Easter is here around once again, and if you’re a bunny parent like me- you may not be thrilled. Many animal advocates know that rabbits are the most abused animals in the industry, but not many know the horror that will become of most rabbits bought as pets for Easter.
They’re sexualized, abused by the hundreds of thousands for makeup and household cleaners, worn as coats, hunted, and are the most neglected “pet”.
You see, 90% of rabbits bought for Easter don’t even make it to their first year. If you don’t know anything about rabbits, you might not see the problem with that. You might think that bunnies just don’t have a very long lifespan. Both fortunately and unfortunately, that is not the case. Rabbits can live up to around 12 years old, and I’ve heard of older.
So why do these rabbits die more than 10 years before their times? Many, many reasons. The bottom line is they are not companion animals for people who don’t have sufficient time, money, love, and patience. Theyre not starter “pets”.
Diet– Many rabbit parents are really messing up their rabbit companions diets. I think we all grew up with the narrative that rabbits like carrots. And they do, but as a snack. Root vegetables like carrots cannot be given every meal or even every day to rabbits. They are much too high in sugar. A rabbits diet must regularly consist mosty of hay, pellets, and fresh leafy greens.
Other foods you may be feeding your rabbit, like iceberg lettuce, has no nutritional value and has a chemical called laudanum that can be harmful.
Here is a detailed list (along with serving sizes) of what your rabbit should be eating.
Environment– Rabbits are best suited as indoor companion animals. There are many variables in the outdoors that would lead to a rabbits early death.
Coyotes, predatory birds, racoons, and domestic animals like cats and dogs are all extreme dangers to rabbits.
Non predatory environmental factors such as loud noises and children can also cause a great stress on your bunny. Considering most of these animals are bought specifically for children; this is a huge problem. Another problem in dealing with children is most rabbits are put under a lot of stress when picked up. Being held and picked up is not a natural experience for a rabbit. Since they are not picked up by their mothers when young, the only time rabbits are usually picked up is by predators.
Time and care– Since rabbits are best suited indoors, it takes a lot more time and care to give them correct living conditions than if they were in an outside hutch. If they have one, their cage will have to be cleaned thoroughly and often so their bedding stays fresh and clean.
Rabbits also need to be groomed. They will- like cats -clean themselves regularly, and unlike cats they cannot cough or throw up. This means they cannot produce hairballs so rather than let hair build up in their system you will have to groom them regularly.
I’m addition to this, rabbits need a lot of tows- specifically wooden ones -to not only keep them busy, but to keep their ever growing teeth filed down! All of this can become very expensive, so you should know what you’re getting into if you decide to adopt a bunny.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get a rabbit, that a rabbit is too much work to be enjoyable…because that’s not the truth! My rabbit, Wilbur, is a wonderful addition to my family and I truly enjoy taking care of him. It’s just important to keep in mind that these animals are not toys, but friends with their needs and care. Like any other companion animal, they’re commitments.
If you can handle the responsibility of a rabbit and want to adopt one, thank you so much! They really need it.