for it whenever you’re around. They will begin going in and out of the cage to explore more on their surroundings and you will start to see them playing and hopping around. Once they are fully adjust, you can start introducing your rabbit to your other animals at home if you have any.

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