[Ed. Note: Bunnies grow up to be rabbits. Cute, cuddly little bunnies grow up to be individual rabbits with stunningly wonderful personalities and likes and dislikes. NEVER buy an animal. ONLY adopt a bunny or a rabbit if you are willing to spend the time, resources and energy needed to provide everything he or she needs. For great information about bunnies and rabbits, visit House Rabbit Society. And always remember: animals are NOT commodities to be purchased and then discarded if inconvenient.]
By Laura Frisk, People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Bunnies or rabbits end up being an impulse purchase at a pet store rather than a thought-out and planned adoption from your local animal shelter. With the right care, a house rabbit can live 10 to 13 years, maybe longer. A rabbit, like a dog or a cat, is a long-term commitment and should be considered seriously, not impulsively.
As Easter approaches, I start worrying about all the bunnies who will inevitably end up in animal shelters—or, worse yet, be let loose in the wild, once their holiday novelty wears off, which, unfortunately, usually happens rather quickly. They end up being an impulse purchase at a pet store rather than a thought-out and planned adoption from your local animal shelter. With the right care, a house rabbit can live 10 to 13 years, maybe longer. A rabbit, like a dog or a cat, is a long-term commitment and should be considered seriously, not impulsively.
My bunny, Bosco, was most likely a discarded Easter bunny. He was found on the side of a busy street by kind neighbors who had put up signs in the hope of reuniting him with his family. No one called the number on the sign except me. I took that little guy home with me, and 11 years later, Bosco is happy and healthy and the perfect example of a well-loved and cared for house rabbit.
Domestic rabbits are sensitive little beings who need lots of care. Having free run of the house is important because a bunny needs room to run and jump and do bunny dances, all of which Bosco does with gusto and great joy. And they love being a part of the family, bonding with humans as well as the other animals in the family. They are very social animals, and like a dog who spends his or her life on a chain, sentencing a bunny to a life in a cage, outside and alone, is agony for them.
Bosco, like all bunnies, is a natural vegan, which I find completely awesome! Dandelion greens and flat-leaf parsley are his favorites, with a side of carrots and a slice of apple for dessert. Fresh timothy hay is important because it helps to keep his ever-growing teeth under control, and it is what fills his litterbox. Rabbits love their hay and will happily jump into their litterbox, munch away on some hay, and then go to the bathroom, making them some of the easiest animals to litterbox train! By the way, I change Bosco's litterbox every single day, so he always has clean, fresh hay.
Spaying and neutering is very important to a rabbit's health and well being, and it also prevents unwanted litters, should you bring in a companion for your bunny. Unspayed females have a very high rate of uterine cancer, and rabbits who are not altered are more apt to mark their territory all around your house. A spayed or neutered rabbit is a calm and content rabbit.
Anyone considering bringing a rabbit (or two!) into their home should check out the fun and informative rabbit facts at PETA.org. Your local chapter of the House Rabbit Society is also a great place for information. And please don't go to pet stores. Animal shelters are full of rabbits longing for their forever home. Rabbits are wonderful animal companions who, if treated kindly and with respect and love, will give many years of joy to their human companions.