You probably don’t need us to tell you that Easter is right around the corner. But it is. And we will. Why? Because we need to say one thing: BUNNIES ARE FRIGGIN’ ADORABLE!
Okay, so we have more to say than that, specifically about how each year thousands (thousands!) of baby rabbits are given as Easter gifts. And, as stated so delicately above, the seasonal surge in bunny-gifting makes sense — aside from being adorable, they can be amazing companions. However, it’s not all carrots and sunshine, and bringing a rabbit into your home can be as difficult as it is rewarding. Make sure you do the research first.
Sadly, the often impulsive decision to bring a rabbit home doesn’t always work out. The motto “don’t shop, adopt” applies here too. Puppy mills don’t only deal in puppies. Many mills deal with cats, rabbits, and other common pets you find in pet stores. Supporting this practice leaves thousands of rabbits homeless and abandoned, all who need loving homes. Classroom bunnies, impulse adoptions, and a failure to meet expectations led to a great many homeless bunnies. Luckily, there are amazing rescues that can point you to a local adoption center!
If you feel you’re ready for a new family member, here is a small Do’s and Don’t list that you can use as a starting point.
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DO: Bunny-Proof The House!
Bunnies can be fun to play with, and running around with them is sheer joy. However, they chew just like any animal, and stray cords and electronics are extremely dangerous, especially in areas you can’t see. Find a way to protect your rabbits play area, and pick up those cords!
DON’T: Restrict Their Space
Just like dogs and cats, rabbits can’t be in a cage at all times. Because of their association with pets like hamsters and gerbils, there is a tendency for people to view them as an animal that should always be caged. However, every animal needs to be free and socialize, and rabbits are especially social creatures. More often than not they should be able to come out and play. When they do go home after a play session, make sure the home is the right size. It should be safe, full of toys, and somewhere they can see and hear people. If you need ideas about a bunny house, check this out.
DO: Litter Train Them!
Did you know rabbits can be trained to use litter boxes? Well now you do! Having a litter box in their house and in their play area means you can give your rabbit more autonomy, and it makes your job much easier when cleaning! It’s a win all around.
DON’T: Be Loud!
Rabbits survive by avoidance. They are prey animals, and can be easily scared by commotion. It’s good to make sure your rabbit sees you and can hear you, but keeping them in a high traffic area, or letting large groups approach their cage to get a look can terrify them. Give them comfort, not noise.
The biggest misconception about rabbits is about their attitudes. Just like dogs and cats, not every bunny is alike! Some will come when you call, jump on your lap, and snuggle with you endlessly. Others are less affectionate, or show it in a different way. Most rabbits don’t like to be picked up, so learning how your new family member handles being handled is vital. And respect their feelings!
Rabbits are some of the most amazing animals, with such distinct interests and personalities, and they deserve all the consideration we give to the other fur babies we adopt. It’s possible to adore rabbits but not be in a situation to adopt one (or two, or three. . . ), so you can always celebrate them in other ways! Wear a shirt, or a ring! Or you can help rabbits in sanctuaries that are hoping to find a home with a simple donation. Do the research, learn the traits you need in a companion, and don’t shop, ADOPT!
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