Easter is fast approaching and I know there are people out there who are thinking of making a gift of a rabbit to a loved one. If you haven't decided on one yet, please consider making that rabbit a chocolate one in honor of the Make Mine Chocolate campaign.
Don't get me wrong, I am completely okay with gifting a pet *IF* it is done right. Everything that comes into play with adopting a rabbit or a cat or a dog still comes into play when giving one as a gift. You need to know what you are getting into. You need to know that the animal is wanted and will be cared for its entire life.
I know that rabbits appear to be 'easy' pets because they are sold in a cage. People wrongly assume that if it is in a cage it is easy to take care of. You give it food the store provides, you clean out the bedding once a week, you make sure it has clean water. Sadly, this is a misnomer that often leads to bad pet experiences and it leads to a lot of misinformation and shortened lives for the animals.
Rabbits need room to run around. The cages that are generally provided for rabbits are not big enough for proper exercise. It is recommended that you create a play area for your rabbit so it is safely contained and it has some room to run and jump around. The reason the rabbit should be 'safely contained' is because they like to chew on everything. Rabbit's teeth never stop growing, so they need to constantly chew on things to wear them down. There is nothing that is safe from a bunny: electrical cords, baseboards, books, magazines, photo albums, table legs, just to name a few.
Proper nutrition is also a bit more than putting down a bowl of pellets. Rabbits need to continually eat to maintain proper gut mobility. Providing them with fresh hay is vital to their health, and some would argue that pellets are completely unnecessary. Fresh veg is good for a bunny, but only certain ones. Some fruit is also good, but not all fruit. Understanding what your bun can and can't eat is important.
I loved my rabbits and miss owning one quite keenly. If you honestly want a rabbit, Easter can be an adorable time to bring home a rabbit. If you decide to do it, please keep the rabbit's well-being in mind. If you have a lot of obligations on Easter and your house will be chaos, you might want to consider waiting and adopting one later. There will be a flood of rabbits to shelters in the coming weeks. Take the opportunity to discuss with the entire family the obligations of owning a rabbit, the complications and the needs of the rabbit. Buy a book on rabbit care, spend a few nights reading it and making a plan. Look up plans for rabbit enclosures so you can pick which one works for you and your family before you go shopping.
Tobin with Eli and Bri with Skippy
Bunnies are wonderful pets, but they are far from an 'easy' pet.
Read some of my other posts for Make Mine Chocolate a mission of the Columbus House Rabbit Society - here or individual posts: