Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adorable Video

Found this watching videos on youtube while the fiance snores on the couch.

I love seeing unlikely duo's like this. Maybe we could learn something from them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Umbra Spends the Night

Well I've been feeling bad because I haven't been able to spend as much time with Umbra, so last night I decided I wouldn't put her back in her pend when I went to sleep. My biggest fear would be that Umbra would eat my hair while I sleep.. but come morning I could detect no bald patches!

Umbra did wake me extra early, and although its nice to be awakened by bunny kisses, I'm still not a morning person. Umbra soon tried a more annoying tactic: more digging, even on my face (again)! So I had to lure her into the ex-pen with some pellets, a big juice lettuce leaf and a promise that I would let her run in the living room when I woke up (which wasn't until noon).

Naturally though, once Umbra was in the living room she only wanted back to the bed room and escaped down the hall. So I just left the gate open and she got in so laps around the house. Hopefully she has expended all of her energy so no more digging.

Also I've attached a video of Umbra attacking the bed. (and yes I do have stuffed animals on my bed, my fiance got them for me)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update/ More Summer Reading!

So I'm back to work now, which can cause some bunny boredom, but I've been trying to keep Umbra occupied during the day with lots of run time and extra hiding places to play in. After a week of burrowing between the bed and the wall, Umbra seems to be moving on to a new activity: furiously attacking my pillow and mattress. It started a couple days ago when I was awakened by my little queen of escaping, scratching tirelessly at my pillow (which I was sleeping on). Soon she was scratching and biting at the sheets on my bed, and this behavior has continued. I think now that Umbra is satisfied with her "burrow" (which she is very defensive of, I've gotten a fair many nips for peeping in on her as she works) she is going about hiding her entrances. I think she is trying to spread the "dirt" (actually my pillow and blankets) as a wild rabbit would to hide the evidence of burrowing from predators. She even tried to dig my face the yesterday as I was trying to nap and I ended up being kicked out of my own bed and forced to sleep on the couch!

 Despite the extra bossiness, Umbra has been more affectionate lately. She's been enjoying lots of petting and I've been enjoying the resulting tooth-purrs. Still, I've been thinking more about trying to find my little queen a king to share her queendom with. I received an email from IHRS about attending a bunny date in two days, but alas I am away from Indy from the summer, and I'm not sure a four-hour-drive followed by bunny-speed-dating would be all that productive. Traveling is stressful enough not to mention encountering a dozen or so rabbits after Umbra hasn't seen a single rabbit for nearly a year. I feel like all the stress would lend to negative results at the bunny-date. So it seems my queen will have to wait until fall to find her prince charming.

On to another topic: I've been doing more bunny-related summer reading since my last post. I read the previously mentioned "The Private Life of the Rabbit" by Mr. Lockley. It might be a tough read for those who aren't fond of non-fiction, but I found it interesting enough to power through it in a week. Essentially, Lockley is recapping his experiments and observations of wild rabbit warrens in England. I found it provided great insight into the mind of rabbits (including our domesticated rabbits who are descended from the wild rabbits of Europe). There are a few sections in the book that may be tough for a rabbit-lover to read. Because the study was meant in part to better understand what is considered a "pest" in England, there is much talk of different methods of extermination. But, if you can get past that I think you will find you will better understand your rabbit as a social animal and see that the rabbit is misunderstood by many. I think rabbit lovers would especially enjoy the last chapter, where Lockley makes some wonderful comparisons between rabbits and humans. Even I was surprised to learn some of the ways that we are alike!

After finishing "The Private Life of the Rabbit", I began reading "The Warren" by Fred L. Tate. Tate's novel tells the stories of a hand full of rabbits, many who had rough starts in life, from the point of view of rabbits that he has owned himself. While Tate does not do as well as Richard Adams (author of "Watership Down"), in capturing in the thoughts of rabbits (which I admit, it is very difficult to write from the p.o.v of an animal and do so eloquently and believably) the stories have good message. They touch on the proper care of rabbits and the hardships that they face when they are misunderstood, mistreated and ultimately discarded. I found myself close to tears in a few parts, laughing at other (mainly at bunny mischief which all bun-owners have experienced) and happy when these rabbits finally find a place they are loved and cared for both my humans and fellow rabbits.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Reading

I decided you all deserved some extra reading, so I'm doing two posts today to make up for my absence!

