The Good Life: Protecting the Babbits

Rabbits have long since been considered a pest in Australia. I mean, the longest unbroken fence in the world was built in the country to keep the rabbits out of precious farming territory.

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The Greater Bilby, endangered in Queensland.  Photo courtesy of DHP

Besides, there’s well documented evidence that the introduction of rabbits can vastly alter the ecosystem. Heck, the adorable little rabbit is believed to be responsible for the decline of several Australian native species such as the Greater Bilby through habitat destruction.

It is no surprise that the Australian government works to control the feral rabbit population through regular releases of biological agents like the Calicivirus[1] (aka Rabbit Haemorrhagic Diseases). In fact, a planned release of the virus is happening across 1,000 sites across Australia as we speak!

For those of you not in the know, the Calicivirus is a very nasty killer. It basically makes your rabbit bleed out internally, until it finally dies from the stress. BUT! A vaccination for this horrible disease does exist and is available at most local vet clinics! Both Bonnie and Clyde are regularly vaccinated against Calicivirus, so they’re covered in the event of a planned release.

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Bonnie and Clyde after being vaccinated.  They’re very upset about the whole situation, but it’s for their own good!

That being said, it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions to protect the rabbits from the dangers of horrible diseases. Both Calicivirus and Myxamatosis are spread by flies and mosquitoes, so you should take steps to insect-proof any rabbit play areas.

To protect our precious bunnies, The Boobook and I lined Bonnie and Clyde’s outdoor hutch with UV protected mosquito netting. It’s a little bit expensive, but at least it’ll keep them safe.  Plus, we’ve lined the bottom with thick gauge chicken wire so that they can’t dig their way to freedom and get themselves hurt.

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Mosquito-proofed babbit home!

So, now our babbits are free to dance and play in the sun and are safe from the virus come rain or shine!  If you’d like more information on how to protect your rabbits during this viral release, RSPCA Australia has some very useful information and advice available.


[1]Calicivirus is pronounced Khaleesi-virus, but doesn’t have anything to do with dragons, unless you count the fact that it kills kinda messily.

More Animals for the Family

Since the new house that The Boobook and I moved into is much larger than my little apartment and has a spacious garden, we decided to add a little to our family by getting a pair of rabbits!

It’s best to get rabbits in a pair so that they can keep each other company.  As prey animals, rabbits tend towards having a little bit of a protective warren mentality.  A single rabbit on its own might get a little lonely.

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Our new rabbits, Bonnie and Clyde!

It just so happened that a friend of mine happened to have some spare baby rabbits.  See, she’d gotten a pair of rabbits from a neighbour who swore up and down that they were desexed.

Well, they weren’t.  So within a week of her getting the little animals, they did what rabbits did and she was inundated with lots of little mini-lop rabbits.

Bonnie and Clyde (or Bonbon and Clydie, as we call them) were the last pair left of the first litter and she’d kept them aside for me just so that I could have them.  They’re sweet rabbits, both female and extremely well bonded!

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Chillin’ after a good grooming.

Bonnie, the blue rabbit, is more human-friendly.  She loves her cuddles, pats and scritches, especially behind the ears!  She’s always looking out for Clyde and loves to lick and groom her friends (even her human friends!)

Clyde, the brown rabbit, is more temperamental.  She’s got an opinion and she’s not afraid to show it!  She’ll tolerate patting, but absolutely hates to be picked up.  She’s much more adventurous than Bonnie is, and absolutely loves her food!  She’s often face-first in the hay loft as soon as it’s filled.

Either way, I’m happy to have them.  They’re a happy addition to our family.  If they’re well cared for, rabbits can live up to 12 years, so J, Little E and Thumper will have plenty of chances to meet them when you come up to visit!

Now, all this writing has tuckered me out.  I think I’ll have a nap.

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