by Lorraine Valente
As 2011 quickly approaches, many are happy to leave 2010 behind. It has been a year full of changes for many. 2010, according to Chinese Astrology, was the Year of the Tiger. Tigers are strikingly beautiful, like all of the big cats, yet, fierce and dynamic.
The energy for 2011, The Year of the Rabbit, is a welcome change and so different. Rabbit is considered a most fortunate sign under which to be born as it is said they possess the powers of the Moon. Rabbit is quick, fleeting, leaping and hopping. Have you ever tried to catch a rabbit? Just when you think you've cornered them, because they can sit still as the night, seemingly frozen, they are gone...poof~! It's virtually impossible!
Rabbits are vegetarians. Cartoon character Bugs Bunny was often seen eating a carrot, and carrots are known to offer protection for the eyes. Perhaps 2011 will be the year you switch to a vegetarian diet or care for your eyes, as we all must do as a result of close work on computer screens, laptops and cell phones. Rabbits can detect motion from a distance and know how to avoid being seen, ptotecting them from predators.
Rabbits are incredibly sweet animals and make adorable pets. My daughter and I had one years ago who was so smart, yet also quite timid, she never left my daughter's room. It was as if there were an invisible shield at her bedroom door, as the bunny never ventured out past that boundary. When asked to give a presentation in her elementary school class, she chose to discuss "rabbits" and actually brought our bunny into the classroom! I was fortunate to locate her paper written 12 years ago at age nine (9), the last time we entered the Year of the Rabbit, and will share her insights about rabbit!
1. General Information
3. Caring for your rabbit
4. Wild rabbits
5. Breeds of rabbits
8. Popular and famous rabbits
Rabbits-The Year of the Rabbit
By Dana Schmidt, February 16, 1999
Rabbits make very cute and fun pets. They don’t take up a lot of space and the get along great with other pets. I have a female rabbit named Dusty. She has her own cage and stays in the extra bedroom. When I open the door to her cage, she hops out onto the slippery floor. It is funny to watch her because sometimes when she runs on the floor she slips and slides on the floor with her nails. She likes to cuddle up on her towel in her cage.
Rabbits usually trust humans and do not have much fear. If you decide to have a rabbit as your pet, you must be friendly to it otherwise it won’t turn out to be friendly and won’t allow you to play with it.
There are many different breeds of rabbits. Some rabbits are wild rabbits and live outside while others live indoors as house pets. Rabbits who live outside usually live in a house called a hutch or sometimes in a cage. A hutch is box shaped and is usually raised off the ground so it does not get wet. Rabbits who live as pets inside the house usually live in cages.
There are many items you must have for your rabbit if they live outside or inside. All rabbits need a water bottle filled with fresh water.. They also need a food dish, food, a small litter box filled with corn cob and maybe a toy. Rabbits front and back nails should be clipped from time to time so it would be good to have a rabbit nail clipper. Some of the food a rabbit eats are dried corn, rabbit pellets, nuts, oats and hay. There are special hayracks you can buy to hold the hay in a rabbits cage. I also feed my rabbit yogart treats made for rabbits which she really likes to eat.
CARING FOR YOUR RABBIT
Rabbits need fresh water and food each day. Every once in awhile you may want to give your rabbit a fresh carrot or some celery, but not too much of it. Their nails should be clipped on a regular basis. They should also have at least 20 minutes of exercise each day out of their cage or a couple of hours if you are able to.
The correct way to hold a rabbit is by holding the extra skin behind its neck in one hand and by holding the bottom or back of the rabbit called the rump, in the other hand.
Wild rabbits live in burrows called warrens. The female rabbit are the ones who dig the warrens. They do this by digging the dirt with their front paws and push the dirt up to the surface with their strong back legs called hock. A baby rabbit is called a kit. Baby rabbits are born blind and bald and it takes several weeks for them to grow some fur and to be able to open their eyes. In the warren there is a separate tunnel for the mother and her kits to stay in. In this tunnel, there is grass and soft fur pinched from the mother’s coat. She uses this fur for her kits to sleep on.
When the mother needs to gather food for her kits, she leaves them in the tunnel and covers them with the fur so enemies will not be able to find them. There have been many litters of baby rabbits living in my yard and I have seen them.
BREEDS OF RABBITS
There are about forty-five different breeds of rabbits. Some of these breeds are: dwarf, angora, checkered giant and the rex. Rabbits can also come in many colors. Some of the colors are: grey, white, orange, black and brown and they can be multi colored or spotted as well.
