GIVE A CHOCOLATE RABBIT THIS SPRING, NOT A REAL ONE
Posted by: Elizabeth Fiend
Following are some tips and information to consider before choosing between a live animal or the chocolate variety.
The Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) and Make Mine Chocolate are encouraging people to re-consider hasty rabbit adoptions this Easter season. Every year, pet rabbits are bought or rescued to be given as Easter gifts, only to be returned or dropped off at over-crowded humane societies or worse yet, abandoned outside to fight off predators, cars, injuries and illness. According to some estimates, 90 percent of rabbits brought into American homes for the spring holiday will end up euthanized. This unfortunate trend could be avoided with proper research and careful consideration. Rabbits make wonderful, loving pets but they are also fragile creatures that require some extra attention. And because of their fragility, rabbits are not recommended for households with small children. Easter-time marketing campaigns and movies like “Hop” may have parents thinking otherwise and that now is a perfect time to adopt a pet rabbit, but following are some tips and information to consider before choosing between a live animal or the chocolate variety.
A Rabbits Life:
“Rabbits can live up to 10 years and require as much care and attention as dogs and cats,” says ACDC Rabbit Director Lori Busch. Along with this commitment come the daily requirements for exercise and grooming. Rabbits need several hours of daily exercise and should be provided with an exercise pen. Homes should also be rabbit-proof as rabbits have a natural instinct to chew. Rugs, drapes, table legs and electrical cords are all easy picking for a roaming rabbit. Rabbits also shed and unlike cats, hairballs can be a serious health risk. Owners should be prepared to brush their rabbit every day with a flea comb or slicker brush. Additionally, rabbits need to have their nails trimmed every eight weeks. Pet rabbits are very much companion animals and require daily love, attention, and playtime with their human counterparts.
Rabbits are famous for their reproductive abilities and can have multiple litters of up to nine young, known as “kittens”, each year. ACDC recommends spay and neutering for all of its adopted animals including rabbits. Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer by eliminating cancer and are less prone to aggression. Rabbits can begin reproducing as early as 4 months of age, so altering a rabbit as it reaches maturity will prevent a lifetime of overpopulation. An experienced rabbit veterinarian should always perform spaying and neutering and rabbits require annual vet check-ups to ensure proper health.
Rabbits are also ground-based, which is great for pet owners who prefer not to have pets on the counter-tops or jumping into the laps of house-guests, but it also means they may not enjoy being held in person’s (adult or child) arms for long-periods of time. Rabbit.org also suggests that the “natural exuberance, rambunctiousness, and decibel-level of the average toddler is stressful for most rabbits.” Calm homes make for calm rabbits.
In addition the Animal Coalition of Delaware County website and blog, the House Rabbit Society offers a comprehensive guide to rabbit care and information. MakeMineChocolate.org is also an excellent resource to bring awareness about springtime rabbit adoptions and ways to help.
What You Can Do:
There are several ways you can help, but prevention is the main thrust of the Make Mine Chocolate campaign. Awareness of what it means to own a rabbit for a pet, or any animal for that matter, is a huge step towards preventing unwanted and abandoned pets.
More info on rabbits as pets: Rabbit.org