Is a real bunny right for you?

Gloria J. Towle, Special to The County
3 months ago

With Easter approaching in just a few short weeks, there are many of you who are surely attempting to find the perfect Easter gift for your children and loved ones.  Images of furry bunnies and soft downy ducks and chicks are all over the television, on advertisements in the paper and on the web. As spring approaches, these little guys are increasingly available for purchase from local farms and retailers.  

While it might seem like a cute and fun gift idea, sure to bring lots of smiles on Easter morning, the Central Aroostook Humane Society encourages you to do your research first.  

One of the most common live animal gifts given on Easter is of course an “Easter bunny.”  Who could resist the fluffy fur, long velvety ears and pom-pom tail of a bunny or rabbit?  Rabbits really do make wonderful household pets, but according to the Humane Society of the United States; behind cats and dogs, they are the animals most frequently surrendered to animal shelters across our country. 

Here at the Central Aroostook Humane Society, we have found that many people think that the average life span of a rabbit is two to three years.   But a well-cared-for rabbit can live seven to 10 years.   Your family needs to be ready for a long-term commitment when considering a rabbit as a pet. 

Rabbits are very social animals. They need daily monitoring and attention from pet owners and companion rabbits.  They require daily exercise to stretch out their legs, and many resources recommend at least 30 hours or more a week of play time out of their pens. 

We suggest that rabbits get routine veterinary care, and they should be spayed or neutered to decrease the likelihood of the animal spraying and of course to prevent breeding.  Both female and male rabbits are known to spray. 

A rabbit requires a pen or cage that is at least six times the adult size of the rabbit.  There should be plenty of room for water and food bowls, toys and a litter box.   Rabbits are incredibly clean animals and will readily use a litter box, but this needs to be cleaned out daily.  

Their diets should include unlimited fresh grass or hay, one to two cups of fresh veggies and about one-quarter cup, per 5-pound rabbit, of plain rabbit pellets each day.

Rabbits need to feel safe and secure.  Oftentimes, young children are too rough and do not provide all the necessary support a rabbit needs to feel comfortable.  This will lead to your rabbit becoming defensive by nipping, kicking and scratching if they do not feel safe.  

If you and your family choose to get a rabbit as a pet, we at the Central Aroostook Humane Society encourage you to adopt a rabbit rather than purchase one from a pet store.  Not ready for such a commitment?  You can always purchase a chocolate bunny for Easter morning.  

Please be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Central Aroostook Humane Society board of directors.