On the topic of reading, I'm quite the avid reader, but during school I have very little time, but I plan to make up for this over the summer, starting with the six hour drive after my brother's graduation in Southern Indiana way back north to Northern (practically Michigan) Indiana where I grew up (not very enjoyable for poor Umbra, it was really hot too).

In anticipation of this grueling journey, I stopped in at a bookstore down in Bloomington (where my brother lives) and picked up a book. At first I thought I would add too my Jane Austen collection, but then I spotted "Watership Down". I was aware that this book is a classic, but I had no idea what it was about until recently, and even then just vaguely. I had read something online about famous rabbit characters in literature, but still did not know that the book was completely about rabbits.

I'll admit that I was a bit embarrassed by my own rabbit-obsession, but there is a reason that this book is so loved (by everyone, not just bunny fanatics like myself.. and probably you too).

If you're not familiar with "Watership Down", it is NOT about navel battles and whatnot (as I previously assumed by the title), but in fact a very engaging story of a group of rabbits who set out across the English countryside to establish a warren of their own.

I won't go much more into the plot because I would hate to ruin it for those who haven't read it yet (and I strongly advise you too). Also, don't think that because this is a story about animals that it is a children's story, it can be appreciated by people of all ages. I believe this is a major reason why the book became so popular. Richard Adams, the author, came up with the story, simply as a way to entertain his daughters on long car rides, but in book form, it is much more than just a bed-time story.

I think rabbit lovers will also enjoy the accurate portrayal of rabbits. Adams consulted with naturalist and author of "The Private Life of the Rabbit", R.M. Lockley, and as a result his characters stay true to their species, and are not too much like people (which is often the case in animal literature).

Usually I'm really excited to get to the end of a book, but as I neared the end I became sad that it was already over. Adams has woven such a beautiful and enthralling tale that I wished it could just go on for ever. I have to say that I envy is daughters to have a father who took the time to come up with such brilliant stories, and I intend to read all of his works (even if they are not bunny related).

Finally, I will leave you with my wish that "Watership Down" would be made into a movie (if only to keep the story alive in my mind just a bit longer). I discovered at my local library that an animated adaptation does exist, but it fell short of the magic that the book offers. And although this is often the case with movies based on books, I believe that a much better version could be made today. The current movie, made in the 70s, was just fine for back then, but animation today is so much more. Not only has the technology and technique advanced, but animation is not just for children. Anyone who has seen any of the Pixar movies knows that it is enjoyable for adults too, which is why I think they would be perfect for making an updated film version of this beloved novel... one that hopefully sticks more closely to the plot of its literary inspiration.

Hopefully future updates will be more frequent!

long over due!

Well I finally got down to the library so that I can have internet access!

So now I will recap the last couple weeks as briefly as possible. Umbra is settled in, and I have reconstructed her new cage. However, She doesn't spend anytime in it, I sill let her run around in the ex-pen which takes up half my room. It's not as much space as she's used to but it's better than being in a cage all day. She gets free time most days, which means full run of my bedroom, and sometimes a couple hours in the living room.

Unfortunately I was unable to bring my lettuce sprouts home with me; there was just too much stuff in the car, but we plan on planting some outside here soon.

Another low light, is Umbra still hates my fiance, I have no explanation for it. He's tried to be patient and quiet around her and he always gives her treats when he's over, but she refuses to forgive him for who-knows-what. My only theory is that she doesn't like that he picks her up, but he hasn't done that for quite a while, and if that was the case she would surely hate me.

Umbra's latest pass time is excavating a  tunnel between my bed and the wall (my bed is on a solid platform so she can't get under it). I've stuffed some extra sheets and pillow cases down there and she's been completely absorbed in digging in them and arranging them. Although all the digging can be annoying when you're trying to take a nap, it keeps her out of trouble... for now.

Other than  continuing to soil her hay, the summer is off to a good start. I have a couple of projects I would like to get underway soon including building a second level to Umbra's cage (I do have a little shelf for her to sit on at the moment but it's not very stable) and I would like to test a hay-soiling deterrent as seen in a link I posted previously on how to build your own cage (scroll to the bottom of the link and you'll see, its really quite clever). Oh and on the topic of hay, I have had no luck in locating where I can buy timothy by the bale yet, but there is a farmer down the road and I will check there next.

This post will be followed by another on my summer reading (yes it is rabbit related!).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wild Binkies

My brother spotted a cottontail binkying in the weeds from his apartment window. Wish I could've gotten it on camera!


