It is never a good idea to buy an animal as a gift, yet many people are lured by "Easter-time" photos of smiling children holding cute little bunnies. These images help to perpetuate the myth that rabbits are suitable gifts for children. Rabbits, adorable as they are, are high-spirited, intelligent creatures that prefer quiet homes - many even dislike being held and cuddled. Therefore, a rabbit and a child may not be the best combination.
Rabbits are not good "starter" pets for children:Rabbits are high-maintenance pets, requiring as much care as a cat or dog. Very few children are ready for the full-time responsibility of taking care of an animal. Do you have the time and energy required to be the rabbit's main caregiver?
The fate of many "Easter bunnies": Children want to pick up and cuddle a pet bunny as they would a stuffed toy. This may frighten the rabbit, who may jump or kick to remove itself from the situation, possibly harming the child and the rabbit. Once the novelty of having a new pet wears off, the rabbit may end up being confined to a cage for most of the time, then, due to its quiet nature, forgotten. Many rabbits are moved outdoors or surrendered to a shelter before their first birthday.
Please learn the facts about rabbits as pets:Rabbits make wonderful pets, but they are not for everyone. To be happy and healthy, rabbits require daily attention and exercise, and should be spayed or neutered once they reach sexual maturity. They can live 6-10 years and, therefore, are a long-term commitment. DO NOT BUY ONE ON IMPULSE - AND NEVER GIVE A PET AS A GIFT!
When you have given it a great deal of thought and you believe that you and your family are prepared to bring a rabbit into your home, please visit your local shelter and see last year's "Easter presents". By adopting a shelter bunny, you may take great pleasure in knowing that you are saving a life.
It is best to educate yourself before getting any new pet but, until then, buy a chocolate bunny as a gift this Easter.
To learn more about rabbits, and their care, visit:http://www.ontariorabbits.org/index.html
Article reprinted with permission from the Ontario Rabbit Education Association - http://www.ontariorabbits.org/index.html