With the steady stream of Easter bunny images hopping around this time of year it’s no surprise that many young children are asking for a bunny of their very own. Who doesn’t love the thought of a soft, cuddly friend with a twinkling velvet nose and whirring whiskers! Unfortunately, many parents succumb to the idea and present a live bunny in their kids’ Easter baskets – only to soon discover that rabbits really aren’t little kid-friendly. The result? Thousands of rabbits end up neglected or dumped at overflowing shelters, parks and greenspaces. No happy ever-afters there.
Not to say rabbits don’t make wonderful pets; they do — for the right, rabbit-loving person. Anyone considering adding a rabbit to the family should carefully research the needs and realities of living with them . . . which can last 10 years or more with a healthy, well cared-for bunny.
As prey animals, rabbits are easily stressed by loud noise and fast movement, and aren’t typically fond of being cuddled, held or carried. And unless they are spayed or neutered, those docile babies can reach sexual maturity within just 90 days, resulting in all kinds of hijinks, such as urine spraying, territorial and aggressive behavior, humping, and chewing the bejeezus out of everything. Not exactly Little Bunny Froo Froo. Families should also consider the time and effort it takes to potty-train, provide ample exercise, and a diet that in fact involves much more than Peter Rabbit’s fabled diet of lettuce and carrots.
Numerous organizations, such as Rabbit Advocates, Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary, the Oregon Humane Society, Seattle Humane Society and even local 4-H clubs, are more than happy to provide resources on proper care for these gentle, sensitive animals.
If it turns out a rabbit isn’t a fit for your family, a good old-fashioned chocolate bunny is bound to bring a smile Easter morning.