Angora: Long haired rabbit prone to hair mats if not groomed daily. This one's only for the enthusiastic and pedantic groomer,
not for the faint-hearted!
Binky: A running jump, often accompanied by erratic shakes of the head and vigorous sideways kicking of the back legs. The
behaviour is variously thought to indicate joy, mild insanity, or the simple need to show off for an appreciative audience.
Bunnocks: A rabbit's bottom! Sometimes known as a Fluffy bot-bot.
Caecal: A pre-digested rabbit snack. Recycled food - in one end, out the other and back in again! Soft and squishy, caecals are
eaten with apparent relish by bunnies. Some humans have been known to react with distaste at the prospect of an animal eating
its own poo, but the consumption of caecals is an important part of a rabbit's nutrition.
Calici Virus: Disease affecting rabbits, also known as Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus (RHV). The virus was originally spread to
mainland Australia unintentionally, having been initially confined to an experimental trial being conducted on an island off South
Australia. The virus was later deliberately introduced to the mainland, where it was partially effective in reducing populations of
wild rabbits in the coastal fringe of southern Australia. Calici is transmitted to rabbits by biting insects (it is thought to have first
reached the mainland through the agency of a blood-sucking fly) and can also be spread from rabbit to rabbit in unsanitary
conditions. Fortunately, a vaccine is available in Australia and can be administered annually by your vet. Further protection for
bunnies can be afforded by keeping them safe from biting insects and making sure that their living area is hygenic.
Cat: An inferior species of mammal, felines nonetheless provide useful exercise for house bunnies, who enjoy rounding them up
and escorting them off the premises.
Child: Mistakenly thought to be an appropriate carer for a rabbit.
Companion Rabbit: A companion rabbit is the owner of a domesticated human. A companion rabbit lives life free from the
confines of an outdoor hutch sharing its life as an equal to cats, dogs and humans inside the family home. Companion rabbits
are common in the US and UK and are gradually finding their way into Australian homes. All rabbits can be companion rabbits
as they are intelligent, social and enjoy the company of humans and other domestic animals. Companion rabbits are very clean
and can be easily litter trained, once desexed. Rabbits are, by nature, timid creatures and require time and patience for their
true nature to emerge. Once this happens, a bunny and their domesticated human will be friends for life.
Crepuscular: Active at dawn & dusk
Dewlap: A large "double chin" developed by some breeds when they reach maturity. A useful chin-rest. Over-development of a
dewlap may be caused by overfeeding or lack of exercise. Undesexed females will also naturally develop a larger dewlap than
their desexed counterparts.
Dingleberry: A round, hard pellet of bunny poo.
Dwarf: Small breeds of rabbits, reputedly with a tendency to be erratic and feisty. Often purchased in the mistaken belief that
their small size will make them a suitable pet for small children. See Giant.
E. cuniculi: A parasitic protozoan (single-celled organism) infecting rabbits, Encephalitozoon cuniculi has been implicated as a
cause of head-tilt disorders. E. cuniculi ("EC") is believed to be present in a high proportion of rabbits and may be passed on
from mother to babies at an early age, possibly through spores carried in her urine. It seems that many rabbits carry EC without
suffering any disease as a result. However, it has been suggested that in a small proportion of infected bunnies, the parasite
attacks the central nervous system, resulting in inflammation of the brain which causes the head tilt. For this reason, bunnies
affected by a head tilt are often prescribed Panacur in an attempt to control the E. cuniculi parasite. It should be noted that the
causes of head tilt conditions in rabbits are not well understood and the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders are still at an
early stage. Much of the theory is based on anecdote and supposition and the subject is an area of some debate among
bunologists. One school of thought proposes that the role of E. cuniculi has been dramatically overstated and, while it may be
the primary cause of head tilts in certain dwarf breeds, problems seen in larger rabbits are far more likely to be the result of inner
ear infections. The uncertainty can only be resolved by research. While we wait for the bunny boffins to come up with some
definite answers, it seems best to keep an open mind about the causes of head tilts. This means investigating all possible
scenarios and doing everything possible to help any rabbit afflicted with this terrible condition.
Face-off: When two bunnies present for grooming face to face and neither one will oblige.
Fluffy bot-bot: See Bunnocks.
Foster: A bunny being cared for temporarily while awaiting permanent re-homing.
Gastro Intestinal Stasis: Illness characterised by a cessation of the normal continual movement of material along the rabbit's
digestive tract. A rabbit suffering from Stasis will cease eating and defecating. Causes severe bloat and can send bunny into
shock over a few hours. Requires immediate veterinary attention and medication. Medication used is Prepulsid to encourage
gut movement - available from your vet.
