I had been resisting naming my rabbits. I guess it was because I never really expected them to live long. But as the end of week one rolled around, I decided I should name them. The vendor said they were a male/female pair, so I figured I should name them as a pair. They’re Chinese rabbits and I’m in China, so Chinese names seemed appropriate. I named the girl Tai Tai (台台) and the boy Bo Bo (伯伯). (These names may seem a little strange, but they have their roots in Chinese culture — anyone get them?)

Here are some pictures I took to emphasize their smallness:


Yesterday my rabbits presented me with my first “birthday surprise.” I came out of my bedroom and took a look at their cage. The first thing that came into my head was, “that’s a funny way to sleep.” Suddenly realizing that the rabbit could be dead, I examined her more closely. She was alive, but seemed completely unable to move. And I had to rush out the door because a had an activity with a client kindergarten to get to. I had no choice but to leave my little rabbit to die.

When I got home, she was, indeed, dead. The other one was just fine. The worst part was that there was no good way to dispose of her little body. I could only wrap it up and chuck it in the trash. I felt bad about that.

To be honest, I couldn’t be sure that it was Tai Tai that died and not Bo Bo. Rabbits are not easy to sex when they’re that young. But I liked the name Bo Bo better, so I decided Bo Bo was the survivor. If I was wrong about which one it was, I could confront my mistake down the road and just hope that my little rabbit wasn’t left with too much of a gender identitity crisis.

(Incidentally, Bo Bo was also the name of a girl I went on one date with in Hangzhou years ago. We met on the internet. I remember that date very clearly because (1) she took a good picture of me that I used on this site’s main page for two years, and (2) we ended up talking about her mother’s death a year previous. Very heavy for a first date. I never saw her again. She was a nice enough girl, but I could never go for a girl with a moustache.)

Last night I had fun playing with Bo Bo. It was good to see that he was healthy at least.

This morning I got to sleep in because it was day one of my week-long May Day vacation. No work for seven days. When I came out of my bedroom, I saw that little Bo Bo was sleeping in too. Only he wasn’t ever waking up.

Part of me is relieved because I no longer have the responsibility of trying to raise rabbits in a city apartment. Now I’m glad I really did my best to keep them healthy, but I’m baffled as to what did them in, when they seemed so healthy but then deteriorated so rapidly without warning or apparent cause.

No more pets for a while.

Expect more (less depressing) site updates this first week of May. I finally updated the About Page recently and the picture in the upper right of this page to reflect my new home. More to come. Also, Adopt a Blog is not dead, just stalled.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Itay Halevy Says: May 1, 2004 at 10:01 pm

    gosh, maybe it was feeding them all this greenthings that did them in, they’re chinese rabbits after all, maybe you should have fed them only bread? 🙂

  2. 梁山伯 and 祝英台?

  3. Brendan,

    That’s it. Destined for tragedy, I guess.

  4. Well, at least they’re safe in Rabbit Heaven now…

  5. woah i want to cry………. they seem to be very healthy and adorble. that’s really too sad. how long have you had them?

  6. Da Xiangchang Says: May 2, 2004 at 10:12 am

    Maybe you should’ve fed them pet food. You know, those green pellets. I’m not quite sure what rabbits in the wild eat, but maybe grass wasn’t enough. When I was a kid, I had a rabbit. We fed him nothing but those green pellets, and he grew up to be one healthy bastard. He probably weighed 20 pounds and was the size of a small dog. And he lived seemingly forever. Finally, we got tired of him and let him go in a park. Wonder where he is now . . .

  7. So fuzzy!! Too bad they died.

    I like your new pic. What’s behind you? I thought you were going to take it on a flyover with a street or something behind you.

  8. It reminds me of the tragedy of the mice couple raised by one of my roommates and her boyfriend. After keeping them for two or three days, they decided the little mice should take a bath. They did, and then cleaned the mice with alcohol. It ended up with the death of the female, poisoned by alcohol as it took some in, and the other turned a widower, just over a bath…

  9. The names of Tai Tai and Bo Bo, I think I get it. Is the very old love story from China, the name of the male called Bo Bo, and the girl called Tai Tai. They are the last character of their chinese names.

