Staffer urges parents to give chocolate bunnies for Easter rather than real ones


Although rabbits can make delightful companions, they’re not easy-care pets. Rabbits are the third most popular pet in America, after cats and dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States—and the third most abandoned.

It is that time of the year, we are in the midst of spring and Easter is just around the corner. With that being said just about every store has rabbit decorations and stuffed animals. For those of you who celebrate the holiday for religious beliefs this is a great month, for those of you do not celebrate… well you can look forward to 50% off candy the day after.

We also have another group of people who have something to look forward to around this time of year… pet store owners who will profit from a spike in rabbit sales. Many parents may think rabbits are cute (they are) and easy to take care of animals, making them an ideal pet for their young child but this is where they’re wrong. According to National Geographic, rabbits are the 3rd most abandoned pets in the United States, so this is for those parents who are considering surprising your child with a rabbit for Easter (a.k.a. an over a decade commitment).

Dear Uneducated Parents,

Sit down because class is about to start and i’m going to spit facts on y’all.

Rabbits are not a good ‘starter pet’. I cannot stress this enough. They are in fact high maintenance animals that require hours and hours worth of care a day along with very different behaviors than most animals.

Let us begin with what type of rabbit you get. There are countless options, from Lionheads to Flemish Giants but the most common in pet stores will be the Netherland Dwarf. These little bunnies (hence their name) need intense care. Their diet, depending on their age, should consist of about 80% of organic Timothy Hay, this is essential as it helps with their digestive system. And though many pet store owners may tell you they will be fine on only pellets their whole lives, rabbits should be fed Timothy Hay and leafy greens. In addition to this they need something to chew on as they are house building animals, their teeth never stop growing. As for water, they need a bowl heavy enough they can’t flip over. (Yes, rabbits flip things over, they rearrange things you get for them to their liking). A handful of pet stores will try to sell you a bottle used for guinea pigs but this bottle makes water difficult for rabbits to access and can even accumulate bacteria.

Now on to where your rabbit will live and what you can do about it. Rabbits, upon common misconception, cannot be put in cage/hutch and let out to hop for just a few hours a day. They need one of two things: either a large play pen or the ability to ‘free roam’. Play pens are a nice but temporary solution to where you can place your bunny. They offer the rabbit space to hop about for a few hours but they should be allowed outside of these pens for some time so they can explore their surroundings as they are curious creatures. The term ‘free roaming’ means what it sounds like-letting your rabbit roam freely. While it is ideal for the rabbit’s physical and mental health, free roaming can require some slight modifications to your home such as hiding wires and blocking up the molding of your walls. If you decide to free roam your rabbit you will learn quickly they use the restroom a lot (do not get freaked out if you see them eating their droppings, this is perfectly normal, they do so to eat nutrition) but not to fear, rabbits can be potty trained! Here are videos on how to ‘bunny proof’ your home, how to make a play pen and how to potty train them.

Another small, not so significant piece of information you should know (I’m being sarcastic) is that most vets consider rabbits as exotic animals meaning their medical bills will be pricier than other pets. Before gifting a rabbit on Easter you will need to make sure you have the dough for check-ups and emergency visits.

Some other fun facts to keep in mind:

    • Rabbits can be neutered which can make them less aggressive and easier to train but also comes with possible downsides.
    • Rabbits are prey animals meaning they won’t want to be picked up and cuddled.
    • Rabbit behavior differs from dogs and cats.
    • Rabbits need a load of attention.
    • Your rabbit cannot be tossed into a field to be set ‘free’ because they are domesticated meaning they will not survive in the wild.

With all this being said I urge you to really evaluate whether or not your family is ready for this commitment. After their cuteness wears off, most Easter rabbits will end up with breeders and live in awful conditions or be put down due to an overload of them in rescue shelters.


A Bunny Lover