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Live Rabbits and Easter Can be a Bad Combination

Carefully Consider the Decision to Bring Home a Rabbit

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rabbit picture Photo © Lianne McLeod
Due to the popular association of rabbits and Easter, and the proliferation of bunnies at pet stores around Easter, it can be tempting to bring home a live rabbit for Easter. But unless you have done your research and are certain a pet rabbit will be a good fit for your household, this can be a bad idea.

Many Easter Bunnies End up at Shelters After Easter

Owners who didn't know what to expect from a pet bunny often end up surrendering them to shelters after Easter once the novelty wears off and the amount of work required to properly care for pet rabbits becomes apparent.

Rabbits can be wonderful companions -- for owners who know what they are getting into. Rabbits are fun and entertaining and often form very close bonds with their owners. Here are some thing to consider before deciding if a rabbit is right for you:

  • Being social, rabbits need a great deal of interaction with their owners and/or other rabbits to be happy. Daily playtime and exercise outside of their case are necessary.
  • They are not low maintenance - it takes a good deal of work to properly care for a rabbit.
  • Rabbit pellets alone are not a sufficient diet -- they need lots of roughage in the form of good quality hay and a variety of fresh vegetables.
  • They do need to chew, so lots of safe chew toys should be provided, and any spaces where the rabbit is allowed to run must be carefully rabbit-proofed.
  • They need a relatively large cage. They are also better off indoors, where they can be more social with their family and also are also safe from predators (even in the city) and extreme weather.
  • While they are generally quiet pets, rabbits are not a good match for active young children who may not be careful enough when picking them up or playing around them.
  • Rabbits like to be near their people, but they often would rather not be held (which can be disappointing, especially for kids)
  • They require some veterinary care, which can be expensive. They should be spayed or neutered (by a vet experienced with surgery on rabbits) and they may require vaccinations depending on where you live (e.g. in the U.K.; see Rabbit Vaccinations from RabbitRehome.org.uk for more on vaccines).
  • Rabbit urine can have a strong odor so expect to change their litter box frequently (rabbits usually take quite well to litter box training though, spaying and neutering should help reduce the odor).

If You Are Sure a Rabbit is Right for You

Of course, some potential owners will have done their research and are ready to make the commitment to a pet rabbit. If this is true for you, please consider adopting from a shelter or rescue. There are many pet rabbits out there who need a second chance at finding a forever home, Easter or not. Many animal shelters regularly receive rabbits so you can often find them at your local shelter or humane society. Alternatively, check for a local chapter of the House Rabbit Society, or visit Petfinder.com and do a search for adoptable bunnies in your area.

Make Mine Chocolate

If you are not absolutely certain a rabbit is the right pet for you, it's best follow the advice of the "Make Mine Chocolate!" campaign, and stick to chocolate bunnies this Easter.
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