Are you on a quest to give a bunny as an Easter present? Think again. While bunnies are synonymous with spring and Easter cheer, they are many reasons why you should not give a bunny as an Easter present. Bunnies are a huge commitment and they can make wonderful pets, but they are not something that should be casually purchased and given as a gift, especially to a child.
Bunnies are high maintenance creatures.
Contrary to popular belief, bunnies need a lot of attention. If you think that you can engage a bunny on a whim and keep him in his cage for most of his life, you’re sadly mistaken. Bunnies need human interaction. After all, they’re social creatures. In fact, bunnies need just as much socialization and interaction as dogs and cats. On top of the socialization, bunnies require at least 30 hours per week of exercise to maintain good social, emotional and physical health.
Bunnies are not cheap.
Bunnies are costly pets. They are almost as expensive as dogs. The ASPCA indicates that rabbits are more expensive to own than cats. Between housing, bunny proofing the house, dietary considerations, general care, and skilled veterinary care, these costs add up. The initial investment of acquiring a rabbit make them seem like inexpensive pets, but in reality, they are not.
Bunnies have unique personalities.
Just like all pets, bunnies come with their own unique personalities. Some bunnies may be more interactive than others. Some bunnies will be affectionate and others will be more seemingly aloof. Some bunnies will like to be picked up, but most bunnies prefer not to be picked up.
Bunnies require a special diet.
Bunnies have dietary needs, just like other pets and humans. The perfect diet for a bunny will include vegetables such as carrot tops, bok choy, kale, dill, lettuce, mint mustard greens and more. Bunnies also need fresh hay. This will make up the larges part of their food intake. Grass, oat hays and alfalfa are required for bunnies to receive the proper fiber intake. Hay will promote good digestive health as well as keep a rabbit’s ever-growing teeth at a good length.
Bunnies have grooming needs.
Bunnies need to be brushed at least once per week and more during periods of shedding. Bunnies get hairballs, just like cats! However, unlike cats bunnies don’t cough up the hairballs. Brushing a bunny is not just for good looks! Doing so keeps the bunny free of illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract and helps prevent skin irritations from matted fur.
Bunnies are a lifetime commitment.
Bunnies, according to the ASPCA, are frequently surrendered animals. Buying a bunny on a whim can result in another furry little life ending up abandoned and unwanted. Bunnies can live for as long as 15 years, which is longer than most breeds of dogs. Can you commit caring for an Easter bunny for the rest of its life?
Bunnies most often come from Bunny mills.
Bunny mills are a for-profit business. The care of the bunnies they pump put is not a priority. It is not uncommon for bunny mills to take bunnies away from their moms before they are even weaned. Up to a third of bunnies from bunny mills die before they ever make it to the retail establishment that is selling them. Bunnies found in retail operations, like pet stores more than likely come directly from a bunny mill.
Think you’re ready to have a bunny as a pet?
Do your research before running out and buying one. Talk to educated people that already have bunnies as pets. Learn about the specifics of caring for a bunny. Read books, watch videos and when you think you are ready to adopt a bunny, research some more!
Once you are well versed in bunny care and feel ready to take the step towards the lifetime commitment of taking a bunny home as a pet, consider where to get your bunny from. Never buy a bunny from a pet store. Remember, pet stores support bunny mills, which operate under a priority of profit. If you are considering a breeder, carefully research the breeder and always visit the breeder and see where and how they bunnies are housed. That all being said, adopting is the best option because you are saving of a bunny that was once in someone’s Easter basket. Adopt and save a life, (or two).
Whether or not you decide to bring a bunny home as a pet, try supporting initiatives that promote education about the realities of bunny ownership. Initiatives like “Make Mine Chocolate!” promote exactly this sentiment. Now ask yourself, do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?
If you come to the conclusion that a bunny really is for you, adopt, don’t shop! Following are a few local resources for adopting rabbits in the Raleigh area:
Triangle Rabbits – The central North Carolina Chapter of the House Rabbit Society. Their mission is to educate people about having house rabbits as companions, assist people with finding the information they need to take the best care of their rabbits and help rabbits in local animal shelters through their volunteer efforts.
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