09.09.08

Outsmarted by Rabbits

Posted in Day-to-day, Humor at 1:41 am by Jenn

Wendy and BB came back to foster at my house this previous weekend.

I have to admit, I had been spoiled by fostering Sinatra. He was the best, most docile bunny in the world. He liked being snuggled, and tolerated being picked up when it was needful. He rarely chewed things, stayed in his bunny room, and seemed content to explore quietly and amuse himself.

Wendy and BB are much rambunctious than the sweetly reserved Sinatra.

The first thing they did during their very first floor time was work the perimeter of their enclosure until they found an opening and escape. They are avid extreme sportswomen. They like trying to climb onto things (especially things which they shouldn’t be on) and have a knack for teamwork which is a little frightening. (I saw both of them work together just last night to topple over a carefully stacked selection of periodicals)

But so far, their best trick has been with the water dish.

Their previous foster mom made it very clear that Wendy and BB were serious water drinkers. I did not pay close attention to this their first day, and I returned home to an upset, empty water dish that had been thrown up onto the second story of their cage, and two very disgruntled rabbits.

The spirit of ingenuity filled me, and that was when I made my fatal mistake. I tried to outsmart the rabbits.

It started well enough. I decided that I would give them an automatic waterer. That way, I reasoned, they would have at least a half gallon of water available to them throughout the day while I was at work, and I could then refill it when I got home, and there would be much rabbit rejoicing.

Luckily, as our cat has chronic renal failure, we have a plethora of water dishes, bowls, fountains, and dispensers. I selected the tried and true Petmate waterer.

I dutifully filled it, added it to the cage, and then watched the rabbits drink from it. I was successful, the rabbits were happy. I went to bed secure in the knowledge that I had been a good provider.

The next morning, I woke up slightly late, and so had to hurry to do my morning feed. (This usually takes around 30 minutes depending on the number of animals. Currently in residence are 11 guinea pigs, 2 rats, 2 rabbits, and 3 hamsters) I typically do the rabbits last as they are the most involved, and it gives them a bit of time to stomp around while I clean everything up.

I opened their door and immediately noticed two things:

  1. they were both on the second floor, which is unusual as they prefer the ground floor
  2. they both looked pretty smug

I reached in to pet them, and put my hand into the bottom of the cage for support myself, and my hand went into half an inch of standing water. At some time during the night, they had managed to drain the entire waterer. On top of that, they had also managed not to move it an inch. AND it still had the very small amount of water in the dispensing bowl.

I said several inappropriate words, grabbed a handful of towels, and was watched with amusement by a pair of rabbits as I tried to clean up half a gallon of water wearing my nice office clothes without getting hay and poop on myself.

I replaced the waterer with a bigger bowl, and we’ve been ok since.

Finally, this morning they were let out to roam around a bit and get some morning exercise. About 20 minutes in, I hear a series of especially angry sounding thumps and grunts. BB had managed to jump into the bathtub, but was having difficulty getting out. So, of course, she thumped for room service.

This was followed by Wendy wedging herself between a large full bucket of pellets and the wall while trying to eat the wallpaper. “Hey! What are you doing?” I asked. She shot backwards out of the hole, ran across the room, skidded 180 degrees, spun out, and then dove into the cage. We are calling this move “GTA: Bunny”.

Prior to fostering rabbits, I definitely knew they were intelligent, but living with them has only proved to me that they are insanely smart, and people are very lucky that they don’t have opposable thumbs.

This is excerpted from Susan describing to someone how to bunny proof a bathroom:

The bathroom *could* be a good option, but you’d still want to rabbit proof the following:

a. add a toilet seat latch so bunny doesn’t nose up the seat, get in, and drown.
b. add cabinet latches so bunny doesn’t nose open the cupboard and eat the Drano.
c. put grids all along the baseboard/cabinets/doors so bunny doesn’t eat them/start peeling off the wallpaper
d. move the shower curtains and towels out of reach so bunny can’t pull them down and eat ’em.
e. move the toilet paper out of reach because MY GOD WHAT A FUN TOY until you come home to bunny’s paper nest all over the floor
f. move all the toiletries off the counter, because sure as sunshine, the bunny will figure out how to get from the floor to the toilet to the counter and then he’ll decide to share your toothbrush

Initially, you sort of laugh, but then you have a rabbit in your house that’s motivated and you realize in about a day that all of those things are possible.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea said,

    December 20, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Man Jenn, I haven’t had any problems with them concerning the water. I have a super heavy, not even a dog could push over, ceramic water bowl though.

    They have, however, made several holes in my carpet and eaten through the choroplast on the second and third levels, and eaten through their dustpan. They are now confined to one room with an area rug to keep them from eating my carpet.