Thursday, April 2, 2009
Rabbit Born With TWO Noses
MILFORD -- It's soft, it's cuddly and it's cute -- even though it has two noses.
That's right, a baby bunny with two noses. And it's no April Fools joke, either.
"In my 25 years in the pet shop business, I've never had anything like this," said Tom Fomenko, Sr. owner of Purr-Fect Pets, Inc. 282 Boston Post Road.
That means no two-headed snakes, no five-legged hamsters and no three-winged birds.
"Nothing at all," he said.
That's until March 24. That's when Allison Noe, a store employee, discovered the oddity while inspecting a batch of newly-delivered, six-week old dwarf rabbits.
When she picked up a tri-colored baby boy bunny and looked at its face, she did a double take. The rabbit has two separate noses each with two nostrils. "I brought it up to the front counter to show everyone," she said.
Tiana Nieves, an employee who once worked at for a Florida veterinarian, could not believe what she was hearing.
"So I took a look," she said. Sure enough, the bunny had two noses.
"It makes it doubly cute when it crinkles and wiggles both," Nieves said.
Jeremy Reynolds, the store's manager, also never saw any such animal anomaly in his 16 years in the business.
He said the bunny gets along with the whole litter.
"It's not treated differently," he said. "It eats like the others. It drinks like the others and it hops around like the others."
Gregg Dancho, director of the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, said there's usually two reasons for such deformities.
"It's mostly genetic," he said. "Most of the dwarf bunnies pet stores sell are bred for sale. There's a lot of in-breeding going on because the breeders are looking to produce them en mas."
But the anomaly can also be caused by something in the environment.
"Maybe the parents got into poison or pesticides used to control pests," he said.
But Dancho said people interested in buying a dwarf rabbit or any animal as a pet should really think about what they are doing and not buy on impulse. "When that animal comes home you will have to take care of it," he said.
Additionally, he warned cute baby animals like ducks, chicks and rabbits, which people buy as Easter gifts, do grow up.
"Some owners can't take care of them and we can't take in hundreds of these," he said. So a lot get euthanized or left to fend for themselves..
He suggests people become informed consumers and read up on the animal's habits and care before buying them.
"A dwarf rabbit could live as long as 10 years, be litter trained and stay in doors," he said. "But they will have a smell. You shouldn't buy a pet then keep it outside in a hutch. Many of these animals won't acclimate to outdoor conditions and health could become a factor."
Store employees are now vying to name the animal.
Reynolds likes Cyrano de Bergerec, because of the long nose.
Nieves prefers Deuce.
Meanwhile, store employees have become attached to the bunny and are hoping it won't be sold.
"It would be a hot commodity for us," Nieves said.
If it does get sold, Fomenko said it will got to a special place and not the highest bidder.
"It's not just another animal. It's special, " the owner said.