Sure bunnies are cute, but they are an 8-12 year commitment. There are many of these posts going around highlighting that bunnies do not make good Easter pets. This also goes for baby chicks and ducklings that are also common gifts around Easter time.

I have been working with rabbit rescues for several years now and every spring there is a common theme. We see clients with newly purchased fluffy, cute baby rabbits that are unaware of what is involved in caring for their bunny. While we do our best to educate new bunny owners on the ins and outs of bunny care, not everyone brings them in for a veterinary visit. Furthermore, in 2-3 month’s time, once their rabbit reaches sexual maturity and their behaviors change, they are more than likely to surrender their pet to a shelter.

Dogs are most commonly surrendered to shelters for behavioral reasons. Rabbits are typically relinquished due to the owner being unwilling or unable to care for them. Housing problems and too many rabbits (due to failing to spay and neuter) are also common reasons. These reasons suggest that owners acquired their rabbits without fully understanding the care these animals require.

Here are some things you should know if you are thinking of purchasing a rabbit:

  • Rabbits need specialized medical care and finding an experienced bunny vet can be hard.
  • Rabbits are not like dogs and cats. They are prey animals who can be easily frightened by loud noise and quick, unpredictable human movements.
  • Rabbits eat a lot of hay and poop a lot, and while they can be litter trained, many rabbits are not spayed and neutered which can lead to urine spraying, aggression and not using a litter box well.
  • Spaying and neutering is strongly recommended to reduce unwanted pregnancy and prevent incidence of uterine cancer. Surgery to spay and neuter your rabbit can cost the same as a for a dog or a cat.
  • When Bunnies stop eating or pooping it is an emergency and treatment as well as diagnostics to determine the underlying cause can be very expensive.
  • Rabbits are very social and affectionate animals, that benefit from daily interaction with humans and other rabbits. 
  • Rabbits are very intelligent and benefit from daily mental and physical stimulation.
  • We recommend that pet rabbits be kept indoors, due to the many dangers associated with climate and predators.

Rabbits are the third most relinquished animal after dogs and cats and this is why we want to educate the general public that while rabbits make great pets, they are a pet that requires thought and research. Many shelters around the country are educating and spreading messages to help raise awareness about this issue. In fact, the House rabbit societies are a great resource for anyone thinking of adopting a rabbit. In fact, just recently, the state of California has banned the sale of commercially bred cats, dogs and rabbits from pet stores. This means that these animals must now be obtained from shelters and rescues.

You wouldn’t rush out and buy a puppy or kitten without being prepared so please reconsider the purchase of an “Easter rabbit”.

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