The New Resident

The daughter went off to the Bradford Pumpkin Show last night with friends and came home with this, which she won at one of the carny booths. Apparently she wasn’t the only one; at least a few of her friends went home with bunnies of their own. This makes me wish to have strong words with certain carnies. But on the other hand I suppose we just saved this particular rabbit from a fairly miserable existence in a carny’s cage, packed in with other rabbits.

The thing is now comfortably ensconced in a fairly roomy cage of its own (our friends raise rabbits and let us borrow a cage) and seems to be reasonably content and not too horribly skittish. It’s made friends with the dog, and I have a squirt bottle on hand for the cats, two of which (at least) have hunted this one’s cousins in the yard. I’ll be convincing them that this one is not for eating.

Athena has yet to name it; I suggested “Rorschach” for reasons which should be fairly obvious, but I think she’s not in love with the name. We’ll see what she comes up with.

118 Comments on “The New Resident”

  1. It looks fierce, I’m having Watership Down inspired trauma flashbacks….Woundwort!…[shudders]

  2. I thought carnies gave away goldfish. Rabbits are quite the step up.

    Be careful with the cats though. My aunt was in a similar situation and eventually thought that the bunny and cat could coexist. Needless to say it ended in tears, with the cat’s jaws clamped around the rabbit’s windpipe. I think they have to be raised together from birth to ever truly get along, but that is just hearsay.

  3. Hm… I’m thinking I agree with the cats. All I can think of when I look at a rabbit is “Dinner!” Oh, and “warm gloves”… Does that make me a bad person? I think rabbit is tasty :/

  4. Rabbits are pretty easy to littertrain; mine knew where to do his business from the very start, and I got him when he was one month old.

  5. I agree on the cats not likely to accept it as a family member. Unless it can kick their asses! Unless the cage is big enough it can stay away from grasping claws.

    I have a lack of imagination so think Spot is nice. Just like mt Dalmatian. ;)

  6. Charlie@1:52: “Pongo” or “Perdita?” Or like mossjon314159, “Cruella” to be contrary.


    *ahem* *pulls self together*

    There’s wild bunnies who live in our “sanctuary” (i.e. the 3 acres fenced land with all the trees and snakes and rabbits and such that we don’t bother mowing or anything – fencing is just right to let buns in and keep coyotes out). In the evening when they come out for food, my cats will stalk them, but never actually take them down. It’s fun to watch: the rabbit will run a ways, and cat will follow. Rabbit will stop, and cat will also stop, sit pretty, wait… then rabbit runs around again and cat chases, but keeps a good distance. I think my cats just think of them as playmates.

  8. Charlie: When I was nearly 13 and my brother had just turned 7, my parents gave him a Dalmatian puppy for xmas. None of the rest of us could think of anything more inspired than “Spot” to name him. My brother took one look at the puppy, and cried “Pepper!”

    My brother had him for not quite a decade. Pepper was a lovely dog, I still miss him.

  9. rabbits as a carney prize??? wow. I guess you should be thankful she didnt win a baby brother.

    last carnival I was at, one booth let you win minibikes with 50cc motors on them. tried. failed.

  10. oh, we had some rabbits and eventually gave them to some 4H people who were breeding them. we couldnt keep up with the maintenance and we hoped they would be taken care of at the new home.

  11. Wow, I don’t know that strong words with the carnies would be emphatic enough. We know of one family that will take appropriate care of their surprise rabbit, but many others will not. Icky.

  12. My childhood bunny was a black and white dwarf that I ingeniously named Thumper. Although, I was only 9 at the time…

  13. You’re really gonna keep that? If you change your mind I have a good recipe for rabbit stew.

  14. I thought it was rough when my daughter came home with 8 goldfish last year.

    And for the name: Vorpal

  15. That looks like it has a lot of the breed Checkered Giant in it. The “giant” part of the name is not an understatement, the cats may be in for a surprise when it gets full size.

  16. Welcome unnamed bunneh! A few unsolicited suggestions for your well being. Give the male overlord all the Coke Zero you can get your paws on. The canine is large and scary but will ignore you as long as you’re not a threat. The felines may be a bit tricky and/or hostile, be wary. If you find yourself cornered, as a last resort I recommend snickering while muttering the word “bacon”. You should be able to escape whilst the felines will most likely be stunned & twitching (long story, ask the male overlord to bring you up to speed). Finally, give the smaller female all the attention and snuggles she desires. May your habitation of the Scalzi home be joyful and harmonious!

