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The Student News Site of Severna Park High School

The Talon

The Student News Site of Severna Park High School

The Talon

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Bilingual in Bunny

My experiences as a rabbit pet owner, and the behaviors I’ve noticed.
Maggie Manis
Charlie, being adorable and playing with his toy keys.

Taking care of my rabbit Charlie is a full time gig. He’s obnoxious, loud and  spoiled. With any pet it’s difficult to understand what they are trying to tell us, but Charlie and I have found our own little way of communicating. I adopted Charlie on Feb. 14, after many months of searching for the perfect bun. He is a miniature-rex rabbit, meaning he is smaller than average, and has very fine fur, so he doesn’t shed often. We thought that he was going to be easy to care for, we were mistaken. 


We discovered early on that Charlie closely resembles a toddler, and when he does not get what he wants he throws a temper tantrum accordingly. This consisted of, digging at you, throwing things, thumping his feet, and overall being a menace to our otherwise peaceful household. Charlie also holds grudges, and will hold them for as long as needed for his point to get across. Once, my mom was trimming his nails, and accidentally trimmed his nail too short. He was physically fine, but clearly was in emotional distress, and made that obvious. For about a week he refused to snuggle with my mother, and instead would sit with anyone else and silently glare at her from across the room. 


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Charlie, also like a toddler, thinks he is bigger than he is. For reference, Charlie is about half the size of our cats, and yet he will charge full speed at the predators and aggressively thump and grunt at them. Part of this behavior is due to his jealous nature. When someone is giving attention to a cat, or even to another person and they are stupid enough to do so in front of Charlie, he will make himself known. He will push the attention hoarder out of the way and will assert himself in their place, demanding pets and kisses. 


 Something interesting I have discovered is the way he nibbled you. I originally thought that this was a sign of aggression, that I was invading his personal space, or that he needed something like snacks. However overtime I actually believe this is his way of playing tag with me. He commonly does this when I am standing, and he will gently nibble my legs, and I will move away and he will chase me, occasionally nibbling my legs. This has led me to notice how often he chases people, he also chases my sister and sometimes the cats in a playful way. This is his way of feeling like a predator, and is his way of being the big, scary bunny that he thinks he is. 


 The way he lays, depicts whether or not he wants to be petted. Charlie does something that we refer to as “the superman”, when he lays like superman with his paws stretched out in front of him. When he is stretched out like this, he is subtly suggesting that you scratch his head and ears, but you mustn’t touch the rest of his body. When he lays like a croissant he does not want any pets, in fact, you can’t look at him the wrong way, or you are disturbing him. When he is a loaf, all is fair game, he is not asking for love, but he’s not complaining either. The most important one to remember is when Charlie loafs, but lays his head down. This an order to pet his head, if you do not, there will be grave consequences. 


Charlie has many, many toys, most of which he refuses to play with, however he has one toy that he loves, and that is his baby keys. Yes, the rabbit plays with, rainbow, plastic, baby keys. Allow me to explain, when Charlie was a wee thing, he was running around and playing with my grandmother’s purse. While playing with her purse he discovered a fascinating new toy, shiny, metal, car keys. He promptly ran away with them. After the incident we decided to sacrifice my baby sister’s toy keys to the rabbit, and to this day, they are his favorite toy. Charlie does not share the few toys he actually plays with, normally this isn’t a problem, as our cats do not play with keys, but this is a problem when it comes to the tunnel. Both the bunny and the cats love running through the tunnel, and they especially love running through it when someone else is on the other side. They willingly run face first right into another animal for the thrill of it. It is heart attack inducing as a pet owner, especially when it appears that they refuse to stop.  


Although Charlie is a child, expensive, rude and needlessly sassy, he is above all, precious. There are still things I’m learning about him, but I’m happy to say I think I have a pretty good grip on his bunny language. 


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About the Contributor
Maggie Manis
Maggie Manis is a junior at SPHS and this is her first year doing the school newspaper. She enjoys spending time with her many pets and her family, and loves to travel. Maggie reads mystery novels and writes in her freetime and is excited to write for the SPHS newspaper!

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