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Easter is no treat for real rabbits

Updated on April 25, 2012
Yes, rabbits are adorable.  But they are not the easy to care for pet that many people think they are, and should not be given as Easter gifts!
Yes, rabbits are adorable. But they are not the easy to care for pet that many people think they are, and should not be given as Easter gifts! | Source

There are many reasons why pets do not make good presents. Yes, a fuzzy baby rabbit would look adorable in your child's basket on Easter morning. But please think twice before giving a live animal away as a holiday gift, especially to a child. Rabbits are not the snugly, easy to care for pets that most people think of them as.

Did you know that an estimated 95% of rabbits given as gifts for Easter will not survive to see their 1st birthday? A sad statistic, considering that the average life span of a domestic rabbit is between 8 and 12 years, with some of them even living well into their teens. Often times purchased on a whim, many owners decide in the weeks and months after Easter time that little Peter Rabbit is not what they expected him to be. The numbers of rabbits relinquished to shelters and rescues skyrockets right after Easter time, and those are just the lucky rabbits. Many many more are faced with grimmer fates, such as being "released" into the wild where they face almost certain death, or being left in inadequate cages where they receive minimal care and are never allowed to obtain the exercise and social interactions that they thrive on. Even the rabbits that do make it into shelters face an uncertain future. With the sheer numbers of rabbits being dropped off after Easter time, most rescues are hard pressed to find room for them all.

Did you know that rabbits should receive regular vet care, the same as a cat or a dog? Having them spayed or neutered is important, especially for the females, and usually goes a long way towards making them better pets. However, because rabbits are still consider exotic pets in the veterinary world, vets that are trained to treat them can be not only hard to find, but expensive. Rabbit vets are normally even more expensive than your average cat or dog vet.

Rabbits require special attention be paid to their diet. They have sensitive GI tracts and teeth that never stop growing throughout the rabbit's life. If the proper diet is not provided, serious health conditions and even death can occur. Rabbits also require much more space than your average budget rabbit hutch. They should receive at least a few hours per day of time outside of their cage to exercise and explore. Rabbits are very social animals, and benefit from having a (spayed or neutered!) companion if their humans are not able to pay them a lot of attention. Being a prey species, many rabbits do not like to be picked up and most of the time you will have to earn their trust before they will be comfortable spending time with you.

Many people think of rabbits as easy to care for, cute and cuddly, low maintenance pets. They may be right about the cute part, but most rabbits are not cuddly, low maintenance, easy, or cheap! Please, like with any pet, if you are interested in owning a rabbit make sure to thoroughly research their care ahead of time. And consider adopting one from a shelter, not only will you be helping to save a life, but you'll save yourself some money because most shelter rabbits have already been seen by a vet and fixed.

If you aren't sure if you (or your child) is ready for the often times 10 + year commitment that comes with buying a new bunny, than consider other alternatives this Easter. Stuffed animals can be just as adorable as the real thing, but are much easier to care for! Not to mention that it's okay if your child looses interested in them. Or take a tip from the Make Mine Chocolate campaign, and opt for a chocolate bunny over the real thing.


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    • Keeley LeVica profile image

      Keeley LeVica 5 years ago from Maine

      I love my bunny and we have learned how to take care of him together and now I couldn't imagine not having him. I am amazed at how many people think you leave them in cages like hamsters all day. Or don't realize they are easily potty trained and can roam the house once its been rabbit proofed.

      Great article!

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 5 years ago

      Thanks for commenting!

      I used to do a lot of volunteer work for local rabbit rescues and it was so depressing how many bunnies we'd get in after Easter time.

      Kudos to you for doing your research and planning to care for the chicks properly! I wish more parents did the same before giving their kids animals as gifts.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Isn't it sad when people give out animals for Easter with no thought of the animal's care and well-being? Unlike the basket (and the annoying fake grass), animals are NOT disposable!! They are living creatures that suffer when neglected, just like humans do.

      As for me, I'm giving my kids chicks for Easter, but I am also building a chicken house and doing lots of research into their care, etc. I realize this is a responsibity, not just a cute gift.

      Good hub. I hope people heed your advice!!