On the Lunar New Year, Jan. 22, the Year of the Rabbit begins.
The rabbit is the luckiest animal on the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes traits of creativity, compassion and sensitivity.
“Rabbits are a much more complex and interesting animal than a lot of people think,” Meghann Cant, BC SPCA’s manager of companion animal welfare science and policy, said in a statement. The non-profit is marking the new year by sharing some lesser known facts about the fuzzy creatures.
“They are a prey species so it takes some time to show their personality, but once they trust you, many are quite affectionate. They need attention and playtime outside of a cage to stay healthy and happy,” Cant said.
Signs of affection include ‘zoomies, ’ grooming, licking, nudging, purring, teeth grinding and ‘chinning’– a scent marking behaviour used to claim territory. Some rabbits will also flop onto their back in a display of trust, according to the BC SPCA.
Some of the more surprising facts about the pets include the names certain ages and sexes are called and that they cannot in fact eat an unlimited number of carrots, contrary to cartoon evidence.
Rabbits, the BC SPCA revealed, sometimes share names with cats or deer. When they’re babies, rabbits are known as kittens or kits. When they grow up, male rabbits are called bucks and female rabbits are called does.
When it comes to eating habits, carrots are too sugary for rabbits to be consuming constantly. The BC SPCA said the furry creatures should ideally be eating about 80 per cent grass hays, and 20 per cent leafy greens, as well as high quality rabbit pellets.
Many people may not know just how impressive some of rabbits’ sensory abilities are too. Not only do rabbits’ large ears help to keep them cool, they can also rotate independently and hear well beyond what human ears can. Rabbits can also see in nearly all directions without turning their head.
The BC SPCA said rabbits can make for excellent pets, but warned people if they’re looking for a cuddly animal they should look elsewhere. Living between seven and 15 years, rabbits are also a big commitment.
Anyone interested in adopting one can check out the BC SPCA website.