Arts & Leisure

Dear Homeward Bound: Should bunnies be kept outdoors?

Dear Homeward Bound,

My friend has a really cute bunny, Bugsy, that lives in her room and we hang out with her when I’m over there. But one time we forgot to put her back in her cage and she chewed up some cords and peed on the carpet. Now my friend’s dad says it’s not safe to keep Bugsy inside and that she needs to go outside and live in a hutch. We think this is really unfair and are wondering if you have any advice about what we could say to get him to change his mind and let Bugsy live in the house.



Dear Determined,

I have to agree with your Dad that chewing cords can be dangerous but I don’t agree that banishing Bugsy to life in a hutch is the answer. It’s not really so much that a rabbit shouldn’t be outdoors and in fact supervised outdoor time is really important for bunnies to be able to run and jump and nibble. The problem with hutches is that they really don’t meet a bunny’s needs for exercise and socialization and weather extremes can even endanger bunnies. Bunnies are super-sensitive to heat and can actually die from overheating in a hutch that gets too hot. In addition, most hutch flooring is wire and wood which can be bad for a bunny’s feet.

I think many bunnies end up in hutches when people get frustrated, like your friend’s dad, by the fact that they chew — wires, wood, carpet, books, you name it. That’s frustrating and it is important to make sure you have a way to contain your bunny inside when he or she is not in the cage. A great solution is a round puppy play pen; they can run and hop and stretch out without getting access to anything they might destroy. A wire play pen can also easily be taken outside for supervised fresh air for Bugsy.

Maybe you and your friend can offer to do chores to make up for the expense of replacing the wires Bugsy chewed and buying a play-pen for future hang-outs. If you have a plan that might help change your friend’s dad’s mind.   Good luck!

Jessica Danyow

Homeward Bound

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