Written by: Corree Laule, MSc, PhD

The Daily Muffin: Life of a Quarantined Bunny

To say this year has been filled with uncertainty and fear would be an understatement. In a matter of weeks things went from “normal” to a situation that none of us could possibly be prepared for. By mid-March news and social media were completely consumed with coronavirus-related content. People reading information online (some real, some fake) were getting further sucked into the covid19 vortex of anxiety, stress, worry, anger, blame and a whole slew of other negative feelings. As work-from-home began for my husband Daren and myself, we now had 24 hour access to a therapy animal, our bunny Muffin. Her happy, bouncy personality would bring a smile to our faces no matter how gloomy things were. Pictures of Muffin’s antics would occasionally be sent to friends, who were always delighted to receive a fun, non-covid distraction. We thought the rest of the world could benefit from some daily Muffin therapy, and on March 15 the Daily Muffin was born!

People are often surprised to learn we have a rabbit (we actually have 2 but Rocky is an introvert and has been social distancing since before it was popular). Muffin is a lionhead/lop mix and ~8.5lbs. She is ~2.5 years old and was found on a street in Surrey and brought to the Vancouver Rabbit Rescue (www.vrra.org). We’ve learned a lot about Muffin being at home with her for the last 6+ months, so I thought I’d share some facts and answer some common questions people have about rabbits.

What does Muffin do most of the day?
Muffin really, really enjoys napping. Rabbits are crepuscular which means they are most active during the twilight hours around sunrise and sunset. When she takes a break from napping, sometimes Muffin helps us work. She has become skilled in brain & spinal cord MRI techniques, histology analysis, virtual conference planning, paper writing and Zoom bombing. She also helps Daren with his mechanical engineering fuel cell and battery work.
Where does Muffin sleep at night?
Muffin sleeps in our bedroom! She knows our evening routine well – after we brush our teeth, she gets one last bedtime snack treat. She’ll finish that, then coming running in and sleep beside and/or under the bed. Sometimes if we are up late trying to finish some work in the livingroom, she ditches us and goes to the bedroom by herself! In the mornings she’ll hop up on the bed at ~6am and wait for her first breakfast. Sometimes she wants morning snuggles.
What does Muffin eat?
Muffin is a strict vegan. Her diet consists of unlimited hay and 2 servings a day of mixed veggies including basil, mint, dill, cilantro, parsley, romaine lettuce, dandelion, and a small carrot. Rabbits do indeed love carrots and other sweet things like apples and berries, but they are high in sugar so we try to limit how much she gets. For treats she gets dried cranberries, blueberries and special bunny biscuits. Her love of veggies is best demonstrated by her breakfast video (turn on the sound!). If you’re into ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), you might also enjoy her crunching down on some lettuce.
Where does Muffin go to the bathroom?
A common question we get is about rabbit toilet habits. Bunnies are naturally very clean animals. In the wild they would have one area in their dens or warrens that would be used as a bathroom. Living in a human house, they will use a litter box, just like a cat. In the picture you can see Muffin stretched out in front of her litter box, which also allowed us to establish new unit of measurement: 1 Muffin-length ~ 75cm.
Does Muffin shed?
Yes! Muffin’s fur has changed a lot since the beginning of the year. We’ve only had her since January so we don’t know if her pattern will return in the winter. Stay tuned on twitter to find out!
Does Muffin have covid hair?
Like many of us, Muffin also has had covid quarantined induced hair degeneration. She’s gone from putting effort into keeping her hair neat and tidy, and trimming her beard, to not really caring at all. But she seems equally happy, so maybe she’s on to something?
Can Muffin do tricks?
As you probably know, rabbits are excellent jumpers. If you google rabbit agility you’ll find videos and photos of scaled-down versions of horse show jumping rings, with bunnies bounding through. Inspired, we decided to try and teach Muffin to jump through a ring.
With that, I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the life of a quarantined bunny. If you want a full dose of Muffin therapy you can check out all of our posts on twitter (#DailyMuffin or following @mripathology).