Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bunny Eats Own Poop

Today Fluffball ate her own poop. I was getting her out of her cage as per our usual morning ritual. Two of her little round poops were on the little sheepskin rug we put in the sleeping bit of her hutch (it just occurred to me - is that barbaric?). As I reached out for her she shuffled back into the corner. The poops were between her and my giant smiling head speaking loving nothings as I coaxed her towards her breakfast of lawn. She looked at me. Then she hopped forward and ate a poop. 

BOOM!

I watched in shock as her little mouth chewed the poop and swallowed it. She then sat still, looking straight at me. How d'ya like that?

It disturbed me, not only because watching someone savour and swallow their own excrement touches a deep existential nerve, but because I'm in constant fear that Fluffball is dying. The vet said they won't vaccinate even pet bunnies against myxomatosis (they need bunnies to die so they can control the population and they can't even take the tiny risk of a non-vaxed fluffy home bunny escaping and weakening the deadly power of the virus). The vet shook her head and said she is constantly putting down mixofied pet bunnies, and described their death in horrifying detail. Basically their veins leak, which is why their eyes go red. Their bodies fill with blood - there's no saving them. She said bunnies around here are more likely to die than live very long. 

There have been a few moments when I have wished Fluffball dead, especially when we have to gang up and chase her around the backyard in the evening to put her in her hutch (so she doesn't get eaten by a fox). But it never lasts because I love her so much. From the moment I held her tiny white fluffy body in my arms I was in love. It's hard to love a bunny. They are in constant fear, so they can never love you back. They only love safety, and love is danger. All Fluffball ever wants is to hide in the salvia bush or under our bed, all day long, still, ready to spring out if death, or our hand, approaches. 

She can't communicate. She doesn't purr or bark or pant. When I look deep in her eyes I do see love. Sometimes her heart rate comes right down in my arms and I can feel she is at peace with me. That's as close as you get to knowing Fluffball is ok. 

Are you happy? 
Do you like living with us?
Do you hate your hutch for a reason - ie, is there a spider in there we can't see?
Are you getting enough food?
Are you angry at us for not getting you a friend?

She ate poop. Was it a message? Was she telling me that's what she thinks of my attempts to give her a good life? Was she sick? Suicidal? I rushed in and told Mr Rabbit. He raised his eyebrows slightly then went back to his New Yorker. I didn't want to tell Kiki, but I did, as she ate her breakfast. She looked at me, interested. 

'I'll google it,' I said.

Bunny eats own poop.

The first thing that came up, to my relief, was this:

It may seem gross, but rabbits normally eat some of their feces once a day, either early in the morning or late at night. These special feces are called cecotropes, or 'night feces.' They are produced through fermentation of food in the part of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cecum.

Phew. She's not unhappy, sick or dying. She's just a little shit-eater.  
What? You tried it?

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