The Star-Herald

The best bunny is a chocolate one

We enjoyed seeing many of you at the Spring Trash and Treasure Show at The Forum last weekend. It’s always nice to hear from those of you who have adopted pets in the past and to learn how they are doing. We love all the happy-ending stories.

At this time of year, there are thoughts of Easter eggs and especially Easter bunnies. On more than a few occasions throughout the year we have rabbits dropped off at the shelter.  There is nothing cuter than a baby bunny, but unfortunately, like all animals, they grow into adults and require constant care during their lifetime.

Purchasing a real bunny for the children can be a spur-of-the-moment decision and can be especially tempting at Easter time.  Past experience will show that once the novelty of a real rabbit wears off, the shelter becomes a dropping-off place a few months later.    

Crystal is our rabbit expert at the shelter and suggests, “Consider all aspects when looking to adopt a rabbit.  Most families that adopt a rabbit don’t realize the amount of work that is involved.”

The majority of those surrendering a rabbit say it’s a lot of work. Cleaning a rabbit’s cage should be done every other day.  They urinate frequently and the odor can be quite strong. Some personalities can be aggressive and kick, and they are chewers by nature — so their play area should be carefully rabbit-proofed.  

(Courtesy of Metro Creative Graphics)

Crystal also suggests that young children should not have rabbits; a good age should be 6 years old and up.  

If after researching and educating your family you decide to adopt, the House Rabbit Society at www.rabbit.org has these suggestions.  

Rabbits are intelligent, affectionate, and inquisitive. Their personalities range from bold to timid, gentle to rambunctious and everything in between.  

Rabbits can be litter-box-trained and they can live with domesticated cats and well-behaved dogs. They are social animals that thrive in the company of others.

Rabbits tend to be better pets for adults rather than children.  Noisy households and people who are looking for something they can carry in their arms and cuddle for hours are likely to be disappointed.  As ground-loving creatures, rabbits feel most comfortable on the floor or may prefer to sit beside you rather than on your lap.

Rabbits should be spayed or neutered to prolong their lives; this prevents or solves many behavior problems, such as house soiling, destructive chewing and digging, and aggressiveness.  

Rabbits can live 10 years or more and should live indoors. Rabbits are prey animals and even the most urban areas have predators, including raccoons, feral cats and dogs.  Domestic rabbits that are kept outdoors are also subject to fleas, ticks, parasites, extreme weather and neglect by their caretakers (out of sight, out of mind).

Try adopting from your local shelter instead of a breeder or pet store.  As their popularity increases, rabbits are paying the same price as other companion animals because there are more rabbits available than there are responsible humans to care for them.  

If after careful consideration you are sure a rabbit would fit into your lifestyle, call or stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society, 26 Cross Street, Presque Isle. Our hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closing from 12 to 12:30 for lunch.  You can also check us out at petfinders.com or on Facebook.

Please be responsible: spay/neuter your pets.

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