As Easter approaches many parents have the impulsive idea of getting a pet bunny for their children as an Easter gift. There are many reasons why parents should think twice before making that decision.
- Rabbits (or any pet) should never be an impulse purchase. They are not low-maintenance pets and require a lot of care and attention.
- Excitable, small children and rabbits generally are not a good combination. Rabbits are shy and scare easily and may scratch or bite out of fear.
- Most bunnies bought on impulse end up in humane societies, animal shelters, or turned loose in the wild every year after Easter has passed.
- Most pet rabbits have a general life span of 10 years. Most children lose interest long before that 10 years approaches. Are you prepared to care for the rabbit for this time period?
- Rabbits are somewhat finicky and delicate creatures and are susceptible to requiring vet care throughout their lives. This vet care can become costly.
- Your house must be rabbit-proof. Bunnies and rabbits can be destructive and like to dig and chew on anything they can find.
- Rabbits should be indoor pets and not kept in an outdoor hutch where they will be forgotten or succumb to outdoor predators. An ample indoor cage and other rabbit supplies such as litter pans, hay hoppers, pellets, litter, hay, etc will be needed to properly care for the rabbit.
- Pet rabbits can not be “set free” outdoors when your child gets tired of it. They do not have the rugged natural instincts that wild rabbits have and will likely become a meal for a predator within 72 hours.
- If you have other pets there may be a conflict with the rabbit. Rabbits are high strung animals and have a quick reflex to flee anything that is a threat. Rabbits need gentle, loving care and handling.
- Rabbits are social animals and ideally should be kept in pairs, if possible. Are you ready to take on all the responsibility times two? And remember, rabbits reproduce very quickly if not kept in same sex pairs. They can reproduce starting at three to four months old and can become pregnant again on the day they give birth.
It is not to be said that rabbits make poor pets. They can make very good pets if cared for properly. However, those parents that impulsively purchase “Easter bunnies” for their children usually are not prepared for what they are getting themselves into. If you have done your research, understand what you are getting into and are prepared to make the 10 to 12 year commitment, please adopt your rabbits from a rescue or shelter rather than purchasing them from pet stores. There are thousands of bunnies and rabbits that are euthanized due to lack of research and impulse buying. Please do not become a part of the problem. Chocolate bunnies are for Easter. Real bunnies are for commitments.