As a mom of seven cuddly, silly, and messy fluffballs, I know a thing or two about bunnies and how to properly care for them. Adopting a bunny into your family is a big commitment, and you should never decide to adopt any animal on a whim without talking to your family and researching the animal first.
The Easter Bunny has been the symbol of Easter for centuries and with Easter coming up, those precious bunnies in the pet stores are about to start looking all the more appealing to consumers looking or an interesting gift for their children. Some parents who do not know any better will buy a bunny for their children and upon realizing that they can not properly care for them, release them into the wild, drop them off and leave them somewhere, or (the best of the three options but still not very good!) drop them off at their local SPCA or animal rescue center.
There are so many good reasons why you should NOT buy your children a live bunny for Easter, and at any other time of the year, you need to do your research. These reasons are specific to bunnies because many new owners lack knowledge about this species of animal and their care requirements, and pet stores aren't in a hurry to fill you in.
Bunnies require a lot of special attention, food, room to run around and play, and medical attention among other things, and they can get expensive. In most states, rabbits cannot go to regular veterinary clinics that deal with cats and dogs, they are considered ‘exotic’ animals and require a vet with special training and knowledge of the species. The vet bills and special supplies will quickly add up.
Bunnies also can live SUPER long lives if they are well cared for. They need a lot of space to run around and be bunnies, so they will need lots of supervised play time outside of their enclosures. They should rarely live outside, as they are natural prey for predators such as hawks. Bunny Rabbits are also very social animals, and they like to live in pairs or groups.
Bunnies also do not get along that well with children. They sleep and relax during most of the day, with their active hours being early in the morning (around 6-8 a.m.), and late at night (9-11 p.m.). Younger children have a hard time learning how to handle smaller animals and may be kicked in the process of learning to handle holding a rabbit. Furthermore, bunnies don't always want to be held, and young children can be particularly hands-on and "grabby."
Another thing you have to consider before adopting a rabbit is where the rabbit will live most of the time. Like I said earlier, rabbits need a lot of space. My family and I converted one of the extra rooms in our house into a bunny playroom where they can hop around as they please. Even if you decide that this is not feasible for your family and decide to go with a traditional cage, you have to make sure that the bunny gets out to have supervised play time. You will also need to ‘bunny proof’ your house because rabbits can and will chew on anything. I can not tell you how many phone chords I have had to replace.
Bunnies will also probably not get along with your other animals, especially cats. My dog is actually terrified of our bunnies and does not want to get anywhere near them, even though none of them would hurt a fly. If you have more than one bunny, be prepared that they may not get along with each other either.
This Easter — and all other Easters to come — please make sure that your family is a good fit before welcoming a new bunny into your home. If you do decide to go ahead and bring one home, do your research, go meet the different bunnies at your local SPCA or shelter, get prepared and please, ADOPT DON’T SHOP!