Shadow the Puppy Bunny

Shadow on the bed checking things out.
 Shadow just has to get in to this corner
Shadow boxes himself in

Shadow was a very happy bouncy puppy bunny, always ready to have fun. He would steal your heart with his wonderful playfulness and sweet nature.  He was always ready to hop up and introduce himself.  Like a dog, he considered everyone to be his friend.  He had that same doggie way of tipping his head to the side as if he was asking a question.  It was just so much fun to watch him checking everything out.  While Tigger was quite a serious rabbit, Shadow was all lightness and play.

He just loved to run around like crazy and play with things.  Unlike most rabbits, Shadow liked to be chased.  He would run up to you and then take off again looking back to get you to chase him.  Shadow would just love it when Blaine would instigate the chase by pretending to charge at him.

Shadow loved to be petted, especially his head.  If either of us started to pet Tigger and Shadow was nowhere in sight, within just a minute or two, he would be charging up and flopping down.  If you weren’t petting his head, you would get the little head butt on your palm as a reminder to pet his head.  He would also burrow under your hand to position his head just right for petting.

The little boy was decidedly a beggar too.  He would get up on his hind legs and do the begging dance to get his bunny biscuits.  Once he realized that the top of the cages was the closest to where the biscuits were kept, he would leap up there and dance around.  He got so crazy one time he hopped himself off the side of the cage while he was up on two legs begging.  After that, we would position ourselves right at the side of the cage so he couldn’t hop off in his excitement.  Instead, we would have a bunny batting his front paws against us if we took too long getting those bunny treats out of the container.

Also like a dog, he loved to dig.  We had uncovered litter boxes until Shadow came along.  Then Shadow showed us he saw the litter boxes as multi purpose.  He would use them quite nicely to do his business and then he would dig them all out.  His skills at excavation were quite remarkable.  He could empty a whole litter box of pellets and have it spread out over a six-foot area.  We had to invest in a number of litter boxes with tops which both rabbits actually loved since the tops provided another hang out spot for them.  We had to get more small throw rugs so that the plastic tops weren’t quite so slippery.  We used Acco binder clips to fold and shape the corners of the rugs to be a close fit  to the tops.

We read at one point that use a spray bottle filled with water and squirting a misbehaving bunny could deter bad behavior.  Tigger did not like being squirted with water and would stop, but we gave up on using that to deter Shadow.  We could give him several squirts and he would just shake himself off like a little dog and keep on going with whatever he was doing which was usually chewing something.

Coming Wednesday, Shadow the bunny goat …


Bunnyproofing a Digger

Bunnyproofing for diggers

Yes, there is a bunny in the back left corner hiding under the shredded paper

We thought when we brought Shadow home two months after Tigger that we had done all the bunnyproofing necessary and were fully prepared for the new bunny. He proved us wrong really fast. Shadow was quick to catch on to using the litter pan, but added a new twist to it.

He would hop in, use the litter pan and then dig it out. His excavation skills were exceptional. We would find ourselves with a huge pile of litter on the floor everyday. We would scoop it back in and he would dig it back out.

We went out and got some litter boxes with tops and found ourselves with a whole new set of bunnyproofing needs. Tigger and Shadow were still just a few months old and pretty small at under four pounds each. We had to buy plastic stools for children so they could hop in and out of the boxes. Then we had to put carpeting on top of the boxes when they started to hop on top so that they wouldn’t go sliding right off the slippery plastic. At one point we solved that problem by buying covered litter boxes that had round domed tops. They couldn’t hop on those.

Shadow continued to dig, but the small size of the door kept down the level of the mess. We thought we had our excavator under control. When they got to full adult size, we were able to get rid of the stools.

Things went well for a number of years, then a few years ago, we noticed that they were sometimes not hopping into the boxes but going beside them.  We realized that as they aged perhaps hopping up and in was getting harder. So we invested in some litter pans designed for puppies that have a lowered edge on one side. Tigger and Shadow seemed to really appreciate the ease of getting into and out of these. Shadow really appreciated the ease of digging out these new pans and went back to excavating full force.

I headed back to the stores to try to figure out a work around. I discovered some large flat boot trays that turned out to be just the right size to put one on each side of the litter pans and one in front of them. Now Shadow digs out into the boot tray and we can dump it easily back into the litter pan. However, we do have to watch to make sure that the little stinker doesn’t try to dig out the boot tray too before we can dump it back in.

Our biggest regret is that we haven’t ever had a place to put a sandbox. Our little digger would probably think he was in bunny heaven if we could give him a real digging outlet. We do make him very happy when we give him a pile of shredded paper to go burrowing in and he does love to dig underneath the hay pile in the hay bin. He comes up covered in paper or hay and if he takes off running, the mess goes with him.

Dig on little buddy!

A Fun Video – Howard’s Big Dig

And this video shows why you want to keep a close eye or a leash on a bunny in your yard even if it is fenced.  I have heard of bunnies digging their way under fences and disappearing completely.  Although I would love to let our little Shadow go and get a whole lot of digging out of his system, our area is very rural with lots of wild animals and predatory birds.  So our bunnies stay inside house rabbit only.

Here is the You Tube link for the video: