With Easter quickly approaching, many families seek the perfect gift to give their loved ones and children. An appealing option always seems to be a pet rabbit — what better way to celebrate the Easter Bunny than a fluffy friend of your very own?
Unfortunately, many times the decision to purchase a rabbit is done in haste and new owners realize quickly these animals (whose lifespan is generally six to ten years) take more care and attention than most new owners are willing to give.
It is estimated that the amount of rabbits abandoned at shelters greatly increases following the Easter holiday.
This ends up leading to an influx of rabbits being neglected, improperly cared for, left at animal shelters, or, worst of all—let out into the wild, an inevitable death sentence for domestic rabbits.
Rabbits, like any other pet, need proper care and love in order to remain healthy and happy. A proper diet includes fresh water and plenty of timothy hay and greens, with pellets and carrots to only be given sparingly.
Because they are prey animals, and sensitive to changes in temperature, it is best to keep rabbits inside at all times with a cage that comfortably accommodates their size.
Rabbits can easily be litter trained and spaying and neutering has been known to deter aggressive or instinctive behavior such as digging or biting.
Instead of visiting a pet store to purchase a rabbit, consider a shelter or rabbit rescue. There are several shelters across southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania that have rabbits available for adoption (being that rabbits are the third most commonly found animals in shelters), many of which are already spayed or neutered, and are waiting to meet their new owners!
Or, if this long-term commitment is not one your family is ready to make—why not purchase a chocolate bunny instead?
Sara Wuillermin Moreno has helped rescue and foster numerous rabbits through her work with several rabbit rescue organizations across South Jersey.
Looking to rescue a bunny of your own? Moreno suggests checking out organizations like Little Miracles Rabbit Rescue, Animal Coalition of Delaware County or searching for adoptable rabbits on Petfinder.com, which draws from several area shelters.