How to Take Care of Lion Mane Rabbits

A baby bunny usually will elicit the "aw" reflex in people, but adult lionhead rabbits have the same effect. The fluffy ruff of hair around the rabbit's head and shoulders look reminiscent of a male lion's mane. While this breed is ideal for cuddling, it comes with extensive grooming requirements and potential health problems that you'll want to consider before purchasing this fluffy bunny.

A Home of Her Own

The best place for your lionhead rabbit is inside your home. Her long fur collects dust, dirt and mud and becomes easily matted in an outdoor environment. Your rabbit's indoor pen should be a minimum of 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high. Place a litter box filled with clay litter, wood pellets or straw inside her environment, and provide a private den area, such as a wooden rabbit house where she can hide. House males separately from each other and keep females separate from males to prevent unplanned babies.

Dining In

Lionhead rabbits have notably sensitive digestive systems, so you'll want to plan your rabbit's food carefully to avoid diarrhea that collects in the wool on her rear legs. Feed small amounts of commercial rabbit food -- up to 2.5 ounces per day -- to ensure she receives proper nutrition by consuming it all, not just picking out her favorite morsels. Give her unlimited access to high-quality hay to give her enough fiber and ensure proper tooth wear and adequate roughage. Clean water provided in a rabbit-sized water bottle prevents bedraggled whiskers and ensures she doesn't ingest bacteria from a soiled water bowl. Introduce fresh fruits and vegetables gradually and in limited amounts to prevent diarrhea.

Outside the Box

Your lionhead rabbit requires daily exercise outside of her cage to maintain optimal health. A rabbit naturally will choose one area of her cage to defecate, and is easily trained to use a litter box placed at her favored spot. Leave your rabbit's cage open when you are allowing her to exercise and you'll have minimal cleanup from her adventures. Supervise your lionhead when she's outside her cage as she will nibble anything she is curious about, including furniture, electrical cords and carpeting.

Special Care

Your lionhead rabbit requires grooming at least three times weekly. Comb her fur with a cat shedding comb to remove tangles and mats. Clean the area under her tail using a cloth dipped in warm water and remove any mats. Lack of proper grooming can lead to fly-strike, where a rabbit's coat becomes infested with maggots. Wool block can occur when your rabbit ingests too much of her own hair as she attempts to groom herself. Watch for lethargy, lack of appetite and small, infrequent droppings. Contact your veterinarian, as wool block can be fatal.

Author

A former world-class swimmer, J.T. O'Connell shares her love of adventure travel, extreme sports and pets through thousands of published articles. O'Connell studied journalism at Grand Canyon University, and brings professional experience as a tour guide and travel consultant. She authors the blog, Traveling With Large Dogs.