Power Issues and Rabbits

Blue FlashlightIt has been a real challenge to keep things going online this week and last.  Although we are located in a large metropolitan area, we are a bit off the grid.  We are far enough from the nearest electric substation that we have power issues.  Bad weather or someone in the area hitting a pole can send the electricity surging on and off which can kill sensitive electronic equipment.  So I have been powered down a lot as storms have rolled through daily here.

We discovered early on as house rabbit owners that lights out and roaming rabbits are also a tricky sensitive mix.  Trying to navigate a dark room safely without knowing where the rabbits are is not good, not good at all.  

We stocked up on both flashlights and batteries.  We have a flashlight and sometimes two in every room of the house, so that we can reach one quickly.  Usually they are close enough to grab without standing up.  We don’t want to be moving around much in the dark and possibly stepping on or tripping on a bunny.  Shadow would be particularly vulnerable since his deep coloring makes him disappear at times even in good lighting conditions.

As soon as we lay hands on a flashlight, we use treats to quickly get Tigger and Shadow into their cages.  We have found it to be a good thing to get them safely locked in, because sometimes when the lights come back on they go on and off again a few times before they stay on.  This can be really disturbing for the rabbits and we don’t want them to go running off in a panic that could cause them to injure themselves.  Also, we are in the warm south where it is customary to have air conditioning running much of the year.  The rabbits are not used to the outdoor noises they hear when the windows are open and are more easily startled by the unfamiliar sounds.

Perhaps you don’t experience power issues to the extent we do.  However, if you do from time to time, flashlights are relatively inexpensive.  You can buy small ones in packs and keep them handy.  One thing we have seen time and again with our rabbits is that they don’t understand that we can’t see them in the dark.  When we grab a flashlight and turn it on, we will usually find they have come from wherever they were and are now beside us.  They seek us for reassurance, not realizing that we don’t know they are there.

Although rabbits like to be mysterious creatures and behave unexpectedly, they crave for their living environment to stay pretty stable and predictable.  So if you are new to rabbits, you may want to think about what conditions tend to hit your area in regard to storms and such that disrupt things and have some plans in mind for keeping rabbits safe and sound.  This is one reason it is good to have a cage or enclosure that can close them safely in, even if you intend for yours to be free roam.  Sometimes for their own safety, it is good for a time to be able to get them quickly to a safe and secure location until a dangerous or scary situation has passed.

I’ll share a Follow Friday suggestion later today.

Bunnyproofing Cords and Cables

Shadow relaxing, protected from cords and outlets

Outlet with nightlight plugged into the top, bottom hidden by litter box ... cords behind the TV stand, all bunny safe now!

There are two goals in bunny proofing:  protecting your rabbit in the space and protecting your space from the rabbit.   Last week I wrote about basic bunnyproofing.  This post deals with a very specific area of bunnyproofing, protecting your cords and cables.  I don’t know why rabbits love cords so much.  They don’t look tasty to me, but rabbits just love to chew cords.

Look at any area your rabbit will roam in freely and locate all the cords:  electric, TV cable, telephone, and electronic or computer.  If a rabbit chews through a live electric cord, there is a danger to the rabbit of burns or electrocution and a danger to your home if a short sparks a fire.  Even if no one is harmed, you will be aggravated, inconvenienced, and out some money for repairs or replacements.  You also might be embarrassed having to explain to a repairman or utility company just why your cord or cable needs replacing.

One of the best protections for cords is to place them behind large pieces of furniture where the rabbit cannot fit to get access.  However, if the outlets are under windows or on a wall above furnace or air conditioning vents, you may not want to place large furniture pieces there.  In that case, you will have to protect the cords and outlets. 

You need to decide whether you want something flexible and movable, or something that will permanently attach to the wall.  Also, will you be covering cords individually, or trying to cover several cords together?  Note that electric power cables and data or telephone cables should not be enclosed together.  Data or telephone cables are sensitive to interference from electric power.

Cord Covers:  Split loom is a continuous flexible tube that is split along the entire length. We currently double protect exposed cords by using two different sizes of split loom to form two layers.  We use a smaller diameter of split loom for the inner layer and then make sure the split on the larger outer layer  is on the opposite side, making getting to the cord a real challenge for our rabbits (they haven’t).  Click to see split loom examples on Amazon.com.

Cable Race: For the décor conscious bunny owner, this is a permanent and professional installation.  It is available in either adhesive-back or screw mount.  There are color choices.  Some can be painted to match the wall color.  There is a plastic trough that snaps shut, completely covering one or more cables.  For bunny proofing, it may be used in combination with one of the flexible materials.  It is generally available only from electrical or electronic suppliers, but you can see what one example looks like here on Amazon.com.

Outlet Plugs:  Outlet plugs are the simple plastic plugs that fit into unused outlets and are widely available for child proofing. Example on Amazon.com

Outlet Covers:  These are typically meant to keep babies away from plugs and outlets.  They cover the whole outlet protecting the plugs from being knocked or pulled out and you can run a cord protected with plastic split loom right into the outlet cover.    Some rabbits have cleverly realized that the point where a cord cover and plug meet is vulnerable.  Covering the whole outlet removes access to that vulnerable spot.  Here are three examples on Amazon.com: Safety 1st, Safety 1st, Kidco.   

Send your rabbit a clear message that cords and cables are not on their menu of available chew toys.