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The Charm of New Zealand White Rabbits    


Looking Past the Pink Eyes
So often I hear people say, "Oh I don't care for those rabbits with the pink eyes."  I'm always sorry to hear that because, as the bunny mom of two beautiful New Zealand White rabbits, I know how special they are. In my opinion, those beautiful ruby eyes are complimentary to their snowy white fur. So pristine, pink, white, and pure. That's how New Zealand bunnies appear to me.

Another drawback for some people is the New Zealand's size. Many of these bunnies get quite large. But as rescuers and adopters, in our opinion, their size makes these bunnies perfect for families with children. Because of their large size, children are unable to pick up these bunnies and are forced to interact with them - down on the floor - at their level. This is the best way for children and bunnies to meet, and to become best friends.

Family Companions
Looks aside, New Zealand rabbits have wonderful personalities. They are friendly, outgoing, and they love people! We've seen many of these bunnies overcome some horrible conditions and treatment, and go on to become perfect family companions. Three of these bunnies proved just that - in recent adoptions from two of our local shelters. Here are their stories:

Stormin' Norman Marshmallow
Norm, as he was known before his adoption, was just another white bunny who was "dumped" at a local shelter by someone who didn't want him anymore. His fur was dirty, he was unneutered and had horrible litterbox habits, but he was very friendly and would come to the front of his cage to greet anyone who might come by. HRS volunteers took Norm to get neutered, and while in their care he was photographed as San Diego HRS' "patriotic poster boy" in front of an American Flag. That photograph gained him the nickname of Stormin' Norman.

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After his neuter, Norm was transferred to a local humane society where he might have a better chance at adoption. His friendly attitude served him well and before long he was adopted by the Brady family, whose two small daughters named him Marshmallow.

Helga Brady writes, " Marshy has turned out to be such a great pet, I really had no idea he would be so comfortable with my kids.  He still does his cute little hop and kick with a twist.

He has sampled everything in my herb garden and I have found him to be a good composter of herbs that grow out of control. He hangs outside with me during the day, and comes in every night and enjoys an evening of running around the house before he goes to bed in the girls’ room. He seems quite content to go in his cage at night to chill-out after a long day. He lies in his cage, all stretched out like a cat on his tummy and usually give us a big yawn so we can see how big his teeth and tongue are (he’s part dog and cat, ya know).

We love him so much and are so happy to have him as part of our family. He is very low maintenance (as pets go), he has stopped pulling up the carpet, and he is very clean and seems to like to keep his cage in order (the towel stays in its spot and he doesn’t mess up his food and water now that I have the bowls that screw onto the side of the cage).

I usually get some quiet time with him during the day when it’s just the two of us. When I lay down next to him he bounces over and licks my face all over (the dog part of him again), and sometimes he tries to eat my hair. He is the coolest bunny I have ever known in my life and we feel so lucky to have him."

~ Helga Brady

Princess Leia and Stormy
My husband and I recently decided it would be good to get a pet for our children. We have a son who is six years old; he is quiet, reserved, and fearful of animals. Our daughter is four years old, and a “ball of energy” who adores animals. We wanted to have a pet that was non-threatening and could be handled. Somehow, a rabbit came to mind. Once our decision was made, I started to look in the paper for rabbits for sale and I found the ad from the House Rabbit Society. I called and left a message, telling them I was interested in adopting. I also visited a couple of rabbits at peoples homes and fell in love with the Rex breed. My daughter fell in love with any rabbit who had marks and colors, and my son fell in love with rabbits with tall ears; for some reason he doesn’t like lops. I'll bet you’re wondering how we ended up with New Zealand White rabbits, since they are different from everything we saw and wanted. 