  17. It may be worth an squiring letter or email to your state representative or attorney general. That seems like the sort of prize that if it isn’t illegal probably should be.

  18. Wow. That is amazingly inconsiderate — to say the least — of the carnies. I think not only you, but the Humane Society, should have some strong words with them, because I suspect a lot of rabbits are going to be showing up at their door in the next few weeks.

    That said… OMG CUTE SO CUTE I WANT TO PET HIM/HER. ::whew:: OK, got that out of my system.

  19. I loved the character from the graphic novel, but actually Rorschach is not really a good name for a timid bunny. Maybe that’s just me.
    I hope it survives the cats; Athena should have a pet that is specifically hers. The only pet I had at her age was a golden hamster.

  20. Not sure I’d want to live with any critter with that name. Though I’m told that rabbits do make good pets.

    That said, I too would be tempted to have strong words with the carny … and then keep them for a while in a small cage, ill-fed, underhydrated, with an occasional visit from an appropriately-sized carnivore looking for a way in.

    Just *tempted*. Really.

  21. I know you have lots of pets about the house, but I recommend the House Rabbit Society if you need some lagomorph-specific pet care tips. My wife had two rabbits over about 20 years and relied on them quite a bit.

  22. Beware Mr. John!

    The bunny is most likely an informant of the Dust Witch!

    You have been warned!

  23. Hi! Just so you know — this bunny is going to grow into his ears…… so he’s likely to be a big bunny. I’ve had bunnies over the last 20 years, so I have a good idea about this one.
    Don’t forget to take him to your vet for a checkup (and neuter, please….. you’ll all be happier in the house that way, believe me). He’s gorgeous!

    House Rabbit Society is an excellent source for info, including on how to make sure new bun gets along with the rest of your family — :)

  24. You said “Rorschach” and I immediately saw a crocodile (in the white on his face, eating his right eye). What does that say about me?!

    How big is he? When we were kids we had little rabbits (got to be the size of a tape dispenser [weird analogy I know, but I was looking around for a comparison and that’s what caught my eye]), but some of them can get to be the size of a small/medium dog. I wouldn’t worry about the cats if that’s the case

  25. October. She’s a bunny, after all.

    What, not kid appropriate?

    I agree with the previously mentioned advice to read up on rabbits. I’ve got a friend who’s kept rabbits his whole life. He tells funy stories about their various personalities. He’s had cats, too, but I think they all got accustomed to rabbits from kitten age. From what I can tell, some rabbits can live as along as a dog.

  26. I think Spatter would be a good name for this one. But that probably conjures up images of Dexter…so maybe not.

    I think naming it Spot would be fun.

  27. Our neighbor’s daughter has had a pet rabbit for several years that successfully co-exists with several cats and dogs. It can work. Good luck!

    And I’d have your back on that Carney visit….

  28. My cats and rabbit got along amazingly well. it is quite common for rabbits and cats to live together openly without any cages. Check out urban bunny sites on how to introduces them, but I bet they are best friend in no time.

  29. When I had rabbits, the full grown ones didn’t have any problems with the neighborhood cats, we did however lose a couple of baby rabbits to the cats. We were more worried about the dogs hugging the adult rabbits with thier teeth.

  30. At least she didn’t get a permanent scar from all the confetti that they throw around at that Festival..

  31. Smog:

    Lopsided Cat regularly kills adult rabbits, mostly by catching them and chewing directly through their necks while the rabbits are still alive. So, for the sake of this particular rabbit, I’m going to err on the side of caution.

  32. To allow our rabbit some freedom from his cage we let him run loose in the apartment in the evening with our 2 cats (1 tiger mix & 1 choc. Persian). They got along great (the rabbit seemed to think it was a cat) and even litter trained himself. The rabbit also spent some time outside on a harness & leash. We did have to get the rabbit neutered though – when he came of age he fell absolutely in love with the choc Persian and kept trying to mate with her (and male rabbits are VERY persistent).

  33. The vet I go to has one of those signs up:

    “Unattended children will be given puppies and sugar.”

