Rabbits are incredibly cute, but like the majority of pets, their care requires a great deal of work. It is easy to get carried away when you see a fluffy bunny but you should think long and hard before taking on the challenge of a new pet.
Rabbits have proved to be popular gifts at Easter and this is particularly problematic. Any animals acquired on such a whim are likely to lose their appeal when reality strikes. Far too many of the rabbits purchased during the Easter holidays end up being abandoned when their initial appeal has faded.
Make Mine Chocolate!
This fact is supported by a recent survey conducted by Make Mine Chocolate!, a rabbit welfare organisation. They looked at data from 59 rescue centres and discovered that 67,000 rabbits are entering these facilities each year. More than half of the animals are being purchased from pet shops and garden centres rather than being adopted from the rescue centres.
55% of the rabbits surveyed which had been abandoned had been acquired in spring and 36% of the rabbits had been given up within 6 months of being purchased. 34% were taken to the rescue centres because they were pets of a children who had lost interest in their animal.
Over the Easter period, images of rabbits are everywhere and this leads to impulse purchases which are quickly regretted.
Ban on Rabbit Sales
As a result, some retailers have deliberately ceased selling rabbits over the Easter weekend in an attempt to send out the right messages to both parents and children. It is nice to know that retailers can be responsible enough to help families make the right choices. So what should you be aware of if you are considering taking on a rabbit?
Caring for Rabbits
Firstly, your home must be rabbit proofed as the bunnies will chew anything and everything! Secondly, it is important to consider the potential cost of rabbit ownership. The food and equipment that you need together with vet’s bills mean that your fluffy bunny could cost you as much as £1000 a year to care for properly.
Cats and Dogs
If you have other pets in your home, they might not get on with your bunny. Cats and dogs think of rabbits as prey-animals and so they might have to be kept away from your new pet. Rabbits are quite delicate animals and generally prefer not to be picked up and this means that they are not great pets for children. Some rabbits may even prove to be aggressive.
Exercise and Lifespan
Rabbits need plenty of exercise and will not fare well if confined to a hutch day and night. They will need to be litter trained which takes a great deal of time and accidents will inevitably happen! Once rabbits are living happily in your home they could then seem a little boring and the family’s interest in them could diminish considerably. That is bad news if you were thinking that rabbits don’t live very long because your pet or pets could be with you for 10 years.
Think carefully before taking on a rabbit! Ask yourself if a bunny is really the best choice of pet for you.