Giant: Large breeds of rabbits, renowned for their gentle dispositions. These make excellent house rabbits as they are far more
docile than the smaller breeds (see Dwarf). May require extra large litter trays to accommodate their oversize dingleberries.
Grass Hay: Dried and baled grass. Very useful for litter trays as a poo and chew station.
Helicopter: A term used for a bunny that is unsure whether it's a lop or not. One ear up and one ear down.
Inner ear infection: Common cause of bunny head tilt. Needs veterinary advice & medication.
Lagomorph: The mammalian order Lagomorpha consists of rabbits, hares and pikas (the latter are extremely cute inhabitants
of the Andes mountains - you can see them in action in the David Attenborough series Life of Mammals). Lagomorphs are
superficially similar to rodents, but can be distinguished from that order by the presence of a second smaller pair of incisors
alongside the large incisors of the top jaw.
Litter tray: Plastic tray used for bunnies to relieve themselves when required. A tray of the appropriate area and depth should
be chosen depending on the size of the bunny.
Licking: Only a very contented and loved bunny will show you just how much they love you by giving you a bunny kiss.
Lop: A breed of rabbit characterised by ears that flop down on either side of the head (see also Uppy ears). Lops are reputedly
gentle and friendly and more often than not, vertically challenged.
Malocclusion: When front teeth do not meet to grind down regularly, this causes teeth to keep growing longer and longer and
can cause extreme discomfort if not treated. Mild malocclusion can be assisted by supplying bunny with untreated wood or
cardboard to chew daily so teeth are ground down regularly. Otherwise, if extensive malocclusion arises, veterinary care must
be provided either by removing the teeth or grinding down with dental equipment (the latter treatment can sometimes cause
stress and anxiety over a long period of time - best to check with your vet which treatment is best in your bunny's case).
Clipping teeth is not thought as good practice as the teeth can become brittle and can split.
Myxomatosis: Disease affecting rabbits, caused by infection with the Myxoma virus, a pathogen deliberately introduced to
Australia to control populations of wild rabbits. Resistance to the disease has built up over time in wild populations, but the virus
is fatal to domestic rabbits. It is transmitted by biting insects (eg. mosquitoes, fleas) and there is no vaccine available in
Australia. Bunnies can be kept safe from Myxo by preventing their exposure to biting insects (keeping them indoors or in
mosquito-proof housing and preventing other household pets from spreading fleas).
Oaten hay: The best hay available in Australia for bunnies. Usually greenish, oaten hay is used in place of Timothy hay, which
is recommended in other countries but not available in Australia.
Pellets: Compressed and dried rabbit food. Should not be fed in large amounts (roughly a quarter of a cup only per bunny per
day is the recommended maximum). Some rabbits do not react well to pellets so should be either removed from the diet if
troubles occur (runny tummy) or reduced. Pellets should only ever be used in conjunction with a balanced diet of fresh hay,
greens and lots of water. Rabbits do not need pellets at all if they are getting sufficient hay and greens. Note that the pellets
commonly available on supermarket shelves are woefully inadequate for a bunny's diet as they contain little fibre and are likely to
cause dental, gastrointestinal and obesity problems if overused.
Queensland: Unenlightened northern state of Australia. Archaic and draconian laws forbid the unfortunate inhabitants of this
sad place from sharing their homes with rabbits. If caught, a fine of $30,000 is expected. Only practising stage magicians are
exempt from this bizarre bunny ban! Queensland is believed to have one of the largest populations of magicians in the country.
Roll-over: A trance-like state entered by a particularly contented rabbit. The bunny flops down on to its side, or even onto its
back with legs in the air! This act does not last very long so don't blink & miss it!
Surrender: A bunny voluntarily given up at an animal shelter.
Timothy Hay: Hay made from Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense). Recommended by bunny devotees in other countries, but not
available in Australia. See Oaten hay.
Tippy-toe: The slow-motion advance of a rabbit exploring a new environment. The head bobs up and down with ears positioned
forward as the bunny moves ahead with exaggerated caution, its body often stretched out to its maximum length as it takes one
painstaking step at a time!
Toys: A must-have for anyone with bunnies. Can be as simple as empty toilet roll tubes to pick up and throw or a cardboard
box to chew. An old telephone book can provide hours of entertainment as can an old towel to push and prod. Try a pine cone
or a piece of untreated wood to chew. Use your imagination and watch your bunny have loads of fun!
Trancing: Party trick. Not advised as bunny could injure itself while trying to break free.
Treats: Something to give your bunny as a reward. A treat should only be very small (teaspoon size of seedless apple, same of
banana, one sultana or one grape). Only one treat per day is advisable as too many sweets can cause dental problems down
Uppy ears: A rabbit with ears that can be held erect (see Lop).
Do Your Bit