Today is April 1st which marks the 4-year anniversary of Bunny and I meeting. :) Ah, has it been four years already? It was love at first sight, and since then, we’ve been like two peas in a pod. Best buddies for life!!! It still feels like yesterday that she was just an innocent, teeny tiny pom pom. Now she’s a full-grown, sassy, energetic rabbit!
Anyway, I’ve gotten several emails and questions regarding rabbit-care in Korea, and so instead of copying and pasting the same email response to everyone, here are some of my email answers with a few edits.
Should I get a rabbit?
As is with any companion animal, if you are considering getting a rabbit, please do your research beforehand to see if a rabbit would be the right fit for you. Honestly, having a rabbit is no walk in the park. I say this not to scare people off, but just to let everyone know that rabbits are big responsibilities and commitments. They might look like easy-going animals, but bunnies are high-maintenance and they require plenty of care and attention. They do not all like to be cuddled, and if handled in the wrong way, they can bite hard or deliver a mean kick! Moreover, unlike hamsters or gerbils, rabbits can live up to around 7 to 10 years old, so keep that in mind if you’re only planning on staying in Korea for a year or two. Also, please do not support the cruel business of buying and selling animals by getting a rabbit (or any other pet) from a pet store, or from a seller on the street. If you’re looking for some bunny-love, how about adopting or fostering one temporarily from Animal Rescue Korea? There are always abandoned animals in need of loving homes! :)
What do you feed your rabbit? Where do you buy rabbit food?
The majority of Bunny’s diet is timothy hay. When she was a baby, I fed her alfalfa hay too, but not so much anymore. On top of the roughage, she gets bits of lettuce and kale, some carrot peels, orange fibers (the white dry bits, not the rind), some apple slices and skin, strawberry tops, and banana peels, all in moderation… It’s convenient that she’s vegan too (raw-vegan)! I also have a bag of rabbit pellets (which she loooves), but I only give them to her as a ‘treat’ maybe twice a week since I think they mess with her digestive system when given in large doses. These days, I buy pretty much all hay from gmarket, such as here. It helps to know Korean, but here are some other online Korean rabbit-care supply stores:
The House Rabbit Society website was invaluable when I first got Bunny and didn’t know how to take care of her. Lots of good info.
How did you litter train your rabbit? Any advice?
Hm, wow, it was such a long time ago that it’s hard to remember what I did exactly. I found that for the most part, getting her to go in her litterbox wasn’t tooo hard, but it did take some time and patience. There were definitely “accidents” around the house (and on bedsheets! don’t let her go on your bed, until your bunny is fully potty trained!), but after she got spayed and as she matured, that got a lot better. She hardly ever (very very rarely) pees anywhere else now. Some times, she’ll leave a few droppings in my room, but for the most part, they are contained in her box, or at least around the box. I think when she jumps out of the box, some droppings accidentally come flying out with her. haha. But the droppings are dry, so they’re super easy to just sweep up. Also, in the beginning, I remember I had multiple litter/hay boxes in every corner of the room, but now she only needs one.
For a new rabbit care-taker, my advice would be not to give your bunny full reign of your place yet… start with a small space, and over time, you can give it more freedom. My Bunny only gets full freedom when I’m at home. But when I go out, I leave her on my veranda area, which is officially her “space”.
What kind of litter box do you use for Bunny?
Wow, I went through several different litter box-methods before settling on the one I use now, which seems to work best. I just use a shallow plastic, rectangular box/basket, which I line with “puppy padding”. Then I put a huge handful of hay in the box every day and she does all her business in that box, while she munches away. It’s weird to think of going to the bathroom while eating, but it seems like that’s just natural for bunnies. I change the padding about every other day, or every three days. I tried using newspaper shreds at first, but they just don’t absorb fast enough. And everything just gets a lot messier (also, I got tired of having to ask my landlord for their used newspapers!)
Where does Bunny sleep?
She has a cardboard box that is her little cubby hole. She hides in there during the day or whenever she’s sleeping. She also likes to sleep under my bed- anywhere that’s dark and out-of-reach!
Does Bunny show affection?
Yes! Okay, so she doesn’t come running up to me when I come in the door, she doesn’t purr, and she doesn’t climb onto my lap to be petted, but she does show affection in other little ways. For example, whenever I pause from scratching her head, she’ll lick my fingers, which is a rabbit’s way of saying “I like you.” :) I’ve also noticed that she treats me differently from other people. She definitely knows who I am, and is much more comfortable with me. She won’t let other people pick her up, but she doesn’t mind it when I scoop her up. Sometimes she’ll let me carry her around like a baby, until she “wakes up” from her trance and scampers off.
Why did you get Bunny spayed?
Getting your rabbit neutered or spayed is important because we all know how fast they can reproduce and we don’t want extra bunnies ending up in shelters… I got Bunny spayed when she was around 7 months old… Before that, she was humping my foot like crazy! She’s much calmer now. ^^
How do you deal with the fur?
I vacuum every day, brush her whenever she’s shedding, and I use packing tape like lint-rollers to get her fuzz off my clothes.
Do you ever take Bunny outside?
Occasionally. Not very often because she’s not too easy to “walk” and I would never let her run free outside without a leash. She’s also a bit of a prissy pot in that she hates getting dirty and will stop every 5 minutes to groom herself. I think she’s happier indoors.
How does Bunny deal with traveling?
So far, she’s only traveled between Seoul and Cheonan, which is about 2 hours travel time. She’s gone on the subway, express buses, and cars. I’m sure it’s a bit stressful for her, but she seems to handle it fine. When I take her to Cheonan, I put her in this big plastic carrier, along with some hay and pellets. It’s pretty big and heavy, but it works.
Do you provide toys for Bunny to keep her mentally stimulated?
I don’t have any specific toys that I’ve made for bunny (she has never been interested in toys), but I have a mat on the ground that she likes to run around on, and occasionally, she’ll jump around on my bed, trying to straighten the sheets. I also play with her a little every day, like feeding her treats and stuff. Sometimes I hide treats around the apartment for her to “discover.” hehe.
Would you ever get a playmate for Bunny?
I would love for Bunny to have a friend, but I don’t think I can handle another rabbit at this point in my life! Luckily, I work from home, so she’s not all alone during the day. It’s a possibility in the future though. :)
Can Bunny do tricks?
What, like balance things on her head like Oolong? phftt~ piece of cake.
Well, that about covers all the Bunny-care questions. Hope it was helpful for some of you. Even though taking care of Bunny has its challenges, she has brought much joy to my life too. She definitely makes living on my own in Seoul a little less ronery. :) If you have other questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them best i can.