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Building Housing for Pet Rabbits

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/28/2007 | Pets and Animals
Ask most people about pets and you will probably hear a response that talks about dogs or cats. In more rare circumstances a pet owner will be a fancier of guinea pigs or gerbils, or even more exotic animals such as snakes and spiders. But there is a growing trend toward smaller mammals, including ferrets, rats, and especially rabbits.

Rabbits are unusual in our society as they are one of the few animals that are viewed as food by some people and as pets as others. The number of homes that have indoor rabbits has been increasing at such a pace that there now exists a House Rabbit Society organization to distribute useful information about how rabbits may be kept safely and in a healthy manner within a home situation.

One feature about rabbits that interferes with them enjoying free run within a home is their propensity for chewing. Although rabbits can be successfully trained to use a litter box, it is more difficult for them to be convinced not to chew such things as furniture legs and electrical wires. This is why many owners of house rabbits seek an indoor hutch or rabbit cage in which their long-eared pets may be kept when they cannot be supervised.

According to the House Rabbit Society, a rabbit's housing should provide several things. They need to be able to fully stretch out in all directions. They require at least two levels, so they may jump up and down for exercise. They need a supply of food, especially hay, as well as water. And, of course, a litter box is needed.

A recent trend in building indoor rabbit hutches is to make a "bunny condo" out of modular storage cube squares. Many hardware and home furnishing stores sell 14-inch square wire cube components for making modular storage units. These squares can be used to construct a multi-level rabbit house that provides sufficient space for all the requirements as specified by the House Rabbit Society.

Building a rabbit condo that is three squares wide, three squares high and two squares deep will create a space measuring more than 28 cubic feet in capacity. This is far more spacious than the average dog carrier that many people use for housing their indoor rabbits.

When building a rabbit condo, several other considerations should be kept in mind. The bare wire floor should never be used by itself, but should be covered with a material such as plywood. For ease in cleaning, covering the flooring and shelving with vinyl tiles or linoleum is recommended. However, it should not be too slippery a surface, as rabbit feet were designed for hopping on natural earth and grass, not on smooth artificial surfaces.

Numerous plans for rabbit condos are now available across the Internet, and most of them would provide all the safety, security and living space a house rabbit needs. Still, they cannot be locked away all the time. Even a rabbit in a fancy condo needs to get out into the house for some good exercise including running and jumping for several hours at a time.