Rabbits teeth tend to grow. When they grow too long they start to curve inward. This could mean that the rabbit didn’t chew on enough crunchy foods and you will have to take it to the veterinarian. To prevent this from happening, you can give your rabbit something hard to chew on such as a tree branch or cardboard. This will help to wear down their teeth and keep them short and healthy.
Rabbits have chisel-shaped incisor teeth that grow continually. Rabbits and hares have four incisors in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. They have very powerful hind legs which they use for jumping. Their forelimbs (their front paws) are used for burrowing. The have long ears and a small, soft, puff-like tail. Rabbits, like rodents, can also squeeze into very small spaces.
POPULAR AND FAMOUS RABBITS
Rabbits are well loved by most people. There have been many famous rabbits over the years. Rabbits have been the topic of books and stories, cartoons, holidays, and in advertising to sell products. I will tell you about some of these rabbits below:
Disney’s first rabbit was called Oswald. Oswald was in the cartoon called Poor Pappa in 1928!. After 26 years of cartoons, Disney lost ownership of him and started to make other rabbit characters.
Bugs Bunny was one of the most famous of all rabbits. He starred in the Looney Tunes cartoons on television. He also appeared in a recent movie called Space Jam. He became so popular that he got his picture on his own stamp and also got his star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In Disney’s movie Bambi, there is a rabbit called Thumper who is Bambi’s friend. Thumper got his name because he would always thump his back leg. In Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, the White Rabbit sung the song about being late which is why Alice found herself in Wonderland. In the Song of the South movie, there was a rabbit called Brer Rabbit. He is very smart in a goofy and funny sort of way. In the story of Winnie the Pooh, there is a character called Rabbit. Pooh and Rabbit ate so much they couldn’t get out of Pooh’s house until they lost weight!
The Tale of Peter Rabbit remains one of the most popular children’s book about a rabbit. This is the tale about a rabbit named Peter and how he goes into Mr. Mc Gregor’s garden with his friend Benjamin Bunny and how they eat all of the vegetables in his garden. Mr. Mc Gregor chases after them but they escape. Peter gets very sick from all the food he ate!
The Velveteen Rabbit was a popular children’s book too. This was the story about a toy rabbit who becomes real because he was loved by the boy who owned him.
People celebrate Easter around the world in many different ways. The Iroquois tribe would go hunting and there was a rabbit in front of them. He was the Chief of all rabbits. The rabbit chief would get all the other rabbits together who would dance a special dance to thank the rabbits for their food and their fur.
The Europeans believe that when they see a man’s face in the Moon they often see the face of a rabbit and think that that rabbit is the ruler of all rabbits on Earth.
The Germans think a bird turned into a rabbit by the goddess of spring. This rabbit starts laying eggs since it’s still a bird that looks like a rabbit.
In the United States we celebrate Easter with a visit from the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny brings children colorful eggs and chocolate bunnies.
The Chinese named one of their years after the rabbit. This upcoming Chinese New Year on February 19th, 1999 is The Year of the Rabbit! Every twelve years the Year of the Rabbit occurs.
Energizer batteries has been using the Energizer Bunny to sell their batteries for many years.
I hope you enjoyed learning all about the rabbit. As you can see, rabbits are not just pets in a pet store or rabbits hopping around in the fields. Rabbits are loved all over the world. I love being able to have my own rabbit to care for. I hope one day you will be able to have a rabbit as a pet too!
1. Barron’s Educational Series. Rabbits. New York: Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 1990.
2. Cooper, Elinor. Charming Rabbits. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications Inc., 1982.
3. Harriman, Marinell. House Rabbit Handbook. California: Drollery Press, 1995.
4. Hockman, Hilary. What’s Inside Animal Homes. Great Britain: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993.
5. Martin, Barry. Rabbits as a New Pet. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications Inc., 1996.
6. Roberts, Mervin F. Starting Right with Rabbits. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications Inc., 1983.
7. Siino, Betsy. The Essential Rabbit. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1996.
8. Various Chinese Astrology Internet articles about The Year of the Rabbit.
Wow, I didn't realize how much research my daughter did at 9 years old! I hope you enjoyed learning about rabbit and how it may apply in the upcoming year. What does rabbit mean to you? How might rabbit apply to the upcoming year?
If you want to learn more about this charming animal, Click here: Rabbit Symbolism
If you want to learn more about this topic and others, schedule a phone, or e-mail consultation at Fuchsiastars@aol.com. I'm also available via Skype and Facebook.
Hoppy New Year!
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