A smiling child in an adorable outfit clutches a cute
baby bunny in her arms. What's wrong with this picture? Contrary to
Eastertime hype, rabbits and small children are not a good match. The
natural exuberance, rambunctious and decibel-level of even the
gentlest toddler are stressful for the sensitive rabbit. It is the rare
child who will enjoy and appreciate the rabbit's subtle and sensitive
Another misconception is that rabbits are passive and
cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and
insecure when held and restrained. Children like a companion they can
hold, carry, and cuddle, just as they do their favorite stuffed animal.
It is unreasonable to expect a child to be able to take full
responsibility for the care of a rabbit, or to make a 10-year commitment
to anything! All too often, the child loses interest, and the rabbit
ends up neglected or abandoned.
Some people think rabbits are a "low-maintenance" pet.
In fact, they require almost as much work as a dog. They must be
housetrained. The house must be bunny-proofed, or Thumper will chew
electrical cords, rugs, books, and furniture. They must be spayed or
neutered, or they will mark your house with feces and urine. They must
live indoors, as members of the family. Rabbits kept in hutches outdoors
have an average lifespan of about one year; house rabbits can live 8 to
10 years. Predators abound, not only in rural areas but in urban and
suburban locations as well. Outdoor rabbits become bored and depressed
from isolation. To consign these sensitive, intelligent, social animals
to life in a hutch is to miss all the joy of sharing your life with a
rabbit. Unless he's part of your daily routine, you will not have the
opportunity to really get to know his subtle personality.
Clearly, rabbits are not for everyone! Are you a gentle
adult who lives in a quiet household? Are you eager to get to know
rabbits on their own terms - to spend time down at their level, on the
floor; to allow the rabbit to initiate gestures of friendship and trust?
If you think you are one of those rare individuals who would enjoy
sharing life with a rabbit, please visit your local animal shelter or
rabbit-rescue group. As rabbits have increased in popularity, they are
suffering the same fate as our other companion animals - abandonment.
You can also check your local veterinary clinic and "Pets" classifieds
of your newspaper. It's a sad fact that no matter where you live, you
are within 10 miles of a rabbit who needs a home. The effort made to
find that special bunny means you are saving a life.
So if little Susie is pleading for a bunny for Easter,
do a rabbit a favor, and buy her a toy rabbit that she can snuggle to
her heart's content. Let's make Easter a joyful time for our long-eared
House Rabbit Society
a national nonprofit organization
1532 Benton Street Alameda, CA 94027
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