    Apparently the carnie has a variation on that…

  34. So far the discussion as been of the cat threat, but what about the dog? Is she just too old to give chase? Our dogs have met cats and know they aren’t food, but a bunny is another matter. I suspect that our fencing has gaps that let bunnies squeeze in given sufficient time but not squeeze out when in desperate flight. In any case, our dogs frequently dine on bunny and and have brought us whole bunnies as “gifts” a time or two. Even if all she wants to do is play with the bunny, it still could be quite the trauma. Bad carnies! Bad! Bad!

    This does remind of those signs that say “unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy”.

  35. I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this, but the name I would suggest would be “Mandlebrot”. Tell me I’m wrong, but but those dark patterns kinda look like a graph of the Mandlebrot Set, which appears to repeat on the visible flank in that picture…

    Just saying…

  36. Rabbits as carnival prizes? Have the Federal Bunny Inspectors ((c)2011 Jerry Pournelle) been told?

    Seriously, $unnamed_bunny looks cute and I wish hir long life and whatever passes for happiness in a rabbit’s life.

  37. I’ve heard from friends that have had rabbits that they always do better in pairs. They live longer and are generally happier. I don’t know if this applies to households that already have other pets or not, but I just thought I’d put that info out there.

  38. I don’t suppose Bun-Bun would be appropriate… (Although Athena might think the name’s cute if she hasn’t read Sluggy Freelance).

  39. Those signs about espressos and free puppies are bogus. I often present myself to the people who display them without either of my parents in tow, and not once have I received delectable caffeine or a cute cuddly companion animal. Since no age limit is stipulated on the sign, I believe this is a breech of, oh, some law. Who do I sue?

    Also – I endorse the name Cruella. But Rorschach is far cooler. I’m glad zie has found hir way to a kind and ethical family – zie’s the winner of the carny game, to be sure.

  40. Our angora rabbit, Angie, lived for four years. She started out as an inside rabbit until we found too many of our electrical cords chewed through. Then she became a yard rabbit. Keep an eye out for the integrity of your electrical cords should you let your new resident outside of the cage into the house. Why not name the rabbit Kitty? Totally confuse your cats when you look the rabbit’s way and call, “here Kitty, Kitty. Here Kitty rabbit.”

  41. This *exact* thing happened to us.

    We asked the carny running the game how many people actually walked away with a baby bunny. She assured us that it was very, very few. After all, you had to throw a ping pong ball a good ten feet into a shot glass(!) floating and spinning in a tub of water equipped with an agitator. Fair enough.

    We hand over a dollar, and my daughter, who was ten at the time, is given three ping pong balls. Without hesitation, or apparently any attempt at aiming, she pitched the first ball directly into a shot glass. She then marched over to the bunny box and picked up our new pet rabbit.

    The whole thing took about six seconds.

    We weren’t really expecting to own a rabbit, but I have to say, he’s turned out to be a fantastic addition to the family.

    BB as a baby:
    BB today:

    I would HIGHLY recommend the following site to understand rabbit behavior, as it is very different from that of a predator like a dog or cat:

    Oh, and congrats!
    Mike Langlois

  42. I like the name Spot. Spot the Bunny. That way its name can be a sentence, too.

  43. You could name her UHF because of the rabbit ears. You’ll probably wind up pronouncing it “Uff.”

  44. The world will look up and shout, “save us.”

    And I’ll whisper, “give me carrots first.”

  45. I think you could name him “Contwawy” because that is what mossjon314159 was weawwy twying to be.

  46. I have a friend with both cats and house rabbits. They seem to get along okay, if at times with uneasy truces. If the rabbit is assertive, it can give the cat a nasty kick. But it does help to have some monitoring of the situation. Athena might find this helpful.

