Tigger the commando bunny rabbit came as a surprise. My previous rabbit experience led me to expect hopping, running like the wind, leaping onto things. I didn’t remember my family’s house rabbit, Thumper, crawling under things. I also didn’t really expect it because it seemed out of character for Tigger. She was so dainty ladylike in how she positioned and moved that she was very Princessy and prissy at times. So getting down on her belly and crawling into tight spaces didn’t seem like her thing.
First she belly crawled under the kiddie stepstools we had in her space. Then she commando crawled under a plastic shelving unit. I didn’t think she could since the lowest shelf was just a couple of inches off the floor, but you can see from the pictures she was easily able to crawl in and out. We put a whole bunch of empty paper towel rolls under the shelf to discourage the crawling. We didn’t want her hanging out under there chewing the carpet. First she would pull the rolls out and then go crawling under anyway. You could tell by the way Tigger would throw the rolls that our slowing her down really annoyed her.
The cute picture of her resting on the newspapers was one of those before the near disaster shots. The rolling file rack was under a desk. The arrow in the picture points to the privacy screen at the back. I left the room for just a couple of minutes. When I returned, I looked over at the desk and gasped to see just the tips of two bunny ears peaking above the desktop while one bunny foot was hanging down below the privacy screen. Tigger had commando crawled up the wall in the two inches of space between the desk and wall.
I didn’t have a clue what to do to safely help Tigger and she was high enough up that the idea of a fall scared me. I was bouncing up and down looking at the situation from the top and then from the bottom and desperately trying to think. Gravity quickly decided the matter and Tigger slipped back down to the floor. I was terrified she was going to be hurt, but she took off top speed racing around. I folded up into a bit of a heap on the floor feeling that after the adrenaline rush shakiness. Blaine arrived home at that moment and thought something had happened to me since Tigger was running and playing quite happily without a care. After I explained what had happened, we blocked the back of the desk to prevent further upwardly mobile excursions.
After Shadow came along, we had side by side cages. When cooler weather approached, we read it was a good idea to have cages a few inches off the floor to protect from floor level drafts. We had boxes just a couple of inches high that were just a bit smaller than the cage widths that we used to raise them. There was a space between the two boxes running the length of the cages at the middle that was just two by three inches. We felt it was too small for the bunnies to get into. Well it was for Shadow, but Tigger proved she could fit and went wiggling in. As soon as she came safely out the other side, we put the cages back down to floor level and just draped a sheet over them at night for warmth.
A few days later I realized she hadn’t come through that commando crawl safely. I saw Tigger going nuts scratching her side with her back leg. When I parted her fur, I saw a scab and a big black spot. So, off to the vet we went. Tigger got her fur clipped back along her side, because the vet couldn’t tell what she was looking at either. Turns out Tigger had scraped two inches of skin off her side. One end was healing and the black spot was actually fur growing back in that was just barely poking out of the skin, creating the dark coloring. The other end of the scrape was scabbed and obviously itching causing the scratching that had alerted me to the injury. We were given an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and aid quicker healing.
You know that niggling little feeling you get sometimes? Well I had that one time when I was walking up the stairs and turned around to see Tigger disappearing underneath the sofa. Our sofa has dual recliners built into each end which we never opened up with the rabbits out. The front and sides went all the way to the floor. About two inches from the back, the sides curved up leaving a small space where the back and side met that was just two by three inches. We knew the very young Tigger could fit in that space, but we wrongly thought she had grown too big to make it anymore. If I hadn’t turned around, I have no idea how long it might have taken to figure out where she had gone.
The sofa back had a two inch opening at the base that was divided in two by a metal support bar running the full width of the back. We had boxes blocking the full back so the rabbits could not even see the opening. We removed those boxes so we could see Tigger in the crawl space under the sofa and she could see us, but the metal bar didn’t allow her to exit that way. We could tell she had forgotten how she had wiggled in and were trying to coax her back to the opening, but Tigger was getting nervous and starting to bulldoze the insides of the sofa. It made us really nervous to do it, because we weren’t sure how the mechanism was going to move, but we ended up having to open one of the recliners allowing an opening for her to run out. After that, we plugged that space on either side of the sofa with pieces of wood.
Tigger taught us to never underestimate the ability of an active, determined rabbit to wiggle and squirm into seemingly impossible spaces.
Coming on Friday, Air Bunny …