Rabbits and Easter Don't Mix

Easter Rabbit Warning

Before you decide to get a rabbit for a child this Easter, please understand that they do not make good “starter” pets for children.

Rabbits require a life time commitment of care and expense that is the same or greater than that of a cat or a dog. They need exercise, a proper diet, and spacious shelter that will protect them from predators and extreme weather conditions. Medical attention is sometimes needed and they should be spayed or neutered. Rabbits enjoy receiving affection from people, but some do not like being held because it instigates a feeling of being caught by a predator.

There are numerous domesticated rabbits that have been abandoned by their guardians. They cannot fend for themselves because they do not have the instincts to live on their own. Most will fall prey to predators and others will starve due to inadequate food source.

If your family is not prepared for the long-term commitment of a rabbit, please give your child a stuffed animal as an Easter gift. That way when the child loses interest, the live rabbit will not end up neglected or abandoned.

Should you decide that you are fully prepared to care for a rabbit and you wish to bring one into your family, never purchase a rabbit from a pet store. Instead, please visit your local shelter or rescue organization and choose to adopt one of last year's homeless "Easter Gifts".

Why Rabbits and Easter Don't Mix

Every year, many thousands of rabbits are abandoned to shelters or released outdoors (a sure death sentence for a domestic rabbit) often because of misunderstandings on the part of the parents who bought them for their kids. Rabbits are not the cuddly creatures people assume they are.

Rabbits are prey animals by nature. They are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care. Children are naturally energetic, exuberant, and loving. But “loving” to a small child usually means holding, cuddling, carrying an animal around in whatever grip their small hands can manage— precisely the kinds of things that make most rabbits feel insecure and frightened. Rabbits handled in this way will often start to scratch or bite simply out of fear.

Many rabbits are accidentally dropped by small children, resulting in broken legs and backs. Curious children often poke at a fragile rabbit eyes or laugh in delight at a rabbit who is running away in panicked fear. not understanding fear can kill a rabbit. Those rabbits who survive the first few months quickly reach maturity. When they are no longer tiny and “cute,” kids often lose interest, and the rabbit, who has no voice to remind you he’s hungry or thirsty or needs his cage cleaned, is gradually neglected.

Parents, please help. Don’t buy on impulse. Make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first. Consider adopting a rabbit from your local shelter or rescue group. For the rabbit’s health and well-being (as well as for your child’s) make sure an adult will be the primary caretaker and will always supervise any children in the household who are interacting with the rabbit. Domestic rabbits are inquisitive, intelligent, and very social by nature. A rabbit is a delightful companion animal as long as you remember: he’s not a child’s toy. He’s a real, live, 10-year commitment!