Parents may be tempted to buy their children a rabbit for Easter. After all, what could be cuter than your little one holding a tiny bunny come Easter morning? Despite the cuteness factor, rabbits and small children aren’t a good mix. Rather than buy a live animal for your child, it’s best to stick with the legend of the Easter bunny or a chocolate rabbit in their basket for a cute animal this holiday.
Rabbits and Kids
Rabbits are sensitive animals that can be frightened easily. Most rabbits don’t like being held and aren’t a good choice for small children who can be inadvertently careless and rough. Expecting a young child to take responsibility for a small animal that requires a lot of work isn’t a fair assumption for either party.
Rabbits can live 8-10 years inside and shouldn’t be seen as a gift for a holiday, but rather the time-consuming obligation that they are.
Unfortunately, many parents get their children rabbits only to lock them in outdoor hutches. Rabbits living in outdoor hutches have a lifespan of merely one year. They can quickly become lonely, isolated, and depressed and develop health problems if left alone the majority of the time.
Having a rabbit as a pet also means your house will need to be bunny-proofed, which includes putting all chewable cords and cables out of sight and reach. In reality, getting a rabbit for your child is much like getting them a small dog. These intelligent animals require a lot of attention and need proper veterinary care and playtime every day to remain happy.
According to the Humane Society, after dogs and cats, rabbits are the animals most commonly surrendered to shelters. People get them before truly understanding the long term commitment and responsibility involved, then end up leaving them at the shelter, where they are often euthanized.
Not a Gift
Other people, after realizing the rabbit requires more work than they are willing to provide, may let the rabbit out in the backyard, in hopes of it surviving in the wild. Just like your house dog and cat, rabbits are domesticated animals and cannot fend for themselves. The chances of survival for a rabbit in the wild are extraordinarily low.
“Rabbits and chickens can make wonderful companions, but those adorable babies grow up quickly into adults that will need proper socialization, care, and companionship for many years,” said Inga Fricke, The Humane Society’s director of sheltering and pet care issues.
Adopting a rabbit, just like adopting a cat or dog, isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. It is especially not a suitable choice for an Easter gift for a child. Rather than gifting a live animal, buy a chocolate rabbit, a stuffed animal, or donate to a rabbit rescue organization to help rabbits that have been saved from shelters and need new homes. Learn more about what is involved in caring for a rabbit here.