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Are Rabbits Smart?

are-rabbits-smart

ANSWER:

Rabbits ARE smart.

More Info: Rabbits are intelligent animals in that they can learn behaviors and exhibits problem-solving behaviors. This intelligence can get pet and wild rabbits in and out of trouble.

Pet Rabbits

Pet rabbits can learn tricks. Rabbits can be trained using a positive reinforcement technique such as clicker training. They associate the sound of a click with a food reward. This encourages the rabbit to repeat desired behaviors, such as standing on its hind legs. Rabbits can also be trained to use a cat’s litter box when they are not inside of a cage.

Because pet rabbits are so intelligent, they can get bored. Rabbits stuck in a cage or hutch all day with nothing to do will develop bad habits like over-grooming or eating their own fur to alleviate their boredom. The House Rabbit Society recommends that pet rabbits have daily stimulation with toys, time outside of the cage and interaction with other rabbits.

Wild Rabbits

Gardeners and farmers constantly battle with wild rabbits. Rabbits are smart enough to get around some protection for tender, juicy new plants. Rabbits also strip bark off trees in the winter, which can kill the tree. Rabbits will taste anything to see if it is good to eat, including fencing, plastic and mulch. If a rabbit likes what it tastes, it will keep coming back.

Rabbits will dig under or leap over fencing in order to get to protected trees or plants. Any exclusion fencing for plants or trees needs to be placed at least six inches underground  to discourage the rabbits from digging. Rabbits can learn to ignore noisemakers intended to scare wildlife away, although they may initially be frightened of them. If the rabbit is hungry enough, it will return and learn that the noisemaker is harmless.

 

Resources

“Rabbits.” Integrated Pest Management. University of California, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.  http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html

“FAQ: Litter Training.” House Rabbit Society Rabbit Care Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.  http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/litter.html#mistakes

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