February 21, 2018

The Caution of Outdoor Exercise


 Outdoor hazards

 Hawks and crows from overhead

–     There are more and more hawks returning to our area.  It only takes a second for one to swoop down and capture a rabbit running loose in a yard or deck.

Neighborhood loose dogs/cats

–   a stray or wandering dog or cat can enter a yard and attack a rabbit

in their own backyard in a matter of seconds.  Even open top pens

are not safe from dogs/cats/hawks

Harness and leash

Never a good idea.  A rabbit can chew the leash in seconds and be off and lost.  They can also panic easily in a harness and experience shock.  Again, not any protection from attacking hawks/dogs/cats.  We do not recommend harnesses and leashes for rabbits.

Poisonous plants

–       Back yards and gardens are filled with poisonous weeds and plants.
Rabbits will eat them even if they are poisonous.  They do not have the “instincts” to avoid poisonous plants.

Lawns treated with fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides

–       These chemicals are hazardous to rabbits. As they groom off their

paws they ingest the chemicals.

Fleas, mites, flies, mosquito

–       Rabbits can and do get fleas from the grass.  They can also get fur mites.  If the rabbit has any problems or is prone to any kind of poppy butt they can get FLY STRIKE (which is a horrid condition of maggots).  Rabbits can also get West Nile Virus from mosquitoes.


–       This a common condition for any small mammal that walks on the grass (i.e. cats, dogs, squirrels, rabbits, etc.)  It is the bot fly egg laid in the grass that attaches to the fur of the passing animal. It develops into a huge lump with the cutereba larvae in it.  This is very common in our Midwest area and is most prevalent in the fall months.  Many of our vets are seeing increased cases of this.

 Soil contamination and bacteria

        –  The soil naturally contains bacteria and other contamination that a rabbit
can ingest while grooming himself.  Also, raccoon feces in the soil contains Baylisascaris, an intestinal raccoon roundworm that never dissipates in the soil.  This is fatal for animals and humans if ingested or the spores are breathed.



It can be great fun creating play spaces for your rabbit!  Somepeople use a spare bedroom, a basement or corner of a family room to make a great bunny playground using tubes, boxes, Cottontail Cottage, Little Tykes toys, cardboard house, and other things to create a fun, safe and stimulating environment for bunny to exercise, play, hop, leap and dance.



© House Rabbit Society of Chicago