Saturday, March 31, 2012

Say Yes To Chocolate Easter Bunnys and NO to Real Bunnys

"He's a great rabbit," she assured the shelter employee, "but he started spraying and chasing my son."
"How old is the bunny?"
"Oh, about 8 months."
"Is he neutered?"
"No. Will you be able to find him a good home?" 
"We'll do our best......"

Rabbits require as much time, love, and care as a dog or cat.  They are not low maintenance pets.

Contrary to Easter-time advertisements, rabbits and small children are NOT a good match. The exuberance of even the gentlest toddler can be stressful and even deadly for a rabbit.

Children like a companion they can hold, and cuddle. That's why stuffed animals are a good choice. Rabbits are not passive and cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and insecure when held and restrained. The result is the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up
neglected or abandoned.

Upon reaching adolescence (3 – 6 months old) rabbits are capable of breeding. Rabbits are animals of prey, at the bottom of the food chain, and in order to survive they must mature sexually very quickly and breed often, hence the mating instincts of both males and females are very strong and they start reproducing at a very young age. Small, dwarf breeds of rabbits reach adolescence at 3-4 months of age; others, anywhere between 3 and 6 months of age.

“I will tell you that had we known that information before we had purchased our bunnies, we would have been more careful!" said a woman after her two “male” bunnies had babies and the caretaker was now caring for 10, rather than 2 rabbits.

During adolescence and later as an adult, a rabbit is driven by hormones, compelled to act in ways that are not desirable for a house companion. He or she isn't being intentionally contrary, just following Mother Nature's basic urges.  Rabbits must be neutered or they will mark their house with urine.

When you spay or neuter, you do your part to keep the rabbit population from growing, and  help already-born rabbits find responsible, permanent homes.  Even being "purebred" or really cute doesn't guarantee an animal a loving home or room at a shelter.  When shelters and rescue facilities are not packed with unwanted animals, the perceived value of each companion animal increases.  In a nutshell, to purchase from a breeder or pet store is to write a death warrant for a shelter rabbit. 

(Excerpts and quotes taken from the House Rabbit Society's website and real life rabbit caretakers.)

Top photo © Sebastian Duda -
Bottom photo © Julija Sapic -

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this... too many parents treat animals like a novelty gift ("oh, wouldn't it be so cute to see little Johnny's face when he sees the bunny!") but they aren't prepared for the reality of the poor bunny being mishandled by little Johnny and the bunny defending himself with a nip at little Johnny. Then they cast the bunny off or put it in the garage or basement like a prisoner. Oh, but isn't that picture of little Johnny with his new bunny so cute? :(