I am reposting last year's post for "Make Mine Chocolate" because I've been a little overwhelmed with things here for the past few weeks to do a new post justice.
without further ado..
Having been a rabbit owner for almost 15 years (would have been longer - Bri died way too young) "Make Mine Chocolate" is a cause dear to my heart.
Easter is a wonderful time; full of thoughts of Spring, and chicks and rabbits and candy and fun. It is also a time of renewal and reflection and reverence. Easter is the celebration of the rise of Jesus after the crucifixion, but like Christmas it has been "watered down" with pagan symbols to make it more palatable to non Christians in hopes that it would make converting them easier... hence the eggs, the chicks and the bunnies.
Sometimes people think this would be a great time to introduce a rabbit into the household. They aren't completely wrong. It can be done if done right, especially if it is a life lesson for those involved and everyone wants the animal.
But all too often it is done with out considering the lifetime commitment a pet rabbit needs. Pet store rabbits are NOT wild rabbits, and should not be just let free once the novelty of owning a rabbit has warn off, doing so pretty much ensures that it dies a horrible death.
Rabbits are not 'easy' pets. They do need room to roam and hop around. They have a fairly specific diet that includes lots of hay, minimal pellets and a good variety of greens. They need to chew constantly to help keep their teeth worn down so they can continue to eat, and they need to dig in order to wear down their claws. Even when given appropriate toys to chew on, they will often go for inappropriate items such as electrical cords and baseboards. If teeth and claws are not worn down naturally, they will need to be trimmed - which is not easy because bunnies are prey animals and as such have a fear of being held down, let alone having a paw held to trim claws. They also need to eat constantly to stay healthy, so they need hay all of the time. As a result of eating constantly, they poop continually. Fortunately their stool is very dry and 'pellet' formed so they are easy to clean up but they will be everywhere. Rabbits can be trained to urinate in a litter box which is nice, but their urine is quite strong smelling and with out constant maintenance your rabbit's home can quickly smell pretty badly.
I do believe rabbits are wonderful pets, but they are also very fragile. My Brianna passed away quite suddenly from a simple respiratory issue that is easily treatable in my cats. It was measured in hours from the time she was healthy until she was gone. They can easily break their own back trying to get away (they have very powerful back legs) and you should not only read up on the subject, but talk to a bun owner to see if owning a bunny is really for you. What a wonderful project to take on with your kids and have them make the decision - there is even an online quiz to get you started.
Previous posts on the subject:
2012: "Make Mine Chocolate"
2011: Rabbits and Easter