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Rabbits: For the active and cuddly personality

Rabbits love to run, are very sociable and intelligent.

When deciding whether a rabbit is the pet for you, keep in mind it requires daily attention and care much like the demands of a dog. A rabbit should get lots of exercise, live in a dry spot around your home and not simply live in a cage. Keeping a rabbit caged will affect its intestinal health.

But, a word of caution -- watch your bunny when it is not in the cage. Make sure your house is free of dangling wires and other dangers. Rabbits will chew anything that feels good for their teeth, so you should have toys around for chewing.

Like birds, a rabbit will molt. That's the process of shedding their coat. The areas that shed will grow again so don't attempt to help your pet with this process. Just let the natural progression take place.

Rabbits are farsighted and don't see directly in front of their face because their eyes are positioned to the side. Remember that when you approach your pet and avoid startling them.

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For first-time rabbit owners, Dana Johnson, the chapter manager of the House Rabbit Society in Miami, Fla., suggests buying a rabbit with short hair. They are easier to groom.

Buying a bunny at a pet store will cost $20 to $35. Or, you can adopt one from a rescue society such as the House Rabbit Society.

One costly, but important, factor to consider when buying a rabbit is neutering. An adopted bunny will most likely be neutered, but that's not always the case with a pet store purchase. The cost of this procedure will fall somewhere between $90 and $200.

A healthy rabbit will need to see a veterinarian about once a year. The cost will be around $125. Be sure your veterinarian is an expert in rabbit medicine.

Keeping your rabbit fed is about the most expensive part of caring for this pet.

"Fresh Timothy hay, good quality pellets and fresh greens and herbs will cost a couple hundred dollars annually," says Johnson.

Petdealz.com has cages for $39.99. Those with good ventilation are better than glass cages or aquariums and to protect your bunny's feet, pad the cage with a towel or newspaper and keep it dry.

Your pet rabbit will live for eight to 10 years and, if well cared for, will make an excellent companion.

 
 
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