Umbra did fine on the trip.She eating hay in her litter box as we speak. My brother has to move out by 5 p.m., but we will be at his graduation then, so Umbra will be babysat by my cousin and her two newly adopted rats.

Just a Heads Up

Tomorrow I will be moving out of my apartment for the summer, and my mom only has dial up soooooooo updates may be few and far between for the next couple months.But don't fret! I will return to the city in the fall where I will have more reliable internet access. I would stay here year round, but my fiance still lives back home (3.5 hours away).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Upgrade You're Bunny Condo

Bunny World Foundation posted this link on Facebook. If you can't let you bun have free run all day, it helps to have a fun enclosure, and here is a great way to build one!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Technical Difficulties

There seems to be some issues with my blog. I will get email notifications that comments have been left, yet they do not appear on the blog itself, so I apologize if it seems I have ignored some comments, I really haven't.

Not sure how I can resolve this issue.. and I wonder if my computer problems have anything do do with Umbra playing on my laptop hmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animals as Prizes

So anyone following House Rabbit Society's Facebook may have noticed that yesterday there was quite an uproar about carnival/fair company based in the South West that gives away live animals (goldfish, parakeets, turtles and rabbits) as "prizes".  I don't know if it has helped any as of yet, but their must be hundreds of comments rebuking  Frazier Shows for this irresponsible, senseless act (click on the hyperlink to contact and place a complaint). Others have been contacting the New Mexico Humane Society (where Frazier Shows are soon to be having an event) as well as other animal welfare groups. At this point I don't see how we can be ignored.

I had never heard of live animals, other than goldfish, being given away at fairs until last summer. The boyfriend of a good friend of mine lives not to fair from where the Bristol Homecoming is held, so the three of us decided to walk there. On our way there we passed a woman carrying a baby bunny in her arms. I seriously had to do a double take, and Ben (my friends bf), being sarcastic as he is, said "oh ya they're giving bunnies away at the fair" which at the time seemed like a ridiculous statement (he was joking anyway. To our surprise, when we arrived we encountered more fair-goers toting rabbits and soon came across a pen in which a dozen or so rabbits were being kept along with a game (I believe some simple toss game which certainly does not determine a persons ability to properly care for a living thing).

Being that Umbra had recently come into my life, I was becoming quite the rabbit advocate and was so distraught at the idea of these lives being traded so carelessly I was about to use all the cash I had on me to rescue those bunnies! Unfortunately I chickened out because I, as a broke college student living under my mom's roof, had know idea what I would do with all those rabbits and I doubted they'd be any better off with me. Besides that I cared, I really don't have the ability to feed, house and provide medical care for more than a couple buns, but caring doesn't always yield results.

My disgust at this practice has been renewed upon hearing of Frazier Shows, and who knows how many other companies that give away animals too. I just keep thinking back to those people at the Bristol Homecoming who weren't even given a cage to transport their "prize" in, and how terrified those little buns most have been under all the flashing lights, loud music and screaming children. Obviously who ever hosts these games does not care about proper animal husbandry, and I wonder the point of it all. How could giving away live animals be more cost effective than just giving away toys, unless the animals were barely awarded the most meager and basic of needs.

So does anyone really wins in this situation? Obviously the animals are the biggest losers, having their lives treated so haphazardly, and likely to live a miserable life, be abandoned or even die prematurely. Second, do the people who participate and "win" a pet, truly win? Just like the unwanted Easter bunnies, these animals were victim to someones whimsy at the spur of a moment, will the human soon discover that the animal is a burden that they were unprepared for? They didn't realize it at the time, but they've been conditioned to think that rabbits are cheep "starter" pets, when in reality they can be quite burdensome financially (see earlier post "One Pricy Pal"). Last we must look at the companies who exploit these animals. Is this really a better money-making strategy? Whether or not toys are more or less expensive, I don't think that carnivals will lose costumers if they just stuck with giving away giant stuffed teddy bears, people will waste just as much money playing silly games for their girlfriends and kids. I once spent over $20 (at $1 or $2 a game) trying to win a big yellow dolphin (which I technically didn't win, the officiator of the game pitied me and gave me the dolphin at the end of his shift, but not after spending all my money).

So I ask you, my readers, though few there are, to make a big stink whenever you see such atrocious behavior at a fair, call and email everyone you can think of, tell all your friends and family to boycott these venues until justice is found for these innocent creatures.