March 9th, 2006

another frog

zooland continues

I wish I could confidently state that me and the bunnies are coming to that place of mutual respect and mutual adoration, but we're pretty much stuck in me adoring and them tolerating. Which is far more than I had before, but considering a lot of the toleration revolves around the existence of banana? Hmm.

Anyway, rabbit personalities.

Rabbits? Aren't subtle. The one thing that keeps being emphasized to me is that unlike cats and dogs, rabbits are the universe's dinner. And a real difference in behavior comes from the fact I'm used to living with other predators or omnivores, and rabbits are both prey and exclusively herbivore. Adjusting to the fact I *have* to be on the floor with them if I don't want them to see me as The Great Red Hawk Swooping Down to Eat Us Alive and adjusting to the fact that I will, in fact, have to make myself part of the warren, which means, yes, laying there and letting the little bastards trim my hair, well, okay.

But seriously, try this sometime.

Lay out in the rabbit playpen. I'm five ten, it's about five feet diameter, big fun, cramped knees. Apparently, I was in Reggie's way during his rapid runs of the edges of the cage. Now progress--he doesn't stop when he sees my head in his way! Problem--seriously, he does not stop when he sees my head in his way. Which leads to a view of a rabbit's stomach perilously close to my eyes.

And wow, were those claws brushing my corneas?

Reggie's the most active of the three. Black Netherland Dwarf, about two pounds maybe three, very streamlined and flexible with short fur. Very, very graceful, too, even when clumsy. He's constantly curious and pretty fearless, and intelligent as hell. This week I got a cardboard box and built a small rabbit house out of it; two ground floor doors, an upper window (this is not a big box, but they're not big rabbits), and a skylight. Afterward, using the pieces of cardboard, I built a ledge over the front door inside for them to jump on to use the skylight and stand on to survey their domain (my life). Reggie was the first interested in it and explored it thoroughly--it turns out that the space inside is exactly large enough for three small rabbits to curl up together around the ledge supports. Reggie's a natural athlete. He uses the box as intended--for chewinng, for occasionally, and I have no idea how he does this, lifting and pushing over, and for running up and down. Of the three, Reggie responds to me most and is willing to climb all over me--this includes an unfortunate incident where I was on my hands and knees attempting to demonstrate where droppings go nad he foudn my back a marvelous place to play. For far longer than my knees will ever, ever forgive me for.

Baby steps. We are getting there.

Bryante, the Holland Lop #1, is the largest and fattest rabbit. He (she?) came on the hefty side, and I dont' want to use Reggie as a standard for a different breed of rabbit, so maybe this is just large babyfat. Bryante's kind of a--hmm. Asshole seems harsh, yet weirdly appropriate. He's pretty lazy, likes laying around, and has huge back legs. He's also fairly mellow, but extremely elitist. My lack of fur has pretty much sealed the fact I'm a lesser lifeform. You're most likely to see Bryante either lounging in the castle or lounging in the cardboard house or lounging in plain view. Basically, lounging. He occassionally accepts petting, since he's pretty sure he's the best thing to ever come out of Holland, but it's very much with the feeling that he is doing you a huge favor. Which he pretty much is. I take my cuddling anywhere I can get it.

Sloppy, the Holland Lop #2 is the weirdest. Ultra-paranoid, jittery, most of his energy is burned out in a state of low grade tension. Despite being a lop, he has ears that lift almost fully up and spend a lot of time at half-mast, and I can't even begin to describe how cute this is. They're also fairly good emotional indicators. He let me pet him today for the first time voluntarily, and even though he left quickly, it was with a lot less horror and disgust than normal. He somehow feels like the smallest of the three, though I can't prove it, and a lot of that is attitude. By which I mean, this rabbit is either eating or hiding. There is very little in-between. But he's *interesting*, and each of them is emerging with very distinct personalities.

Still, the cutest thing ever is to see all three curled up in the carboard house like a big mass of black and grey and brown fur. You know, when I peer into the window and feel like a peeping Tom. *sighs*

Yeah. That is my life.

So, what I have learned:

1.) If your fingers smell like carrot or banana? They assume they *are* carrots or bananas. Just keep that in mind.
2.) Your body is a wonderland to a rabbit. No, really. They will climb it, claw it, pee on it, drop on it, and be completely offended if you so much as twitch. See Speedracer Reggie above. See Jenn laying completly still in shock as Speedracer Reggie jumps her head multiple times. Dear God.
3.) They really, really don't like being held. I mean, really.
4.) Banana is the best. Stuff. Ever. Freaking rabbit crack.
5.) The first step in litter training is admitting that none of this is going to happen until they're good and ready, so just bring a towel, wear old clothes, and hope that they don't think your hair is a likely spot.
6.) Spend ten minutes absolutely hating yourself for buying rabbit toys when appparently, a cardboard box from the shed is the rabbit equivalent of a Playstation 2. Then promise yourself that you won't buy more toys. It's a total lie, you will. But still.
7.) If you keep going to www.ferretstore.com and resenting the fact that no one makes rabbit clothes--think for a minute. Rabbit clothes. You can't get the little bastards to stop marking you as territory. You really think you'll be able to get them into a sweater?

And for the sappy ending.

Reggie does this thing now where when he sees me reaching to pet him, if he wants it, he drops all the way to the floor, stretches his head out and lays his ears back, eyes going huge and liquid. It's revoltingly manipulative and will cause me throw out my back leaning over him at an awkward angle to gently rub his head, his jaw, his ears, and the back of his neck and length of his spine.

Sometimes, aside from Child's Antics, that is really the best part of my day.

Oh, and to remind everyone that yes, I do still have Child and didn't trade him for rabbit cages or anything--apparently on this years' TAKS reading, he scored something called Junior Achievement, which apparently means that he only missed one or zero on the test. My kid raises a bearded dragon and says things to me like this:

Him: *sniffling into paper towel at door of my room* So I have allergies?
Me: Yep.
Him: A place of darkness and despair, huh?
Me: *laughs hard enough to cry*

God, I love this kid.