As much as we love them, traditional pets such as cats and dogs have a huge carbon footprint. If you want to reduce your environmental impact and are looking for a more eco-friendly furry friend, consider a rabbit. A rabbit carbon footprint is much smaller than most other types of pets.
A rabbit’s diet is made up of a combination of any of the following: alfalfa pellets, herbs, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and/or timothy hay. You can save money and reduce your environmental impact by not purchasing any food for your rabbit by feeding them items from your garden. Growing your own food will reduce your pet’s carbon footprint because you won’t be using gasoline to drive to the store, no throwing away packaging, and the food won’t have to be manufactured or transported. Check out Ontario Rabbit Education Organization’s guide to growing organic rabbit food if you would like to grow food for your pet. If you do choose to purchase bags of food for your rabbit, make sure you choose organic options and always recycle the plastic bag that it came in.
Rabbits love to nibble! You can purchase special toys for them in stores, but this is very unnecessary. Eliminating rabbit toy purchases will help save money and reduce your pet’s carbon footprint. When you are finished with a box of granola bars, give the box to your bunny to nibble. Rabbits love anything they can chew on, you can even give them your old bills that you wanted to shred and save energy that your shredder would have used. More eco-friendly rabbit toy suggestions from Rabbit.org are old phone books, plastic lids from laundry detergent/fabric softener, cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels, old hard plastic baby toys, dried out pine cones, and hand towels.
I remember the shocking response I received from a friend who is an avid gardener when I told her that I had a pet rabbit. She could hardly contain her excitement in revealing to me that rabbit poop is her secret to a stunning garden. I have had an Earth Machine plastic compost bin outside of my house for the entire time that I have lived there and until that point never knew that rabbit waste was so beneficial and compostable. Most animals’ waste cannot be added to compost piles because of bacteria and parasites. Not only can a rabbit’s poop be added to a compost pile, but their urine is safe as well.
Be sure to choose a compostable litter for your rabbit. Yesterday’s News is a type of litter made of old newspaper. You can also use wood chips as long as they are unscented and meant for rabbits because they have a tendency to chew through just about anything they come into contact with. Under no circumstances should you use cedar or pine shavings for rabbit bedding because they can cause your pet very serious health problems. If you want to be more eco-friendly you can shred your own newspaper so you don’t have to worry about recycling your newspaper or recycling the packaging for store bought litter.
You won’t need to make regular visits to your veterinarian for your rabbit for checkups. Rabbits only need to visit the veterinarian to be spayed or neutered and when they are ill. They do not need shots and you don’t need to treat them for fleas which will save money and help the environment.
You will need to have a rabbit hutch or cage to house your bunny. Don’t let your rabbit run free in your house all day. Even if they are litter trained and you don’t need to worry about waste, they will nibble all over everything such as your furniture and baseboards. When you do have them out for play time, keep an eye on them.
Where to Get a Rabbit
With a rabbit, just like any other pet, it is always nice to see if you can adopt one instead of purchasing a new one from a breeder. Check PetFinder.com, CraigsList.org, and FreeCycle.org. You can also try contacting your local veterinarian offices and look in the newspaper to see if anyone is trying to find a new home for their pet. Rabbits are a popular Easter gift, but sometimes they lose their appeal shortly after the holiday passes. My rabbit came from a flea market and only cost $5.
If you want a cuddly, furry, indoor pet that is a more eco-friendly option than a cat or a dog, a rabbit is an excellent choice. They can be really sweet and affectionate, they are silent, and their waste is like gold for your compost pile. Rabbits are inexpensive house pets that have tiny carbon footprints, just like their tiny paw prints.