Don’t be fooled by the fluffy, cuddly, and soft baby bunny you see at the local pet store!
With Easter only a few weeks away, many parents are thinking a “real” bunny would be the ideal Easter gift for their young child. Think again.
Within months, these adorable baby bunnies will grow into full grown rabbits that will start scratching, spraying urine, biting and chewing everything in your home! Contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not make good pets for children under 10 years old and for families who are not prepared to take care of this “high” need animal. Rabbits are one of the most misunderstood animals in the universe. Rabbits are prey animals and are apprehensive of you, other pets, and all strangers. They do not like to be picked up and carried, and will bite and scratch in order to escape a fearful situation (i.e. a child’s arms).
Rabbits must live indoors all year round and require a very precise diet. They need attention throughout the day and should not live in a cage or hutch. Rabbits need to exercise outside of their safe living environment at least 2 hours a day. Rabbits shed on a regular basis and need weekly brushing.
Sadly, more than 85 percent of rabbits given as Easter gifts are returned to shelters or are turned loose in the wild. Domestic rabbits cannot live in the wild and certain death is imminent.
Before you consider buying a rabbit as an Easter gift, remember this:
• Rabbits can live 10 years or more and require constant care.
• Rabbits cannot survive temperatures over 80 degrees, therefore must live indoors all year round.
• Rabbits are extremely smart animals and should not live in a cage or hutch.
• All rabbits must be spayed or neutered, as females stand an 80% chance of getting uterine cancer if not spayed.
• Rabbits are “ground lovers” and do not like to be picked up and held.
For families who are not ready to make a long term commitment to a rabbit, please consider a chocolate or stuffed bunny as an Easter gift. If you have done extensive research on caring for a rabbit and feel prepared, please contact your local “rabbit rescue” or humane society and professionals will assist you in finding the perfect match for your family.
Contributing Content: By Kim Dezelon, a volunteer for Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue.