We see them in pet stores in the weeks before Easter – cute little live Easter bunnies. What many of us don’t see is the sudden influx of bunnies being abandoned at shelters once Easter is over. But the House Rabbit Society, a nationwide rabbit rescue group with local chapters across the country, knows the problem all too well.
The local HRS chapter in Columbus, OH started the “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign in 2002, encouraging people to buy chocolate bunnies, instead of live bunnies. The campaign has caught on and gone national.
Like any other furry friend, rabbits can cost a lot of money. In addition to adoption fees, you’ll need to get a decent sized cage, toys, food, litter, hay, treats, and vet bills. The cost of getting a rabbit fixed can be up to $300.
They Need Exercise:
Rabbits can’t live their lives in small cages, but they’re too big to be put in a ball like a hamster. Bunnies need time outside of their cages to hop, jump, and explore. Make sure you’re okay with a rabbit hopping around your house if you decide to keep it indoors. It should also have a fairly large cage to live in so it can move around.
You will have to rabbit proof your house if you decide to keep it inside. They will chew on chargers and power cords, furniture, rugs, papers, books, and even molding. You’ll need to supervise your rabbit when it’s out of the cage, or get a pen for it to run around in.
They’re Not Cuddly:
Rabbits are small, portable, and fluffy, but they really aren’t all that cuddly. They don’t like to be picked up, and aren’t likely to climb into your lap to be pet and snuggled. They may occasionally be affectionate, but they’ll do it on their own terms. You won’t be able to snuggle with your bunny whenever you want.
You Have to Litter Train Them:
Rabbits need to be trained to use the bathroom in their cages and not on the floor during exercise time. If you don’t take the time to train them, there is a good chance they will poop and pee on the floor. You may also need to retrain a rescue rabbit or even your own rabbit if you move into a new place.
They Need to Be Fixed:
Rabbits should be spayed or neutered like any other animal. If you keep your rabbits outside, unfixed bunnies could attract other wild rabbits to your yard. While domesticated rabbits typically can’t reproduce with wild ones, you probably don’t want lots extra of bunnies in your yard. If you need your rabbit indoors, an unfixed rabbit may get frisky with people or other animals. Male rabbits may even spray like tomcats.
Most Shelter Rabbits Were Easter Gifts:
Every year, people think it will be cute to put rabbits in Easter baskets only to discover how much work they really are. After a few months, many rabbits get surrendered to shelters. Unfortunately, most people don’t get their bunnies from shelters in the first place, so shelters wind up with more and more rabbits each year. If you do decide you want a rabbit, consider adopting one from a shelter rather than buying one at a pet store.