AS the last few weeks has been quite depressing, I thought we may look at rabbits before we start a series of articles on energy saving things you can do, which you will discover is a bit different. So watch this space from next week.

If you are thinking about getting a rabbit for a child, then read this first, to see if it’s for you.  We are looking at tame pet rabbits not wild ones, which are suffering from climate change and loss of habit. If you were to compare the amount of work involved in keeping a pet, surprisingly rabbits are more  work than dogs and cats.

This is why so many rabbits are given to animal rescue centres as they thought keeping a rabbit is easy. Another mistake is you need two rabbits that are bonded pairs, this is double the work and costs. Therefore, rabbits are more for adults, not children.

Most people now go for house rabbits with one or two rooms rabbit proofed, especially making sure there are not electric cables dangling around. Until you have looked after a house rabbit, you don’t realize just how intelligent they are listening to your every word.

Always buy a book on rabbits before you undertake the responsibility of keeping rabbits. Take in the cost of a couple of rabbits, and maybe for up to ten years.

Most charities and including myself,  don’t encourage keeping rabbits in outside cages anymore, which is a throw-back from when people kept rabbits for food. Unless you can have a very big cage and run, it is cruel to keep an intelligent animal in a small cage, and anyway, how will you get to know their funny ways if they are out of sight and mind? Also, worth knowing, you may still have to bring your pets indoors in very cold weather and if extreme heat, so be prepared.

After keeping house rabbits for many years, I have come to see that they are a complex and sensitive animal. Their classification is exotics. They seem to have the magical ability to disappear before your eyes and be sound-less.

Partly due to this, In many religions and especially Christianity, and Islam, rabbits were considered to be spiritual creatures and vulnerable just like a humble servant of God. To eat a rabbit was thought to bring a curse upon you. Even today some very old churches have the three rabbit sign outside their churches.

So when walking in the fields, care a thought for the rabbits which were abundant when I was younger, but now are becoming endangered in many places. If you are a dog owner, don’t let your dog chase rabbits, it’s also illegal under the wildlife act to do so.

One last surprise is that rabbits are on a fairly close family tree branch line to us humans, and much nearer than cats and dogs. So rabbits are our cousins, no wonder they are so clever, and great dancers too!