Tuesday, December 07, 2010

So Lazy...

Sorry that I haven't updated this blog for so long. Like Hoppy in this picture, I've been quite lazy. Actually, I've been quite busy the past few weeks. But I do need to do a better job of making time for blog-writing.

Everything is going reasonably well here. Hoppy is now nine months old. It looks like we are going to leave him unneutered; we could not agree on having him neutered, so we are going to, uh, leave things as they are.

Of course, that means Hoppy is quite aggressive nowadays, and quite territorial, especially against me. Lately he has taken a liking to our sofa, which comfortably seats two people but has some room for a rabbit as well. He likes it so much that he leaves what looks like hundreds of daily droppings, and the occasional pee. (Luckily our sofa has removable, washable covers.)

I have every reason to believe that those territorial markings are aimed at ME. If he is on the sofa, and I come and sit down to watch some TV, Hoppy will, at best, walk over to my side and softly nip me in the leg, meaning "You're in my space." At worst, he will lunge, attack, and attempt to bite me. But if my wife sits on the sofa, he will come over to her and ask for a head rub, or sit next to her.

It's much worse when I actually try to clean up those droppings. We have small brooms and dustpans for that task. If he sees me sweeping up his pooh-pooh, he will immediately run at me with his aggressive grunt that I've never heard of any other rabbit doing. I have to use my quickest reflexes to avoid losing a bit of my skin... seriously. I can show you scars on my hands that are a result of me being too slow to get out of the way. But that's not all. For several minutes after that, he will literally follow me around the house, making sure that I am not sweeping up any more of his showpieces.

However, if my wife is the one cleaning up his pooh, all is well. Hoppy will even sit next to her, peacefully watching her sweep up his territorial droppings. Unbelievable.

To get more proof that he hates me in particular, when my mother-in-law came over recently, we had her, a relative stranger, sweep up some of his droppings. And all was well! So basically, Hoppy has some sort of vendetta against me in particular.

My solution to this has been to just give Hoppy more space away from me. I hardly sit on the sofa any more. I let my wife clean up all droppings, and basically handle all Hoppy matters except discipline, which my wife gladly leaves to me. This approach has probably saved me a few dollars on plastic surgery fees for my hands, but more importantly, according to advice I've researched on the Internet, giving him space may help Hoppy to see that I'm not after him or his territory, and this may lead to him being nicer to me. We will see.
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  1. Spaying and neutering rabbits is just as important as altering dogs and cats. There are many good reasons to spay or neuter your rabbit:
    Over 15 million adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits are killed in animal shelters in this country every year. Unwanted rabbits are often abandoned in fields, parks, or on city streets to fend for themselves where they suffer from starvation, sickness, and are easy prey to other animals or traffic accidents. Altered rabbits won't contribute to the problem of overpopulation.

    Altered rabbits tend to be healthier and live longer than unaltered rabbits. The risk of reproductive cancers (ovarian, uterine, mammarian) for an unspayed female rabbit stands at 85%, but is virtually eliminated through spaying. Neutered males will also live longer, since they won't be tempted to fight with other animals (rabbits, cats, etc.) due to sexual aggression.

    Altered rabbits also make better companions. They are calmer, more affectionate, and steady once the undeniable urge to mate has been removed. Neutered rabbits are less prone to destructive and aggressive behavior after surgery. Unneutered male rabbits spray, and both males and females are much easier to litter train after they have been altered. This makes them much easier to live with!

    Rabbits are social animals and enjoy the company of other rabbits. But unless your rabbit is altered, he cannot have a friend, either of the opposite sex or the same sex, due to sexual and aggressive behaviors triggered by hormones. Altering expands the rabbit's social circle.

    Females can be spayed as soon as they sexually mature, usually around 4 months of age, but many veterinarians prefer to wait until they are 6 months old, as surgery is riskier on a younger rabbit. Males can be neutered as soon as the testicles descend, usually around 3-1/2 months of age, but many veterinarians prefer to wait until they are 5 months old. If a rabbit is 6 years old, anesthetics and surgery become more risky.

    Spaying and neutering for rabbits is a safe procedure when performed by experienced rabbit veterinarians (see previous article on How to Find a Veterinarian). Unfortunately, the vast majority of veterinarians aren't experienced with safe rabbit surgery techniques. Don't allow a veterinarian with little or no experience with rabbits spay or neuter your rabbit. Rabbit anatomy is different than cats and dogs, and they require different anesthesia and medication. Using isofluorene as the anesthetic and appropriate surgical and after-surgery techniques, spaying and neutering of rabbits is as safe as for any other animal.

    Most veterinarians charge somewhere between $55 and $120 to alter a rabbit, while most spay and neuter clinics charge between $25 and $50 dollars. The cost is well worth the investment. Your pet will be happier, healthier and live longer, and you'll have fewer surprises (unplanned litters, shredded carpet).

    Spay and neuter your pets. It's the right thing to do.

  2. Thank you for the info, Lorna, and believe me, we have talked about all of the points mentioned here. If we come to an agreement to have Hoppy neutered, we will refer to the information provided here.

  3. Whether or not to neuter Hoppy is your choice and your decision only. I love seeing his pictures. He is living the good life!