As the Easter weekend approaches many excited kids are dreaming of receiving live Easter Bunnies. Are you one of the animal lovers who can’t wait to give the joy of animal companionship to someone special? Perhaps you have found the perfect bunny already. Please think carefully before giving him away. Here are a few reasons why it is never a good idea to give someone a rabbit as a gift.
- He will grow up and lose his ‘cute’ factor
As rabbits grow older, they develop strongly independent characters and are not as pliable as when they were young. Use this litmus test: would you be able to give this person a fully grown rabbit?
- Rabbits are high maintenance companions
The entire family will need to bunny-proof their home. Rabbits love chewing and nothing escapes them: electrical cord, shoes, curtains, duvets, books, pot plants, door mats and even your TV remote. Rabbits are natural grazers, so the family will need to take responsibility for keeping these items out of his reach, not expect the rabbit to control his own instinctual drives as it is not something he can unlearn.
- They are not always as cuddly as they appear
Rabbits are prey animals. Being grabbed and clutched to your chest signifies being captured by a predator and they will often panic and struggle leaving bad scratches behind. Being picked up is something they never like, even if they learn to comply.
- How can you buy someone for someone else?
We would never choose a roommate for our friend, so why do we think that just by choosing a rabbit who is cute and the right colour will automatically mean they get along? They need to meet each other.
- Taking care of an animal is a lifelong commitment
Rabbits are sentient beings with needs, wants, likes, dislikes, character traits and idiosyncrasies. Can you in good conscience make a decision on someone else’s behalf to take responsibility for another living being’s needs for the rest of his life?
- Living in a cage, is not a life worth living
Rabbits can easily be house trained to use a cat litter box. They will come when called and cuddle with you just like any of your other companion animals. They are very active and love nothing more than to race laps around the house. They need to be free to move between the outdoors and sheltered areas. They are also exceptionally affectionate, needing constant attention and interaction. If left unattended they sink into deep depression and often get sick.
This rabbit’s life is in your hands. Please do not introduce him into a home where they will keep him imprisoned in a cage.
So what happens to all the rabbits people don’t want anymore? Some are dropped off at already overtaxed shelters. In some cultures, they are simply eaten. The vast majority of people abandon their unwanted bunnies on the mountain to fend for themselves. One can only imagine how terrified and defenceless these rabbits must be in the great outdoors. They are bred to be gentle. Many have lived their entire lives cooped up in a cage and as such have no survival skills, making them easy prey for raptors.
Are you still dead set on getting a rabbit for somebody? Then why not adopt one from a shelter? You will be giving the gift of life to a bunny who is desperate to shower someone with affection and might otherwise not survive much longer. Please do not support breeders or pet shops.
Find out more about why it is not a good idea to give animals as gifts.