When my daughter asked for a bunny for her birthday, I got a mental image of a hutch in the back yard. Wrong! Backyard bunnies are coming into the house, to the delight of families all over. In fact, house rabbits are quickly climbing the list of America's most popular pets.


It's easy to see why. Bunnies are quiet, clean, don't bark, don't bite (unless they have a good reason to), and they can even be litter-trained. Al Rehman Garden They're terrific housepets - and it's a waste of a great companion (not to mention cruel) to leave them out in the yard.


Here's the scoop on bunnies as pets. House rabbits like to bond with fellow rabbits, and for that reason many Humane Societies and shelters only adopt them out in bonded pairs. These pairs are fast friends, and groom one another, share their food, and generally have a ton of fun together.


But bunnies need human friendship too! They'll get used to their pet humans, and enjoy being stroked, cuddled and played with. In fact, bunnies are a hoot!


They'll hunt for treats hidden around the room, and get as comfortable in your house or apartment as a cat or dog. And, bunnies do very well with these more common housepets, as long as they're properly introduced.


Bunnies don't make great pets for small children. They aren't really delicate, but they can't be picked up haphazardly, and small children may confuse their toy bunnies with the real thing.


Kids under the teenage years shouldn't be given full caretaking responsibility for a house rabbit. But with an adult's supervision, bunnies are incredibly fun for families with older children.


Bunnies need fresh water, bunny food (which comes in pellet form), fresh veggies, and hay - lots of hay. All of these things are available in pet stores or from the local chapter of the House Rabbit Society, the group that specializes in educating people about bunny love.


They need toys - things like empty toilet-paper rolls make great bunny toys - and some human attention every day. And they're worth it!


Bunnies are incredibly relaxing pets. If you face a lot of stress at work, a bunny can send you right into the chill zone with some cuddly snuggling.


Sometimes, men say "Bunnies are chick pets, " but wait until they touch one! Bunnies will eat out of your hand, hop over to you when you enter the room, and quickly hop their way into your heart!


My daughter's "Can I have a rabbit? " request started the wheels turning, and we are now the happy guardians to four of these little sweeties.


Bunnies are popular for a reason! To learn more, visit your local House Rabbit Society chapter page or ask your local animal shelter for more information on owning a house rabbit. You'll be glad you took the time.