Baby Proofing with a Rabbit in the Home
Rabbits are social animals. In the wild, they live in groups with underground tunnels that keep them connected, warm, and safe. They’re also known for their wild leaps and fancy kicks into the air, all signifying happiness.
Rabbits are a lot of fun when adopted as pets and cared for properly, but do they present a risk to young children? Not typically, but you need to know a few things about baby proofing with a rabbit in the home.
Rabbits and Your Little Ones – Quick Answers to Important Questions
If you’re expecting a new baby and have a rabbit in your home, you may have a lot of questions. The same goes for bringing a new rabbit into the home shortly after having a baby. We’re going to provide quick answers to some of the most asked questions. We hope to put your fears at ease and help you prepare your home as a safe environment for babies, toddlers, and bunny friends.
Will a Rabbit Hurt a Baby?
A rabbit could hurt a baby if it feels threatened and cannot get away.
Most rabbits have no desire or intention of hurting humans of any size. That’s even more true for rabbits that have lived in a human family long enough to know that the humans aren’t out to harm them in any way. That said, all animals, including good-natured rabbits, will protect themselves if they feel threatened.
Newborns and small babies often flail their arms and legs while mastering body control and early movement. Then they start to crawl, pull to standing position, walk, and run. They can also make loud vocal noises that can startle a rabbit. If a baby or toddler seems threatening to a rabbit, the rabbit may simply run away or hide. It may also bite or scratch to get away from the threat.
Rabbits may also get curious about small babies. They may try to crawl around or over the baby, leaving scratches as they go. That’s why it’s important not to leave your baby alone even with a rabbit you love and trust.
That doesn’t mean rabbits and babies don’t mix. It just means supervision and separation are essential.
Are Rabbit Droppings Harmful to Babies?
Rabbit droppings aren’t toxic to humans at any age, but children may choke on droppings or small pieces of cage bedding. You don’t want to risk a baby mistaking those little brown droppings for food or just something interesting to taste and chew. You can prevent those accidents by cleaning your rabbit’s cage thoroughly and routinely. Make sure older children cannot grab droppings and pieces of bedding from the edges of the cage.
Even when your rabbits are properly free-range trained, it’s possible that a dropping may end up on the floor from time to time. Make sure babies and toddlers are always closely supervised when in any room that your rabbit lives in freely. Once your children are old enough to understand, explain what the droppings are and why they shouldn’t touch them.
Is Rabbit Urine Harmful When You’re Pregnant?
Healthy rabbits present no risk to the health of pregnant women. Some people worry about toxoplasmosis, which is the result of ingesting parasites from undercooked or contaminated meat. Cat feces and urine can sometimes cause toxoplasmosis as well, but rabbit droppings and urine aren’t associated with parasites that may infect humans.
It’s still important to make sure that all rabbits in your home are healthy. Pregnancy is the perfect time to see the vet for a complete checkup, making sure your rabbits are healthy before the flurry of activity that comes with a new baby in the home.
Can I Leave My Baby Alone with a Rabbit?
You shouldn’t leave a baby alone with a rabbit or anywhere near rabbit droppings. Make sure your rabbits are properly caged, and the cage is out of reach of babies old enough to potentially unlatch the door. You may want to create zones in your home for free-range rabbits, ensuring they remain in select rooms. That makes it easier to ensure your baby isn’t near a loose rabbit when left alone for a few minutes.
Are Rabbits Good with Toddlers?
Many rabbits are well-behaved around toddlers as well as babies and older children. Just like dogs, each rabbit has its own personality. Some are more skittish than others, especially when encountered with the flailing limbs of a small baby or fast movements from a toddler or older child. Ideally, you will get to know your pet rabbit before bringing a baby into the home. You will know how your rabbit is likely to react to your baby at all stages of development, though you will never know for sure until the baby arrives.
