Easter is fast approaching and among the traditions of colorful eggs and jellybeans tucked in the annual quintessential Easter basket, there is all too often a live rabbit given to youngsters.
Laura Fulda, the director of marketing and development at the East Bay SPCA, says those contemplating a rabbit adoption for the Easter holiday should reconsider.
“The biggest misconception is that a bunny is a good pet for small children,” said Fulda. “They require a lot of special care. People get a rabbit with good intentions. They soon tire of the animal and realize it has a lot of issues, including vet care and specific dietary needs. Then people drop the bunny off to a shelter or in a field.”
“All shelters see ‘ex-Easter bunnies’ and we want to make sure people make an educated decision,” continued Fulda. “We encourage people looking for a bunny to think twice before adopting. Instead, we recommend a plush toy or chocolate bunny as a gift and a book about bunny care. If the child is still interested and the parent thinks they are mature enough, then they should consider rabbit adoption.”
Joan Wegner, of the East Bay Rabbit Rescue, says that “no animal is a good gift.”
“[Those adopting] have to be committed to having a rabbit for their lifetime,” she said. “Rabbits can be as much work and as much expense as a dog or cat.”
According to Wegner, bunnies are a lot of commitment, a lot of work and people must know what they are getting into.
“We always screen extra hard and we recommend all bunnies be spayed or neutered,” she said. “Bunnies can live anywhere from eight to twelve years.”
Fulda says people should know what having a rabbit entails.
“Heat can kill a rabbit. They can also frighten to death if approached by a dog, cat or raccoon,” she said. “We recommend a cage that is four times the size of the adult rabbit. It should not have a wire bottom and it needs room for a litter box, food, water and toys.”
According to Fulda, unspayed or unneutered rabbits can spray and tend to nibble.
“It depends on the rabbit but spaying or neutering can help stop those behaviors,” she commented.
Wegner says that when people are sure they are ready to adopt, using a rescue or shelter is more affordable and helps pair potential pet owners with rabbits best-suited to their lifestyles and personality.
Youtube has some links to help you decide it a rabbit is right for you family.