A few days later, I got a call from a volunteer with the House Rabbit Society, who talked to me for more than an hour about the different breeds of rabbits, their temperament, behavior, and care. She also told me about abandoned rabbits for adoption at the animal shelters. I was leery at first, because I didn't want rabbits that were afraid of people. I told her that I was looking for two rabbits, who would be good to each other, and friendly. I explained that I was not in a rush to get the rabbits and that I was willing wait. The next week, the volunteer called me back and said she knew of two rabbits that she thought would be perfect for our family. She said they are New Zealand White rabbits. Well, not spotted and not a Rex, but according to her they were very friendly and might get along really well. She said that Stormy (the name my son gave him) loves to give kisses and is very friendly. She also mentioned a female rabbit, Princess Leia (named by my daughter), who had been injured on her nose and has a bump, but she is friendly although a little shy. I said, “As long as they are friendly, that’s all that matters to me.”

The next day we met the HRS volunteer at the shelter, and she and another volunteer helped us to put the two rabbits together to see if they could bond. They informed me that they think these two rabbits will make a great pair.  Now it was up to us. Did we want them? So I gathered up the kids for a family conference and we talked. We all agreed that we wanted to adopt these two beautiful white bunnies.

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Since they've joined our family, we have learned that Princess Leia loves to explore and dance. She'll nudge you out of the way when she wants to go by, and she loves my husband and comes up to him often. She grooms and licks my daughter’s hair while she is lying down and singing. Stormy loves to give kisses and he will come up to anyone. He is wonderful with my son, who claims that Stormy “listens” and talks to him. Stormy gave my son a kiss on the nose after he gave him a carrot.  

Sure, it’s not all roses; Princess Leia started to chew on the rug, so I put a sea grass mat over the area. Stormy started to dig, so I put him in his litter box. I got a few scratches from not holding them correctly, and the kids are learning that it takes time and work to care for the rabbits, and that sometimes it’s not fun. But, they are learning to care for another being. I have seen my children shower Princess Leia and Stormy with affection and love. This makes my heart fill with joy.

 We are so glad that we took the time to learn all we could about rabbits before bringing one home. And we are also glad that we kept an open mind about the kind of rabbits we would adopt. We had never heard about New Zealand White rabbits, and until talking to HRS volunteers, didn’t know what wonderful pets they could be for our family. We are so happy that we took our time, and waited for the “right” rabbits.

~ Claire Gayon

Lighthearted Best Friends
For singles or couples, New Zealands can become their best friends. They love to interact and will even play games. They are active, playful, extremely intelligent, and have mischievous personalities.

HRS foster bunnies,
Daisy & Eddie, are silly and sweet and
would make great family bunnies.


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Skye was our first house bunny and she immediately chose the top of the sofa as "her" place. From there, she could watch everything we did
and make sure we got it right!

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Two years later, Skye still likes to get up onto high places. This time, it
was up on top of her cage, along with her companion, Cinder. This
mischievous bunny just loves to dream up trouble!

~ Judith Pierce


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"Julie and Jessica live happily in the kitchen of our home, where they run free during the day. We had no idea how wonderful New Zealand bunnies were, until we adopted them. We still marvel at the sight of their magnificent ears and the really big "binkies" they display when allowed to play on the living room carpet."
~ Dorothy Rae Thomas

Former HRS foster bunny, Winter, makes a loving
husbun - and a great cushion - for his bunny wife, Misty


HRS foster bunny, Violet, gets adopted and finds a new best friend!
Reports from her adopters are "we love her!" and that Violet is the
perfect bunny for their family.

HRS Foster Bunny, Mia, made a great companion for big bunny, Jack.
New Zealands' gentle temperaments make them
excellent companion choices.

Currently, in San Diego County, there are many beautiful New Zealand white rabbits waiting for homes. You can see their photos and learn more about them. If you're thinking about adopting, especially if this is your first rabbit, I highly recommend you consider a New Zealand White rabbit.

~ Judith Pierce, Chapter Manager, San Diego HRS













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Write: P.O. Box 2628, Spring Valley, CA 91979 or call: 619-718-7777