    Anyway, I feel sorry for your rabbits, but really rabbits are very difficult to keep.

  10. my lizard is still alive, I guess I’m just a better person…

  11. It reminds of my 小明弟(his name, hehe), a small kind of pet called 荷兰猪(the vendor said so though I still dont know what it is till now), look like mouse but have a pair of pig ears, very cute. Raised by me and my roomates. But he died only three days or so after we bought it. So sad. :((

  12. Da Xiangchang Says: May 3, 2004 at 1:54 am

    I’m telling ya, the pellets are the key!

  13. A similar thing happened to me when I lived in Beijing. I bought a newborn puppy at a bar because the puppy owner (Chinese) had brought it in and was basically treating it like a puppet. I offered her 1000 RMB for it, she said yes, I gave her the money. Then she realized I wasn’t joking and wanted the puppy back. “No” was my response, “you aren’t fit to raise a puppy”. Alcohol was also a big factor in my decision. Dead in three days. My wife (Chinese) had been wanting a puppy and I had been resisting getting one. Didn’t want to get one, bond, and then leave it when we moved to America. I’m one of those people who think that the pet is part of the family. I’ve found many Chinese find that pets are animals.

    So, we got a new puppy. Then our ayi bought us another one. Then my wife bought 3 baby ducklings, but had no clue how to raise or feed them. WHYYYYY????? “So the puppies can play with them” Dead in two days, but not from doggie abuse. Just passed on.

    And of course, when we moved to America, we had to give the dogs away. sigh….

    At least when we return to China, next week, we have a baby. She won’t be wanting a puppy this time.

    I hope.


  14. 兔兔

  15. I told your rabbit story to my girlfriend (who is Chinese). She instantly asked me if you gave them water and vegtables because “of course that would kill them.” Call it “strange theory #807.” I’m still rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disbelief 😉 ….


  16. Hey… maybe the Chinese are right on this front. Who said rabbits eat vegetables anyway?

    Then again, I was at a “wild animal zoo” today where the Chinese approach to animal care seems to have consisted of chucking empty water bottles at sleeping lions/tigers/monkeys/etc. just to provoke a reaction for the camera.

    It make me kind of sad and sick.

  17. Aww…cute.

    One of my turtles got eaten by my housemate’s dog. Poor little pets. ;[

  18. about the rabbits.. yea ur not supposed to feed it water and general veggies cause the excess moisture makes them have diarrhea.. and they die. they’re really fragile, they’re not like the ones in the states. ur supposed to feed em like half a carrot a day or something.. theres no such thing as ‘rabbit food’ (pellets) in china.

  19. NARIO BARTO Says: October 11, 2004 at 11:16 pm


  20. I have had pet rabbits for about 3 years they make good apartment pets if you can get past the litter training stage and put up barriers to ALL of you electronic wires. I just wanted to say it seems your rabbits were sick before you got them and the sings were not there yet.

    Vegetables will not kill a rabbit but too many watery vegetables like iceberg lettuce may give a bunny diarrhea wich in a already weak bunny can lead to death. Rabbits need water the people who think water is bad for rabbits are wrong.
    A good diet for a bunny companion is a mix of pellets, hay, and fresh vegetables. I feed my rabbits carrots, several kinds of lettuce, peas, parsley, and just about every fresh vegetable and fruit I would eat myself and have had no problems. I don¡¯t think you did anything wrong. Rabbits are delicate creatures and in the States people often buy rabbits as pets and relies later that the rabbits were not healthy to begin with.
    The best rabbit care gudie is House Rabbit Society’s site http://www.rabbit.org/

  21. You know, a few years ago, my dad brought in 3 little rabbits from a rabbit warren outside (their mother had died, and they’re stupid little creatures which don’t move, so he brought them in). They grew pretty darn fast. After a week or 2, one died, then another did as well. So we decided to let the last one go in the wild in case it was something about our apartment that was killing them. I always wondered what it was. Maybe it was paint fragments . . . or Pringles . . . .

  22. i had a rabbit and my uncles dog got into the cage he was in and the dog ate him. it was the saddest day of my life.

