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Behaviour problems in the domestic rabbit

Behaviour problems in the domestic rabbit
Behaviour problems in the domestic rabbit
As pet behaviour counsellors we should be aware that pet species include more than dogs and cats. The third most popular mammal pet species in the UK is the rabbit; a species that has been kept has a pet for over 200 years, though it has been kept as a domesticated species for some 2000 years. Attitudes to this animal have changed quite dramatically since the 1980s as demonstrated by advances in veterinary care, and more latterly pet insurance, in response to demand by owner. Since the 1990s there has been an increase in the house rabbit population and more recently an increased awareness of the role of the pet behaviourist when owners have problems with their rabbit’s behaviour. Another reflection of the attitude change is the increasing number of rabbits in rescue societies estimated at 33,000 in 2002, and the increasing number of societies devoted to this single species, currently 300 in the UK alone. Whereas in the past rabbits with behaviour problems would have had a limited lifespan, either being relegated to low level of care until they died, through being abandoned or euthanased.
The rabbit is a common but relatively unknown exotic species. It is often regarded as a “type of cat or dog”. Even simple but fundamental differences of herbivore versus carnivore are not always recognised, with owners providing lamb and rice diets to pet rabbits with diarrhoea as they would their pet dog/cat. Whilst meant with the best intentions, sadly such a lack of knowledge of species can lead to welfare issues both of a physical and psychological nature - as in the case above which did not survive this inappropriate treatment.
rabbits, behaviour problems, companion animals
0285636995
164-182
Souvenir Press Ltd
McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Magnus, E.
ba3f1eea-dee5-4ee9-a8d4-87fcb1e90792
Hearne, G.
73364e81-1a88-4ede-9bff-7110d2bb61a4
Appleby, David
McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Magnus, E.
ba3f1eea-dee5-4ee9-a8d4-87fcb1e90792
Hearne, G.
73364e81-1a88-4ede-9bff-7110d2bb61a4
Appleby, David

McBride, E.A., Magnus, E. and Hearne, G. (2004) Behaviour problems in the domestic rabbit. In, Appleby, David (ed.) The APBC Book of Companion Animal Behaviour. London, UK. Souvenir Press Ltd, pp. 164-182.

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

As pet behaviour counsellors we should be aware that pet species include more than dogs and cats. The third most popular mammal pet species in the UK is the rabbit; a species that has been kept has a pet for over 200 years, though it has been kept as a domesticated species for some 2000 years. Attitudes to this animal have changed quite dramatically since the 1980s as demonstrated by advances in veterinary care, and more latterly pet insurance, in response to demand by owner. Since the 1990s there has been an increase in the house rabbit population and more recently an increased awareness of the role of the pet behaviourist when owners have problems with their rabbit’s behaviour. Another reflection of the attitude change is the increasing number of rabbits in rescue societies estimated at 33,000 in 2002, and the increasing number of societies devoted to this single species, currently 300 in the UK alone. Whereas in the past rabbits with behaviour problems would have had a limited lifespan, either being relegated to low level of care until they died, through being abandoned or euthanased.
The rabbit is a common but relatively unknown exotic species. It is often regarded as a “type of cat or dog”. Even simple but fundamental differences of herbivore versus carnivore are not always recognised, with owners providing lamb and rice diets to pet rabbits with diarrhoea as they would their pet dog/cat. Whilst meant with the best intentions, sadly such a lack of knowledge of species can lead to welfare issues both of a physical and psychological nature - as in the case above which did not survive this inappropriate treatment.

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Published date: 19 April 2004
Keywords: rabbits, behaviour problems, companion animals

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 55157
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55157
ISBN: 0285636995
PURE UUID: 598aa2de-c0a7-430f-9118-b2c3f044ac7d

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Date deposited: 04 Aug 2008
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:37

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