Jack LOVES the park. The ability to run around, lay under plants, and eat dead leaves makes him a very happy bunny. At first I kept him on a leash (attached to his collar – only kitten collars are small enough), but after a couple trips I realized that (1) He would always come back to the blanket to check I was there, and (2) He’s so fat/slow that I could catch him if needed. Here’s a couple tips for staying safe when taking your bunny to the park!
- Be prepared for crowds/lots of attention. Lots of people see Jack from a distance & either think he’s a fluffy puppy, or recognize that he’s a rabbit. In both cases, many will come over & ask if they can pet him. If you or your rabbit aren’t comfortable with complete strangers coming over, I would pick a more secluded area. Jack is fine with strangers, so I just tell them they can pet him but not pick him up. Rabbits can break their own backs if they flail hard enough, and Jack prefers to keep all 4 paws on solid ground. If kids come over, I stay with them & show them how to properly pet Jack.
- If your rabbit is a fast runner, keep him/her on a leash. I live in a major city, and if Jack was a fast runner I wouldn’t want to risk the chance that he could run out into traffic etc. I bought a kitten collar & extendable puppy leash for Jack, but you could also use a ferret/small animal harness.
- Use a roomy carrier. Jack uses this carrier by Bark N’ Bag, but any regular dog/cat carrier will work. Make sure there’s enough room to turn around in, and ventilation panels.
- Some people will approach with dogs, usually because the dog is curious. Most dogs have no idea what Jack is & so act nervous – keep a very close eye on the other person’s dog & don’t be afraid to pick up your rabbit if you aren’t comfortable with how the dog is acting. Rabbits are prey animals & don’t have much in the way of natural defenses, so you need to be the bodyguard. Even a little nip can tear your rabbit’s skin or traumatize it.
- Do your research about pesticide use in the park before going. Public parks tend to be on the safer side because people bring their pets, but keep an eye out for flags/signs indicating that pesticides were recently used.
- Do your best to keep your rabbit from eating random plants. Grass is fine, and Jack loves dead leaves (??), but you never know what plants have been planted/their effects on a rabbit’s system.
- Try to go back to the same area of the same park the first few times. Your rabbit will learn to recognize it & feel more comfortable on future trips to different places.
- Choose nice, cool days to go out – fall weather is perfect! I don’t take Jack out if it’s hotter than 70 degrees, or cold enough that I need to wear anything heavier than a medium-weight coat.