Thanks, Easter Bunny. Pros and Cons of Pet Rabbits

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.17.03 AMBy Leslie Yager
Eddy and Lilly are two lucky Mini Holland Lops.

They have the run of the Sperduti-Matesevacs’ home on Valley Rd and follow their humans from room to room, up and down the stairs. Correction. They need to be carried downstairs. But even though they occasionally vanish only to be found in the coat closet or laundry room, the two rabbits have got it made.

Diane Sperduti wouldn’t have it any other way. “If you keep them in cages they get angry,” she warned, and though the rabbits have cages in her daughter Maggie’s room, Eddy and Lilly mostly roam free, and are friendly and calm as a result.

ImageRabbits’ teeth grow continually and the Sperduti-Matesevacs provide a supply of kindling for the bunnies to use to chew. “Otherwise you need to bring them to the vet to have them ground down when the teeth get long,” Maggie said.

And though rabbits do indeed shed, and cause allergies in some humans including this reporter, they do not need to be walked on a leash or have a fenced in yard. In fact, the Sperduti-Matesevac family installed a rabbit flap in their Greenwich dining room with access to an outdoor pen. Unfortunately, that freedom came to an abrupt halt one night.

ImageAs Joe Matesevac tells it, daughter Molly woke up to get a drink of water around 2:00am and heard what she thought were intruders downstairs. Overcome with fear, she crept downstairs and discovered a stack of cookbooks had fallen across the dining room floor. As she walked from room to room, she spotted the intruder.

“It was a ginormous raccoon,” Molly said. Fortunately the family’s the series of baby gates came in handy, and they corralled the raccoon in the dining room. Armed with only a softball bat, the family was happy when a Greenwich Police officer, armed with a dog snare, was dispatched to their home.

ImageThe family realized the raccoon had come in through the rabbit flap, but that the cookbooks were blocking his exit. Fortunately, it required only a broom to shoot him back outside.

As the family high-fived the police officer, they couldn’t understand why the raccoon sat outside on the patio outside staring back in at the five of them through the sliding glass door. A non-human noise in the living room led to a second raccoon who was hiding under the sofa. Out he went.

Image“We still see the raccoons,” Maggie said. “They peer in the windows at night and watch us watching TV, like they’re part of the family.”

Lest a reader run out and buy a pair of bunnies in time for Easter and anticipate years of companionship, there are a few challenges presented by owning rabbits.

Image“They love to chew cords. Phone recharger cords, television cords, lamp cords,” Diane warned. The family protects all their cords inside special protectors.

They need to chew wood to grind down their teeth and all the wood moldings along the floors and walls are fair game, though a steady supply of kindling is gratefully accepted by Eddy and Lilly who like to sit on the fireplace shelf and gnaw on the kindling.

What You’re Really Wondering
Now that Eddy and Lilly have been neutered, they’re calming down and the Matesevac-Sperdutis hope they will stick to the litter box like their predecessors, Cookie and Oreo, who had their own bathroom upstairs and used it exclusively. Until then, Diane said, “At least with dogs, they do it in one place. Rabbits leave droppings as they hop along.”

ImageBunny Kisses
Though Eddy and Lilly lick their human’s faces, a bunny kiss is something else entirely. Molly, home from Union College for spring break last week, is still mourning the semi-destruction of her favorite GHS red t-shirt. The tiny red holes along the neckline are bunny kisses. In fact, Eddy and Lilly enjoy burrowing into the piles of laundry where they get up to their mischief.

Binky is not a Pacifier
They race back and forth across the dining room and start jumping. That’s a Binky,” said Molly. “That’s how you know they’re happy.

ImageWhen Ears Fall
Eddy and Lilly arrived came from a bunny breeder in Bedford when they were seven weeks old. Diane explained that the bunnies’ ears point up until they “fall. Eddy’s ears were one up one down for a time.

What Rabbits Eat
Rabbits do beg like dogs. They’ll share your popcorn, your carrots and many other snacks. Mostly they eat Timothy hay and pellets. they like oats, cilantro and basil. According to Maggie, they love Cheerios.

When Rabbits Thump
Yes, rabbits do “thump” when they sense danger. In fact, Diane recalls that just before an earthquake the family lived in California, their rabbits at the time — Woodie and Ellie — thumped the floors with their feet. Moments later the house shook.

Happy Easter everyone. And think twice before you give your kids bunnies for the holiday.


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