Our Easter bunnies

This has been a long time coming, but now our bunnies are finally bonding!

Spotty (or Pricken as he’s called in Swedish, but it sort of doesn’t sound the same in English! So I’m going to go with Spotty, which is his name, because a black rabbit – obviously…!) came into our home last summer. Our little cuddly PTSD-bunny, as I like to call him. Traumatized after first staying with a person that shouldn’t have had animals, and then spending more than 6 months at the animal shelter, being scared all the time. We instantly saw that he was just a scared little bunny, and since I had a really aggressive bunny when I was little and turned her into the most loving, fun bunny with lots of patience and love, I thought this bunny would get a good home with us. And he did.

At first he was coming toward everyone in an aggressive manner, but that’s just standard scared rabbit stuff, and I just ignored it and treated him as if he was the sweetest rabbit in the world. Besides – he never really bit anyone, he was just scared and not aggressive. It just took a couple of days and then I managed to stroke his forehead really quickly for just a few seconds. The next day, he let me stroke him a bit more and just a week after that everyone in the family got to pet him. After that it was just cuddles all day long, for as long as he liked it which is sometimes for hours on end! Rabbits reeeeeeeally love grooming and being petted!

During autumn we sort of felt that Spotty was being depressed. He didn’t run around in the house, jumping and skipping as he usually did, or lie next to me sleeping, so we figured now was the time to give him a companions. Rabbits are sociable animals and need to be with a fellow rabbit, or if not that, a cat or a dog or some other animal that they can socialize with. We called the shelter and told them that if they get a bunny that they think would be a fit for Spotty, then we’d be up for it.

Enter Missy, sweet and funny, the perfect starter rabbit for any family, because frankly – she’s just not that smart! Spotty can perform tasks that demand that he think ahead, like dragging his blanket to the gate so that he can sit more comfortably. He is a survivor, alert all the time for signs of trouble which is probably why he fared so well in his first home with all the chaos that was going on there with other animals and perhaps not always enough food.

Missy – not so much. She would be fox food if she spent even one hour outside! In theory it should go well to introduce a younger castrated female to an older castrated male, but in practice the intelligence level of these two rabbits was just so different, that it took quite some time for them to bond.

Spotty was really afraid of her at first. And he definitely has the rabbit version of PTSD, he has sometimes squeaked, which rabbits only do when they think they’re dying. He reacted by getting a bad stomach when Missy came to our house, and that was before he even got to meet her! He just stood there, staring at her through the fence.

And Missy enjoyed being Missy! She is a rabbit who lives in the moment. She doesn’t enjoy being petted, which is Spotty’s biggest disappointment at the moment, but perhaps she’ll grow to like it with time.

”Did someone say Food?”

We let the rabbits live in adjoined rooms with a gate in between, so they’ve been able to see each other through it, and we’ve also hand fed them their pellets while they both sit by the fence so that they’d get used to each other’s scents.

Both: ”That’s some weird looking creature on the other side of the fence…”

Missy: ”Fooooood!” Spotty: ”I’ll better eat my food a bit away from the fence, in case that weirdo does something”

At times we have let them have a ”date” in a neutral  are, i.e. the bathroom, but that has never gone so well. And that is exactly where my rabbit training from when I was little kicked in – I am never scared that any rabbit will bite me (and if they do, it’s usually not that bad – they’re teeth aren’t those of a hunting animal), which makes me unafraid to separate two fighting bunnies.

Then just a few weeks ago, I felt the bunnies were in a good place. Spotty had gotten used to having Missy and showed more and more signs of being curious about her, and wanting to meet her. We let him into her area and it was instant love from Spotty’s side at that time. He ran after her, heartshaped eyes all around his head, and she just ran away, completely terrified! (horror music playing)

Spotty was one confused rabbit. Why was she acting so strange? She was the one who had grown up around other rabbits, and should have known rabbit language, but instead it was Spotty who instinctively knew what to do with other rabbits. He put his head down and offered it for her to groom, and she just stiffened and put her own head down until he became angry at her and nipped her in her back. They chased each other a bit until Missy saw some food. Anything trumps food in her world! She even climbs over Spotty, not thinking about if he might bite her (he doesn’t) or not, because – food! Since then they’ve started the real bonding process. Missy is not so scared of Spotty anymore, and Spotty – he just loves her! He sits next to her, he lets her flop right over his nose and lie straight in front of him, and he even grooms her for minutes on end, despite that he looooongs for her to groom him back. Which she does, sometimes, and not for long, but apparently for long enough that he is happy with it.

Our two lovely Easter bunnies, who have found each other at last! It took about 6 months to get them to bond, but it was so worth it!

Finally the best of friends!

”She’s still a weirdo, but she’s my weirdo!”

 

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