Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Black Bunny

Every 90 days our home is a tsunami of fine black hairs expelled from a silent black rabbit named Nipsey Russell.

Rabbits aren't what you think they will be. Kids get them from parents who think they will be easy starter pets. They are quiet, they spend a lot of time alone, they get along with other pets, and they won't harm your child. They are curious. They also have the mental capacity to plan. This means they will use trial and error to succeed, while a cat or dog will stick to crass opportunism.

They bite. Probably not you, but anything exposed and wood. Or plastic. Or with an edge. Baseboards, loose flooring, door jams, books. If your walls have any texture in the paint, a rabbit will exploit that texture leaving you a giant bald spot that happens in seconds.

They will love you. They will expect to be loved. It is not a one way street of adoration. The language of rabbits takes a while to decipher. Can you tap the ground and call them to you? Absolutely not. It has the same effect of kicking a baby. Thumping sounds are warnings, and will only send them into a place of fear. They are the only animal that can spontaneously induce a heart attack as a defense mechanism.

If you are lucky, your rabbit will lick your head. It helps to be bald. You may have to lick him back.

Neuter your bunny, especially if you only keep a warren of one. The first time he grabs your hand and starts humping to climax should make the expense of the vet visit worth every dime. They are exotic animals, and delicate, so you'll be paying a rabbit tax.

If you find one living in a parking lot, just old enough to have been an abandoned Christmas or Easter gift, treat it gently. Buy a small bag of pellets and visit the same time every day. Drop a small offering on the ground. Return tomorrow. Eventually you may think that a hawk got him, or a cold snap did him in. Forget him. Know that he won't forget you. One day you'll be a mile away, walking around your apartment complex and two black ears will rise up from the grass, backlit by moonlight.

They have poor vision, but excellent hearing and a powerful sense of smell. If it's your bunny, he will find you. Take him into your bathroom. Don't listen to your husband. My wife locked me in the bathroom with the rabid beast for an hour while she went out for some hay and a carrier. He nipped at my hand, earning his name. I didn't get rabies.

Nipsey is shedding again. The first time I thought it meant he was dying. A million black dandelion ruderals covered every surface as he grew out of his baby hair and into adulthood. It's less intense now, but can still be a spectacle at the hight of the process.

He's grooming his paws now, alternating between licking between toes and scratching his ears. You will eventually learn to interpret the meaning behind each kind of silence. You'll hear the light grinding teeth of contentment in an otherwise silent house.

Subtle, calm, sweet.

4 comments:

  1. And, as the two of you taught me, do your research. A lot of the things I do to try to be friendly with animals are threatening to rabbits. If you speak their language, they're super, super sweet.

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  2. Really well written, Patrick.

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