Easter is less than a week away, and even if you don’t celebrate the Christian holiday, many people consider bringing home bunnies for pets. Something about their cute, wriggly noses and adorable hops make them nearly irresistible in Spring-time.
But, contrary to popular belief, rabbits may not be a good “starter” pet. Bunnies require significant care and responsibility over their lifetime, and may not be compatible with small children.
Here’s 10 things to think about before you bring home a live Easter bunny:
1. Most bunnies don’t like to be held. Unlike dogs and cats, your rabbit probably won’t snuggle up with you or your kids on the couch.
2. Rabbits have a lifespan of 7-10 years. Its a long-time commitment for a bunny – significantly longer than a hamster or guinea pig. Yet, compared to cats and dogs, the personality of rabbits is much more like other caged pets. Will your family tire of the pet when it still has years of its life remaining?
3. Bunnies need to be spayed or neutered. You’ve heard the phrase, “breeding like rabbits,” right? In fact, like any other pet, rabbits also need regular veterinary care including shots, dental exams and treatments for illness.
4. Rabbits require regular exercise outside of a cage. You’ll need an enclosed space without hazards or escape routes to keep your bunny healthy and happy. Keeping a rabbit cooped up 24/7 will result in an unhappy pet, which may act out in inappropriate ways.
5. Bunnies are fragile. Small children may drop a rabbit, resulting in broken legs or spines. Combine this with the fact that rabbits don’t like to be held, and the cuteness factor can only take you so far. Most experts say that children under 7 are too young to own a real bunny.
6. The care and feeding of rabbits is time consuming. You’ll need to buy special food for a pet bunny and change the bedding in the cage frequently.
7. Rabbits need to be washed and groomed. Unlike cats, bunnies don’t wash themselves. Long-haired breeds can develop mattes and clumps unless they are brushed often.
8. Bunnies like to chew things up. Electrical cords, corners of furniture, anything a puppy might destroy is also fair game with rabbits. Not only can that upset their human owners, but it might also harm your pet!
9. Baby bunnies get big. Just like puppies and kittens, your little live Easter bunny may get bigger and less “cute” when it matures. Think long term and realize that a full grown pet requires devotion and care.
10. Compared to other pets, a rabbit is as dependent as a dog, but potentially as disinterested in their human caregivers as a cat.
In short, a live Easter Bunny is more than a seasonal decoration or toy. A rabbit is a “real” pet with real commitments and responsibilities. Carefully consider what you put in your child’s basket this Spring. Personally, I prefer the hollow, milk chocolate variety…