  47. To everyone who thinks cats and rabbits don’t get along: Mine would like to have a word with you. Later, though, because they’re snuggling right now. Yes, my five year old rabbit sibling-bonded to my nine-year-old cat within the first year of her life. You can’t separate them for more than an afternoon, they start to mope and stop eating.
    Also, the rabbit has every non-human in the house (except her sister) terrified of her. That’s one adult cat, two kittens, and two large dogs. Domestic rabbits do NOT run away. They hunker down and fight. I have YouTube proof of the day my friend’s puppy came over to play and he wouldn’t leave my rabbit alone…she eventually headbutted him and sent him arse over teakettle!
    As for litter-training, Scalzi, it’s easy (my girl is free-range in the house): I use the standard small cat litterboxes. Put a bit o’litter on the floor of the box. (When mine was three she decided litter sucked and towels were awesome, we’re still doing that.) Put hay on top, on one side. Always put it in the same spot in the cage/play area. Rabbits like to be clean and they also like to munch while they poop. My girl had the hang of it in a day and a half. Also, if the rabbit is female consider having her spayed for long life and much happiness…rabbit reproductive systems tend to go haywire if not used. Mine had two UTIs in her first nine months of life until I had her spayed…she’s five in December and she’s not had problem one with anything at ALL since.

  48. AWWW! Your bunny looks a lot like our bunny!

    Our Flopsy is two and a half, and she’s friends with EVERYONE – both dogs, both cats, all the neighborhood kids. She’s pretty assertive, and doesn’t take any guff from anyone.

    They’re really terrific pets if you take the time to socialize them.

  49. I’m thinking you need a name that’s pronounced “Fuzzy” or “Furball” or something like that, but kr8tively spelled…

    Anyway, congrats on the new rabbit! I miss having rabbits.

  50. My dwarf lop of similar markings got named Untebagan. Because he is ridiculous and the name fit. It doesn’t mean anything, but it sounds just as goofy as he looks and acts.

  51. It seems like the carnies shouldn’t allowed to give away anything larger than a fish without adult consent. And I’m fairly certain that implementing that regulation would get rid of the bigger problem of carnies including the rabbits as prizes and subjecting them to that horror.

  52. John, not to cast aspersions on All carnies, BUT the meanest one I met (Seward Ne, late 80’s,) made people throw rings around innocent ducks’ necks. Winners received a puppy. I’m not an animal rights extremist, but that was just wrong, man, wrong.

    And this bunny needs a name for protection. I suggest “Floyd”
    And yes, if it’s a female, a nice femine name.
    “Floydina”. And you’re welcome.

  53. My few experiences with rabbits have been surreal. There’s the time my cousin’s male rabbit had a go at mating with my arm. Then there was my BFF’s dwarf bunny, who she named Najinsky, because he was epileptic and his seizures took the form of really impressive grand jetes (he may have become epileptic by chewing through electric cords, apparently a common habit among the domestic lagomorph set).

    If you must keep him in a cage when no one is around to keep watch, in order to protect him from the cats, may I suggest getting a large hutch, possibly two-story like the ones made for ferrets (there may be similar ones specifically for bunnies) so he has things to do, play with, and places to comfortably hang out, all in his very own territory.

    And, yes, once he (or she) is fixed, a companion buns would be nice. They are the archetypical social critters, after all, and at best become neurotic without companions.

  54. Bunny names. Watership Down is good for resources—though you can just assume that most rabbits are named after English flora and you’ll be good.

    My sister had a rabbit. He started out as one of a set of four: Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. They only kept Cottontail. Soon Cottontail got shortened to Cocktail which then morphed into Martini. Martini was very long-lived for a rabbit and made well over a decade IIRC.

    At one point we got a little female bunny, and she and Martini had three baby bunnies, which were naturally named Gin, Vermouth, and Olive. Vermouth died. And that is the story of how I learned how to make my first cocktail.

  55. Seriously? Punkin’ Fest carnies are handing out bunnies now. The most I ever won at the Punkin’ Fest was a face full of confetti.

  56. Many years ago one of our German Sheperd puppies grew up with a very nice young bunny, they were great friends and loved to play together.

    Fast forward a couple years, the Sheperd could never understand why the bunnies in the field behind the house wouldn’t play with her! She was always very confused on that issue.

  57. There are so many things wrong with this. You can’t just give a kid a pet as a prize. It’s not a plushy, it’s living being that requires living space, food and a responsible caretaker. I’m not saying this bunny won’t get any of those things, because we all know better here. But those carnies forced it on you. Be glad they don’t give away cute fuzzy labrador puppies!

  58. I have a box turtle named Rorschach, the shell has many patterns that look like ink blots. But then I found out shes a girl, so I mostly call her Rori now. But still sit with her and do darkly themed, gravely voice monologues. “This basement is afraid of me…”

  59. My mother and sister used to get fairly unnerved by a farm sign we used
    to pass – “Rabbits, pets or eating.”

    Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation,
    too, of course.


