Bunnies Should Not Be Easter Gifts
PSA as Easter approaches! Bunnies are not good gifts, kids' pets, or starter pets!!!
Every year when Easter rolls around there is an increase in pet rabbit sales. Sadly, afterward, there is also an increase in rabbit abandonment. There's even a term for it among bunny folks, the "Easter dump". Many parents think a cute baby bunny makes for a wonderful Easter gift without thinking through the commitment. They are the 3rd most popular pet in the US...and the third most abandoned.
They are incredibly misunderstood and underestimated animals. They are not low cost, low maintenance cage pets and they are not animals that like to be held, hugged, and cuddled.
They live longer than most realize, 8-12 years on average, they are not a short term commitment. They ABSOLUTELY REQUIRE ample time for attention, socialization, and physical and mental stimulation. They need a space within the home in which they can spend time out of their cage. Bunnies are incredibly social animals and very susceptible to depression if lonely and left in a cage.
They are sensitive and delicate animals both emotionally and physically. Their bones are hollow and therefore fairly easily broken so they must be handled with care. The vast majority hate being picked up, even by trusted human companions. It causes them a lot of stress. They stress very easily and frequent/high stress is incredibly bad for their health and can shorten their lifespan. Stress and mishandling, along with being bad for their health, can easily lead to distrust which can lead to aggressive behavior such as biting and scratching. All of this lends to them being not a great choice for children.
They are very susceptible to digestive health problems. If their dietary needs are not met it can cause problems that, if unresolved, can cause major issues and can lead to death. Stress and depression can also impact their feeding habits and therefore their digestion. And if they require vet care it can be quite costly as most vets consider them an exotic pet, upping the cost of their care. Including the cost of spaying/neutering, which is an absolute must to ensure happy cohabitation for both bunny and humans.
All of that being said, they are AMAZING companion animals. Forging a bond with a bunny can take time, patience, and understanding, but it is so rewarding and is very worth it. They can be high maintenance but it's not hard work if you know what you're doing and are prepared. They are intelligent, affectionate, emotional, communicative little beings and will happily return the love, respect, and friendship that they are given. Just be sure you thoroughly research and understand what you're getting into and don't purchase on a whim or fall for Easter marketing campaigns from those trying to make a buck off of them.
If after reading this you still want one or have a new found interest, please consider adopting over buying from breeders and pet shops. We are fortunate to have an amazing rescue dedicated to bunnies right here in the Harrisburg area. There are many benefits to adopting an adult bunny. The bunnies are vetted and the folks there have interacted with them and can help find the right match for you. They are passionate about what they do and will help answer your questions and ensure it's a good fit for both bunny and human and that you are prepared to care for them. And the cost of the adoption fee is far less than buying a baby and having it spayed/neutered yourself. *Editing to add that every cent goes right back into the rescue, put towards saving lives and finding homes.
If you've made it this far through this wall of text, thanks, haha! And if you think you might have an interest in bunnies and want to ask any questions I am more than happy to answer the best I can. And feel free to check out all of the great little guys and gals with The Bunny People looking for a family to give them the home and love they want and so very much deserve!
Written by Jennifer updyke