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Keeping Pet Rabbits

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A wild rabbit is free to move about and so change its
environment. It can rest in a sunny, shelter spot if it is
cold or go underground to cool off. A captive rabbit is
completely dependent on its owner to control its environment
for it. So your rabbit thanks you for being here learning
about how to care for it.

Rabbits do best in a cool environment around fifty-five
degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius). Remember that in
the wild rabbits stay underground during most of the day,
coming out in the early morning and late evening to eat.

Rabbits can't sweat and they can't pant much with their tiny
tongues. Their ears help them cool to some extent, but lop-
eared rabbits don't even have that help. If the temperature
gets too high -over eighty degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees
Celsius) - and they can't physically move to a cooler spot
they will most likely wind up ill or dead.

If you think that your rabbit may be overheated, watch for:

* Lethargy
* Sprawling on the floor
* Heavy Breathing
* Wet nose and mouth
* Panting

If you see those symptoms you need to cool the rabbit down
immediately! Take it into the house and put it into a sink
or shallow pail and mist the rabbit with cool but not cold
water or wrap its body in a wet towel. Wipe the ears with a
cool damp cloth.

If the rabbit doesn't seem to get better, you can run cool
water over its body, avoid its head. Be very careful not to
hurt the rabbit or to let it hurt you; it may kick and
struggle in panic. But if its brain is overheated enough, it
can die quickly, so this is a very important thing to do for
your pet in this circumstance.

If the rabbit overheated to the point of convulsing, it may
be too late, you will simply have to keep it cool and
comfortable and wait and see. Don't ever put it back
outside; experts say that once an animal has had heat
sickness it is more prone to the problem in the future.

If the rabbit seems to recover, treat it for shock by
letting it rest quietly in a cool spot, and make sure that
it has plenty of cool drinking water. Keep it inside, and
watch it carefully. If it is not eating and drinking
normally over the next few days, take it to your

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