One big concern is how your rabbit may react if grabbed by a toddler. Young children are often fast and aggressive when something catches their eye. Their attempt to pet or pick up a rabbit could come off as an attack. Rabbits can scratch or bite when they feel attacked.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a rabbit in the home with your toddler. It just means you need to closely supervise all interactions between the toddler and rabbit. You should also teach your toddler not to move too quickly or grab the rabbit aggressively. It’s never too early to start teaching your children about all pets they encounter at home.
Baby Proofing a Rabbit Cage
With those questions answered, it’s time to talk about your rabbit’s cage. If you’ve had your rabbit indoors for any length of time, you already know that even a single rabbit can produce a lot of droppings each day. It’s important to keep those droppings and rabbit urine in check, even though they aren’t toxic to humans if accidently ingested.
The odor from accumulating rabbit feces and urine creates an unpleasant environment for all humans. It also becomes unhealthy for the rabbit with time.
In addition to routine cleaning, there are some things you can do to baby proof your rabbit cage:
- Make sure the cage is out of reach of curious babies and toddlers. Even if they can’t reach inside the cage or open the door, babies may bang toys against the cage or otherwise scare the rabbit.
- Make sure bedding stays in the cage. Small pieces of hay, confetti, and other bedding options are a choking hazard for babies and toddlers.
- Clean the cage while your baby or toddler is safe in another room. It’s difficult to do the cleaning while watching a nearby child to ensure they don’t grab cleaning supplies or piles of dirty bedding and feces. You also don’t want your child trying to help by cleaning the cage for you after watching you do the job a few times.
What if you have a rabbit cage but allow your pet to roam the house free-range style much of the time? You may want to consider caging the rabbit more when your baby starts to roll and crawl. The more active the baby and the more curiosity they show toward the rabbit, the more you need to monitor interactions between the two.
As your baby gets old enough to understand how to interact with the rabbit safely and respectfully, you can allow your bunny more access to your home. Cages are the best way to ensure the rabbit and your baby have their safe spaces to explore and thrive.
Tips for Baby Proofing with a Rabbit
Are you feeling more confident about raising human babies and rabbits together? We hope so, but there are a few more things you should know about baby proofing with a rabbit in the home.
- Make sure your rabbit cannot slip through the holes or slats in your rabbit cage. This is often a problem for small rabbits or babies. Wire is often used to cover the slats, but keep in mind that rabbits have sharp teeth that can chew through wires quickly. One option is to attach storage cubes or other sturdy items to the outside of the cage using zip ties.
- When blocking off sections of your home, use metal baby gates. Wooden gates are no obstacles for the sharp teeth of a determined bunny.
- Make sure baby gates don’t have wide slats that your rabbit can hop right through. You may need to use two or three on top of one another to stop your rabbit from simply hopping over one.
- Keep houseplants out of reach for babies and rabbits. Many are toxic to bunnies, and rabbits are curious animals who love to explore and taste just as much as toddlers. You don’t want toddlers or rabbits digging up the plant or chewing on the leaves.
- Quickly repair or cover up areas of your home that your rabbit has chewed or scratched. It’s not uncommon for rabbits to scratch and dig into carpeting and even tile flooring. They’re also known for chewing baseboards, which can leave small pieces of wood that become choking hazards for babies. Identify these damaged areas and make sure they aren’t a danger to your baby.
You may have other baby proofing tasks, depending on your unique home. The best approach is to get down on the floor and look around your home. What dangers do you see for a baby? What about potential dangers for a rabbit? It’s just as important to protect your curious rabbit as it is to look out for the health and safety of your baby.
Wrap up – Babyproofing with a rabbit
If you have a rabbit, you’ve probably already rabbit-proofed many parts of your home, so you have a head start on child-proofing electrical cords.
With these simple tips, you’ll see that babyproofing with a rabbit is easy and you can still make your rabbit part of your life even with a small child!
Related post: Babyproofing with a cat has lots of tips also applicable to babyproofing with a rabbit
We also got this special collection of adorable names that mean rabbit or bunny for you to check out.