It may still be snowing in some parts of the UK, but around the zooplus offices, it’s beginning to feel as if spring is on the way. Christmas is far behind us, and Mother’s Day cards and Easter eggs are in the shops, all ready for the next round of present-giving. It’s a time of fluffy chicks, spring flowers, easter egg hunts, and baby bunnies.
If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to resist a chocolate bunny, but I wonder how you would feel if, instead of a chocolate bunny for Easter, you received a real, live rabbit? This may sound unlikely, but it represents a worrying trend. Sadly, every year animal rescue centres are inundated with unwanted pets in the weeks after Easter.
There are images of cute fluffy bunnies everywhere you look in the run up to Easter. Combined with pester-power, this can tempt parents to use Easter as a time to buy a real animal for their children, believing that a rabbit is an ‘easy’ starter pet for a child. Unfortunately, the novelty can quickly wear off once the holidays are over and owners and children realise how much care and attention a rabbit really needs.
Remember: Never give an animal as a gift.
If you are considering buying a rabbit, take the time to do your research and make sure you know exactly what you will be taking on. In buying a rabbit you are making a long-term care commitment – on average, a rabbit lives 8-12 years – and it is a financial commitment too. The RSPCA estimates that the initial cost of buying a pair of rabbits, providing suitable housing and veterinary care (including vaccinations and neutering) can be around £800, with annual costs up to £1,000. For a pair of well looked after, healthy bunnies, lifetime costs can amount to over £12,000!
The Pet Care Advice section of our website has lots of useful hints and tips on the necessary care and equipment for a rabbit, and charities such as Blue Cross, PDSA and the RSPCA also have useful resources on their websites, along with contact details for local rescue centres.
Giving a rescue bunny a comfortable, loving home where they get all the care and attention that they need is always the most responsible choice. Unscrupulous breeders and pet stores will often breed rabbits to meet Easter demands, without a care for their health, or whether they go to good homes. You may end up with a large vet’s bill for Easter, which is not a present that anyone wants. Personally, I much prefer chocolate.