  23. that sad to here about tai tai but they look like very unique rabbits

  24. We have had rabbits for years and they are fat, healthy and stupid. Rabbits can’t just eat one thing – they need a variety to be healthy. Ours eat a lot of green things from the outside, pellets, and hay. We let them run around in the backyard during the day and they chew on just about everything.

  25. Do you think going to see a client is better than taking your rabbit to see the vet?They have a life!

  26. Michelle Says: July 18, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Poor Rabbits, there so cute. Feeding them Dried rabbit ffood from the store is the worst thing you can feed them, who knows what artificial ingrediants is added in that shit. Lettuce, carrots, celery etc. (fresh vegetables) That keeps a cute little bunny healthy.

  27. someone Says: July 21, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    so sad !! i have a rabbit and a guineapig of my own! but they seem to be ok, guess its there diet, maybe next time if u get rabbits again feed them vegies and rabbit pellets

    doing a bit of research on the net on rabbits and animal diets are a great help!

  28. someone Says: July 21, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    daisy if you ever read this .. the rat/ piggy ear creature bought was a guinea pig

  29. you should look at what rabbits in the wild eat and ask a vet who will help you

  30. Awwwwwwww i feel so sorry for both of your albino rabbits, they looked so !CUTE! i have a rabbit of my own and it looks under weight i have to feed her musley because she wont eat the stupid pellets!

  31. thats disgusting…u were prepared for ur pet’s demise even before they actually concieved it.rabbits are very sensitive animals..they need care,love and attention too,besides ur “rabbit pellets”..i think u should have taken more care of your animal..

  32. clare

    they are the cuttest rabits i have ever seen in my life

    thanks 4 showin them

  33. I know that this entry is a few years old, but sorry about your rabbits. If you got them from a pet store and/or breeder, it may be why they didn’t survive. Maybe it is best that you don’t have pets, especially if you’re concerned about raising them in a city apartment.

  34. Just one more piece of advice: do research on the type of animal and the place you get him/her from ahead of time. Find out whether they are suitable companions for your lifestyle, what the needs are, and whether the peole selling or giving them away have healthy animals.

  35. I have two bunnies, and they hate the pellets. They seriously lose weight if we use them. The pet stores around here, though, are more worried about cat and dog food. I don’t blame them, the pellets don’t smell nearly as good as the stuff they like. The stuff they like smells sooooo good, and with my inferior human nose, too. Honestly, pellets have nothing to do with anything. Plenty of people let their rabbits live outside on only grass.

    Then again, my rabbits also hate carrots, so maybe they’re not normal. They like the carrot greens, the tops, but the orange part? Not a chance. They let it shrivel up.

    But in reference to the cause of death, it could have been anything. Their small size reminds me of something, though. When two dwarves are bred, there’s a 25% chance of producing a “peanut”. These are incredibally small rabbits, kinda like a runt, that live for about 1-3 weeks, and then die. The condition is always, always fatal. So since you don’t mention here how you got them, if you were given them or found them then it’s possible that as “peanuts” they never were going to live longer than a month.

    PS Domestic rabbits are about as similar to wild rabbits as dogs are to wolves. The number of generations since domesticated rabbits were in the wild is uncountable. That’s why it’s so cruel to release rabbits into the wild–they die, because they haven’t needed to know how to live by themselves in centuries. The resemblance is there, the behavior is there, but domesticated rabbits just aren’t the same as wild ones.

  36. It is so sad that your bunnies died so quickly.I have raised many breeds of rabbits for over 30 years and Judging from their confirmation, they do not appear to be dwarf rabbits. I am wondering if they could have been a larger breed but the babies were too young to be away from their mother. judging from their size in comparison to your hand, I would estimate their age to be only 3 weeks old which is way too young to be away from their mother. Also baby rabbits should never have greens, vegetables or fruit. It will kill them. At that age (besides mother’s milk) they should only have rabbit pellets and hay.

  37. Having a pet in ur home is not like having an antique, all its job is entertaning u. sorry for being tough but this pets are souls espicially rabbits they are very senstive animals.i think that you were busy in searching on aname for them instead of learning about thier needs.

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