Thinking of giving a bunny as a gift this Easter? Please make it chocolate, a stuffed animal, or a toy rabbit.
We’ve all seen them – the lovable pictures of gleeful children hugging an adorable little bunny. Every Easter, these pictures help perpetuate the myth that rabbits make great gifts for children. What most people don’t know is that rabbits, as sweet as they may seem, are active and intelligent animals that prefer a calm home. Being a species of prey, many don’t even like being picked up and held. Hence, rabbits and children are not usually the best combination.
…Pet rabbits can live from seven to ten or more years and require the same long-term care as dogs and cats?
Rabbits do make wonderful, loving pets, but they are not for everyone. In order for a rabbit to be happy and healthy, they need exercise and interaction every day and must be spayed or neutered upon reaching sexual maturity. And they are a long-term commitment – if you are not ready to give a rabbit 10 years of your life, you are not ready to give one as a pet. As tempting as it may seem, NEVER BUY A RABBIT ON IMPULSE OR GIVE A PET AS A GIFT!
…Young children and bunnies aren’t such a good match?
Many Easter rabbits face a sad fate. Children need to realize that a pet rabbit is NOT a stuffed toy. A rabbit can become easily frightened when picked up and cuddled. Their natural instinct is to jump or kick and this may result in the child, or the rabbit, becoming injured. Once the novelty of this new pet wears off, the rabbit usually ends up being confined to its cage and eventually forgotten about. Many rabbits end up in a shelter within one year.
…Pet rabbits must be live indoors, with their human families?
Rabbits are very social creatures that enjoy the interaction, stimulation and comforts of living “with the family”. Many believe an outdoor hutch is the perfect home for their rabbit however, time and time again, we hear sad stories of pet rabbits who have met their demise while being housed outside. They are attacked by predators (dogs, feral cats, raccoons, and coyotes). A determined predator can bend or break wire and more agile ones can open cage doors. With their acute vision, hearing, and smell, a rabbit can sense the presence of a predator a yard away and this can trigger an extreme reaction; a panic attack. A rabbit in this state can break their own back, or die from a heart attack or shock.
Other risks to consider is the presence of poisonous plants and potentially deadly fertilizers and pesticides used on the lawn or yard, extreme temperatures, fly strike, fleas and myxomatosis from biting insects.
…Thousands of ex-Easter bunnies are abandoned to shelters or into the wild each year when their novelty wears off?
Many people think that rabbits are good “starter pets” for children. Just like a dog or a cat, rabbits require a lot of upkeep. There are very few children who are able to shoulder the full-time responsibility of taking care of an animal. Therefore, it is important to realize that an adult will have to be the rabbit’s main care-giver.
…Pet rabbits aren’t low-maintenance pets―they have specific dietary and veterinary needs, and must be handled with care?
Please take the time to do your own research and consider all of these facts. If you decide that you and your family are ready to welcome a rabbit into your lives, please email us for an adoption application, or a local shelter and visit last year’s Easter Bunnies. By adopting a Rabbit Rescue or shelter bunny, you can enjoy the added fact that you are saving a life.
We encourage you to join us in one of our Easter Campaigns; Make Mine Chocolate, and our Paper Bunny Campaign.
In the meantime, Rabbit Rescue suggests you visit our online store and purchase a chocolate or stuffed bunny instead. Let’s make Easter a happy time for everyone, including rabbits.