Monday, September 26, 2005

"Tails" of sibling rivalry

Hi, there. This is the Mama, as Calvin and Jessica call me. I thought I should get to write something on this blog, too, especially on topics relating to rabbits in general, and Calvin and Jessica in particular. So, I'm starting things off with "tails" of sibling rivalry.

When I first got Calvin, I hadn't really planned on getting a second bunny. But I could tell that he was very lonely. He'd lay around the apartment, licking the carpet, so I thought that he might love to have someone to lick. So, I took him back to the shelter to pick out a buddy. He's neutered, so it didn't matter if he picked a girl (and she would likely be spayed, since Red Door adopts out neutered animals to help prevent unwanted litters and for better rabbit health/behavior).

He chose Jessica, and she joined our household. When introducing rabbits, there can be a lot of fighting, and the fur certainly flew with them during their bonding sessions. Finally, though, they mostly left each other alone, eating and grooming without fighting.

Now, of course, they get along fine for the most part. However, they do bicker like a married couple, and they have some very funny antics:
  1. Carrots. Their house is a bunny condo with 2 floors, so when they get their salad every morning and night, I put one bowl upstairs and one bowl downstairs. At night, they get 2 pieces of carrot, one for each bowl. Calvin usually uses his sniffer and finds the carrot in the upstairs bowl. (They're both usually upstairs at night when I bring their salad.) He barely gets a bite or two before Jessica grabs the carrot and runs downstairs with it. Calvin sniffs around where the carrot was (sometimes looking at Jessica, now sitting at the bottom of the ramp, with a look that says, "Hey, you took my carrot.), then starts to eat other stuff (usually parsley). For a while, I was keeping the downstairs carrot in my hand as I put the bowls into the cage, handing it to Jessica, so she'd actually only be stealing her own carrot from the downstairs bowl, and Calvin's carrot would still be upstairs where he was. That worked pretty well, and she's still none the wiser :-)
  2. Tug of war. Remember in the Disney movie The Lady and the Tramp when Lady and Tramp kiss after they eat the same piece of spaghetti? Well, in bunnyland, it doesn't happen that way. If Calvin and Jessica begin to eat the same piece of parsley or hay, as soon as the pull from the other is felt, they pull back, and one gets the rest of the piece while the other is left to finish the mouthful they still have. You can almost see their little bunny brains say, "Mine!" "No, it's mine!" with the loser thinking, "Hey, I had it first."
  3. Treat time. Calvin is the brains of the duo, and Jessica the brawns. Whenever it's treat time, Calvin usually runs over to me first, followed by Jessica if she thinks there is actually food. (More on Calvin the Eternal Optimist at a later time.) If I put a treat down, Calvin sniffs around and finds it. If Jessica thinks that the treat is under Calvin, she'll bump him out of the way, even if she misses the treat in her exuberance and Calvin ends up getting it.

Their interaction is definitely worth the cost of salad and hay, whether it's them cuddling together, Calvin doing his "I love you" dance around Jessica, or them squabbling over food. :-)


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