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New York, NY 10019

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The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
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Rescuing Questions: How a Rabbit is Saved

While this bunny's past remains unknown, Question's future is safe and secure at the Rabbit Sanctuary.

Was she once a beloved companion rabbit who accidentally escaped from home?  It's possible, but unlikely. Was she was put outside deliberately, unwanted and abandoned? That's more likely. But whatever circumstances led this rabbit, named Questions, to be on her own, her fate was almost certain: a domestic rabbit cannot survive outside alone.

Fortunately, Questions was spotted running around an apartment complex alone, and when no one claimed her she was brought to the Rabbit Sanctuary for care and comfort. Her story and many like it illustrate the kindness of strangers who care enough to save an abandoned bunny.

Rabbit rescue can be a tricky business. Most people who contact the Sanctuary after spotting a rabbit running loose have little knowledge of rabbits or how to catch one. There have been cases where a rabbit was approached and simply picked up, but that is very rare. Most rescue attempts will take hours or days to accomplish, and many may end in failure.

Two Ways to Capture a Rabbit

There are basically two ways to capture a rabbit. A humane trap, baited with apple or banana may be used, but it is not usually successful. The trap must be monitored continuously because once the door shuts, a rabbit will likely be frightened and could hurt himself. There is also the possibility of a predator attacking the trap and injuring the rabbit.

A more successful method is to have a small group of people surround the rabbit and corral him toward a fence or garage corner, speaking in quiet, soothing tones and moving slowly. It is also helpful to have some favorite foods such as apple, banana, parsley or cilantro to entice the rabbit.

Rabbits should never be chased.

Captured rabbits will likely be frightened and may struggle, making them difficult to hold on to, so rescuers should be prepared with carriers or small pens to put them in. Once caught, they should be taken to a safe, quiet place. Rescuers should check rabbits for any injuries or parasites, and then make arrangements for them to go to a rescue facility, unless they decide to provide them with a permanent home themselves.

A Safe Home for Questions

Untold numbers of rabbits are discarded by seemingly uncaring, unfeeling owners each year. Or perhaps the owners just really don't know that they will not survive without their help. We hope that one day people will understand that domestic rabbits need a lifetime home as much as a dog or a cat does. In the meantime, we hope that there will always be kind strangers to step in and save as many rabbits as possible.

Questions is a shy rabbit and somewhat wary of people, but she lives quite happily with her companion, Jack, at the sanctuary.  She is safe, well-fed and surrounded by the company of her own kind. She has a home for the rest of her life.

Posted: August 26, 2008