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Rabbit Rescue & Rehoming

How to Rescue a Rabbit
adapted from a House Rabbit Society article

In urban Singapore, it is not everyday that you see a rabbit running loose in the open. If you do, and no one is around who seems to be the owner giving the rabbit some exercise, then it is likely that the rabbit is either, one of many discarded, tossed out pets left to fend for themselves, or one which has escaped from its obviously not very secure outdoor quarters in someone's yard.

You know what the future holds for it if it stays where it is: slow death by starvation, attacks by either cats, dogs, crows, or humans, infectious diseases, heat - the list goes on, but the bottom line is constant: you have to get it out of there. Even if you can offer it nothing more than a ride to the SPCA, you will have done it a kindness.

Catching a rabbit which does not want to be caught, as house-rabbit people everywhere have learned, is difficult enough in the confines of your own living room. Outdoors, it can be almost impossible. But as a matter of life and death, it is still worth a try.

Make friends with the rabbit. Keep going back, as many times a day as you can, trying to get a little closer each time. This is a time-consuming task; try to enlist a friend or two to share it. When you approach it, do so crouching low and from the side. If it can see you only from one eye, its distance vision will be less acute. Sometimes a rabbit who runs from you is actually enough of a "people rabbit" which you will be able to get near it once it gets over its initial terror. Take treats with you - bananas, breakfast cereal, bread, apple, etc. Place them on the ground and sit quietly about 10 feet away from them. Try putting the treats into a front-opening (not top-opening) animal carrier. Attach a piece of wire to the door, so that you can push it shut from a few feet away.

If you do succeed in rescuing the rabbit, you have three new choices ahead of you. You can adopt it yourself; you can try to find a good home for it; or you can take it to the shelter, where she will either be adopted or euthanized. If at all possible, keep her at your home for at least a few days before taking it to the shelter. This will give it a chance to begin to recover from the extremely stressful experiences of living unprotected and of being trapped, which will in turn make it more adoptable. You may contact HRSS if medical or behavioral emergencies arise.


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