Monday, March 21, 2016

Rabbits and Easter Don't Mix

With Easter just days away, I’m sure plenty of thought has already been given to the preparation of Easter baskets. While for some, candies in the shape of cuddly little creatures is sufficient, for others there’s the temptation to set an actual real-life downy little chick or fuzzy baby bunny in your little one's brightly colored basket. 

But I must implore you: Don’t. Do. It.

Almost 80 percent of bunnies that are up for adoption at shelters were once purchased as Easter gifts.

Three years ago this summer, we adopted a sweet little baby bunny from a rabbit rescue. The little guy, whom we named Hemingway, had been found in a cardboard box on a construction site when he was about 7-8 weeks old. Working backwards, that put his time of birth around Easter, and the rescue concluded he’d been an Easter gift that quickly lost its novelty.


The first picture we saw of Hemingway

Many people are under the misconception that a domestic house rabbit can be released into the wild where it’ll instinctively be able to do all of the things it’s wild cousins can, and will live a long and happy life. However, that’s not the case, and a rabbit that’s released into the wild isn’t likely to survive very long.

Contrarily, a house rabbit that’s well cared for can live to be 10-12 years old. A rabbit means commitment, and they are not, as many assume, an “easy” pet.

They’re social animals that need regular interaction. They need space to run around; they shouldn’t be kept outside or in cages with wire bottoms. They should be spayed or neutered. They should be fed a varied diet of pellets, vegetables and hay; their teeth grow constantly, so they need items to chew on. They require constant supervision and visits to the vet, but not all veterinarians specialize in rabbit care.

In short, rabbits require as much, if not more care than cats and dogs.

I love caring for Hemingway and I’m glad he’s part of our family; his personality is unmatched and there’s nothing quite like the sign of a happy bunny, the bunny binky… but when I think about the upcoming holiday and what it means for many unsuspecting rabbits, I get quite sad.

Our forever Easter bunny!
And so, unless you’ve seriously and thoroughly thought it over and have done plenty of research (I recommend the House Rabbit Society at rabbit.org) I urge you to rethink your plans if you’re contemplating “enhancing” your holiday with a baby bunny; they don’t stay babies forever, and need love and care long after Easter has come and gone.

For more information on rabbits and why they don't make good "starter" pets for kids, go to Rabbitron.com.

And if you need another bunny-related idea for the day, try one of these oh-so-cute crafts:

1. Pom-Pom Bunnies by Julie is Coco and Cocoa:



2. Pine Cone Bunnies from Fireflies and Mud Pies:



3. A Bunny Silhouette Yarn Craft from Kate's Crochet Goodies:




4. Marshmallow Easter Bunny from No Time For Flashcards


5. A Lop-Eared Sock Bunny from Craft Passion:


Another option I'm a fan of is "adopting" an arctic hare through the World Wildlife Fund. For $55 you can fill your child's Easter basket with a photo, an adoption certificate, a species card and an arctic hare plush and will set the stage for a learning opportunity about endangered animals. 


Finally, if you haven't been deterred and are dead-set on adding a rabbit to your family please, please, please adopt, don't shop, and give an abandoned rabbit a forever home. 

And, of course, have a Hoppy Easter!



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