  60. Our rabbid goes by the name of Totoro, looks nothing like any creature in the film but my seven year old was obsessed with it at the time so…

    Nothing to worry about from the cats, they run a mile whenever he approaches. Except for the Maine Coon, who curls up by his hutch, occasionally exchanging sniffs with Tots (pet name…)

  61. At one point in my life I was “raising” four children, two dogs, seven cats and a rabbit–and I have to say the rabbit was the least of the problems. He regularly played leapfrog with the cats, pretty much ignored the dogs and was quite social. But they really CHEW on things. Worse than puppies. My son named him Homer but I had voted for Professor LongEars. Everybody grown up now. Down to one blessedly “perfect” cat, named Catfish.

  62. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Max as a possible name. Of course, that’s dangerous and you’ll have to buy Daisy a fedora, but who wouldn’t want their own Freelance Police?

  63. for a totally obscure rabbit name reference: Jimmy Carter.

    Carter for short.

    hm. I suddenly feel old…

  64. Unholy Carnys, Batman…that was an evil thing to do.
    I thought Bunnicula too but then I realised it could be a self-fulfilling prophesy.
    You see, I had a fairly aggressive bunny named Bonnie last year of college and through
    grad school and some years of First-Job. Bonnie wouldn’t bite unless you cornered her
    (so that’s reasonable) but she wouldn’t hesitate to growl and then chew on whatever shoes
    you left lying about. She was pretty intelligent too. I always wondered if she knew she was
    bucking the stereotype.

    Rorschach sounds like a fine name.
    I also like George (as in I-will-hug-him-and-squeeze-him-and-call-him-George)

    I hope the cats get on with him/her. I’ve had to accustom dogs but never cats….

  65. Ooh, giving unplanned animals to children is EVIL. So angry…

    Anyway, our bunnies live in a walk-in 12ftx12ft enclosure (along with some little chickens). The enclosure is fenced in and roofed with wire to keep out the local cats, chickenhawkes and foxes. They run, they jump, they hop. (They also lie out and nap)
    Some of our rabbits

  66. Wow, I’m pretty sure the local SPCA would take issue with this practice…given that many of them may end up at the shelter. Bunnies are wonderful, but not everyone is equipped to deal with them.
    In the interest of all those rabbits who are not so lucky as to wind up in a home like yours, I’d make a call!

  67. I had a pet rabbit for many years (she came home with me five years after my dog had passed away) and I found her to be a great, companionable, litter box trainable pet who would occasionally eat the phone bill if I left it on the couch. So, score one for the digital age. I do agree with all the concerns about how it sounds like rabbits are given out – they require a little learning to live with (House Rabbit Society has some great resources on care, feeding, and training) – but I hope the rabbit becomes a good friend to you all, and I just wanted to put in a plug for the possibility of rabbit companions!

    One of my fellow lagomorphically-endowed friends called his “squiddy” because of all the inkblots.

  68. Given the – to me – rather strange markings on the bunny, and the fact that it was from a carny, I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury. How about Brad if it’s a boy, Berry if a girl?

  69. I’ve never found rabbits to be very good pets. The lack the level of bonding, engagement and play of dogs and cats. Plus their cages stink and are a chore to clean up if you’ve never had one before.

    Oh, well, to each his or her own.

  70. My vote is for either Zoe or Sagan.

    Gee, can you guess from where I got THOSE names? :>ppp

    But yeah, I’d love to wring these carnies’ necks for giving out living creatures as prizes. That’s just wrong.

  71. We just recently lost our two rabbits to old age: one at 12 years old and one at about a month shy of that. I’ll also recommend House Rabbit Society as an information source. The diet issue is a big one: the food that’s useful to get rabbits growing rapidly because you want to make them into meat or fur is not necessarily the best diet for a long life.

    BTW, if your rabbits have a stinky cage, you’re doing it wrong. They’re also capable of binding to their humans and each other, and they can be playful too. But a lot of people just don’t handle or house them appropriately.

  72. “Starsky”

    Then you could take a picture of him in his house, captioned
    “Starsky and Hutch”??