(WFLA) – With Easter right around the corner, you may be looking to buy a little Peter Cottontail or Thumper to make your holiday feel complete. But if you’re thinking about adding a pet rabbit to your child’s Easter basket, stop what you’re doing right now.
According to pet adoption experts, this is a terrible idea.
“Rabbits aren’t pocket pets, they are not low maintenance or low cost. They are very social and interactive. They need daily environmental and social interaction just as a dog or a cat would,” Joyce Kuhns, a lead education and adoption coordinator for Southeastern PA-DE House Rabbit Society told Delaware Online.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that thousands of Easter bunnies are abandoned at shelters or into the wild each year once the novelty wears off.
What many people don’t realize is that rabbits mature quickly and can live as long as a small dog. Once they hit puberty at four months, they may no longer be interested in cuddling and may become aggressive and start biting when their hormones are out of control, according to the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
They also crave companionship and form deep attachments to their owner. They will mourn the loss of a playmate or person.
Rabbit bones are brittle and fracture easily, which can be complex and difficult to repair.
“A kid will want to pick up a rabbit and squeeze, but bunnies equate that to ‘I’m about to be eaten.’ They will struggle, the kid drops it, and bones can get broken,” said Kuhns.
The cost of a rabbit may come as a surprise to some rabbit lovers. According to BinkyBunny.com, the ongoing cost for one rabbit adds up to around $80 per month ($960 per year)–and that doesn’t even include vet care for illness and emergencies, which can be even more expensive. It costs up to $300 to spay and neuter a male. To spay a female runs around $400. But you may be able to avoid these high costs if you get a rabbit from rescue that’s already been spayed or neutered.
If you buy a rabbit, you will also need to bunny-proof your house to stop damage from chewing, digging and other rabbit-related problems. And don’t forget, rabbits can climb stairs.
Rabbits have quite the appetite and need a constant supply of rabbit pellets and grass hays. They also need fresh greens and vegetables every day.
And sadly, many people have abandoned rabbits in the wild with the assumption it can survive, but domesticated rabbit will not have the instincts to survive in the wild.
The ASPCA says if your family is considering buying a rabbit, you should first give your child a book on rabbit care to see if they’re serious about bringing a rabbit into your home. If the child is still begging for a bunny, you should go to your local shelter or rescue group and talk to an expert about adopting a rabbit.
For more information on adopting a rabbit, visit aspca.org.