Although every year people point out in various forums that a live bunny is not the best gift for Easter, there are always parents who think it’s actually a nice idea. Read our article to find out why they’re wrong!
1. A rabbit is not a toy
It’s important to remember that as cute as it is and as much as it looks like a plush toy, a rabbit is after all a living creature. For a young bunny, even being torn from its former environment is a huge trauma: it is separated from its mother or siblings and placed in a completely new, alien environment. In this new place, it is very unlikely that it will have the same routine, and if the owner is not careful, it will not be fed the same food and the rabbit will have to adjust to being held all the time at first, and perhaps being ignored later on.
So if your child wants a bunny, it’s definitely the best idea to buy a plush toy; however, if the reasons given so far are not convincing enough, let’s see what responsibilities you have to take on if you decide to have a live rabbit.
2. Rabbits don’t eat only carrots
Feeding a rabbit might seem simple at first. After all, Bugs Bunny always chews on a carrot in the cartoon, doesn’t he? Well, a real rabbit needs a much more varied diet. You’ll also need to provide a variety of grasses and grains (wheat, corn) to ensure a balanced diet and to help a rabbit to develop in a healthy way.
It’s worth considering whether you can provide this for your rabbit – many Easter bunnies die because of inadequate nutrition.
3. Very fast metabolism
As well as providing the right kind of food in appropriate proportions, it’s important to remember that a bunny has a very fast metabolism. This means that it can drop a “berry” every five to ten minutes… and if not cleaned up often, it won’t smell nice.
The most practical way is to cover the bottom of the rabbit cage with wood shavings, which is a good absorbent. However, regular cleaning at least once a day is still essential! Will your child take up this chore, or will you need to do it for them?
4. A rabbit needs space to move around
Like all animals, rabbits need exercise to develop properly and to keep their muscles strong. A cardboard box or a basket may save space, but it’s not good enough for a rabbit unless you give it several hours of free exercise every day – and carpet or flooring is not ideal for rabbits used to bumpy ground.
Think about it, even dogs kept indoors are taken for walks several times a day!
5. Rabbits need to chew every day
Chewing isn’t a harmful habit of bunnies, as many people think. As all rodents, they simply need to chew something to wear down their teeth, which grow constantly and would become very large over time, causing them further discomfort.
Therefore, a rabbit definitely needs something (even a piece of wood) to chew on – if you don’t provide this, it will grind its teeth on any hard object it can find, including furniture.
6. A 6–10-year commitment
As the above arguments prove, there is a responsibility and commitment involved in keeping a rabbit, and ideally it is a very long-term one, as their life expectancy is 6-10 years. Of course, like most pets, bunnies bring a lot of joy to experienced owners, but it is by no means certain that a child should take on such responsibility and be able to cope with the task.
The end result of keeping bunnies is likely to be that you, as a parent, will have to do your daily contribution, so it’s worth considering whether you can fit a new responsibility into your life.