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Why Rabbits and Easter Don’t Mix

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Why Rabbits and Easter Don’t Mix

We are a multiple pet, multiple species home – three humans, three cats, two mice and a dog. That’s four different species, down from five when Lulu, our bunny was still with us.

Easter makes me think of Lulu but not in a happy way.

Like thousands of other bunnies, Lulu was originally purchased from a pet store before Easter. When the kids grew tired of her, she became a classroom bunny. At the end of the school year, she was passed off to another family who dumped her at a shelter a few weeks later. By the time she joined our family, she was stressed, traumatized, terrified of kids, and pretty much (excuse my language) had zero shits left to give. We later discovered she also had injuries to her spine, which were probably the result of being handled roughly (or maybe dropped) while living in the classroom.

But even with all the craziness in her early life, Lulu was still one of the lucky bunnies. During her time with us, she had her own room with her own stuff and lived life completely on her terms. We never kept her in a cage or forced her to interact with us or our other animals (she and Ruby eventually became friends). She lived with us for seven years, passing away during surgery to remove a tumor on her chest last May.

8 things you should before getting a pet rabbit plus information on the rabbit life cycle and diet

Why Pet Rabbits And Easter Don’t Mix

Rabbits are the third most popular pet in America and sadly, also one of the most abandoned. While the Easter Bunny makes a great bedtime story for children – for the thousands of rabbits and baby bunnies (not to mention chicks and ducklings) bred, sold, and later abandoned the holiday is anything but fun. In the weeks after Easter, shelters around the country are often inundated with unwanted baby rabbits. Even more tragic are the thousands “set free” or abandoned outside. Domestic rabbits lack the survival instincts of their wild relatives and often die from the elements or fall victim to predators like hawks, coyotes, etc. As many as 80% of rabbits and baby bunnies purchased in the weeks before Easter are later abandoned.

If you are unable or unwilling to provide a lifetime of care (potentially 10-12 years), PLEASE choose a chocolate bunny instead.

the life cycle for a pet rabbit is 10-12 years and other reasons you should not buy a bunny for Easter

7 Things You Should Know Before Getting A Pet Rabbit

Rabbits are not good starter pets. Although rabbits and baby bunnies are adorable, they are not toys, holiday decorations or stuffed animals. Rabbits are way more complicated than dogs and cats, not kid-friendly and truthfully, kind of high maintenance.

Rabbits are prey animals and usually don’t like being picked up or cuddled. Rabbits instinctively feel threatened when lifted off the ground (think of a hawk swooping down) and can actually die of fear.

Rabbit skeletal systems are fragile and they injure easily. If they fall, are dropped, or picked up incorrectly they can kick out and  break their backs.

Proper rabbit diet includes hay (timothy hay, grass hay, or a combination of both) and greens. Pellets were originally invented for breeders as an inexpensive way to fatten up their animals. For most bunnies, pellets are optional and should be more of a treat. Many of the commercial so-called rabbit food sold in pet stores ate unhealthy and often toxic. You can find more information on proper rabbit and bunny diet here. 

Caring for rabbits as pets and the rabbit life cycle plus 8 things you should know before getting a rabbit

Rabbits need exercise and socialization (on their level) and ideally, should NOT live in a cage full time. Like dogs and cats, domestic rabbits live happier, healthier and longer lives indoors safe from predators, parasites, poisonous plants, and weather related dangers. Rabbits are also social and enjoy being part of family life rather than isolated in a hutch outside. You can find more information on proper habitat for pet rabbits here. 

Rabbits hide illness. By the time you see visible symptoms, your rabbit is likely in crisis. Bunny caretakers must be super vigilant about what their pet rabbits eat and make sure food is moving quickly and easily through their systems – AKA pooping a bunch. If your rabbit stops eating or pooping, they are probably headed for Gastrointestinal Stasis, a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely.

Rabbits are living, feeling, long-term commitments just like dogs and cats. They can live 10-12 years with good care. Lulu lived until 13 and we miss her like crazy and will definitely adopt another bunny at some point. You can read more about why I love bunnies here.

Pet rabbits are not for everyone and should only be adopted after careful consideration and never on impulse or as an Easter accessory. If you are unable or unwilling to provide a lifetime of care, please choose a chocolate bunny instead.

Easter and Rabbits and baby bunnies don't mix. While the Easter Bunny makes a great bedtime story for children - for the thousands of rabbits and baby bunnies (not to mention chicks and ducklings) bred, sold, and later abandoned the holiday is anything but fun.

30 Comments

  1. April 12, 2019 / 5:54 am

    Mom had two rabbits as a kid, at separate times. She really loved having them as pets, and even her cat who hunted rabbits outside, never laid a paw on the pet rabbits.

  2. April 12, 2019 / 6:55 am

    She was such a sweetie. I sure wish the humans would give up on that bunny for Easter thing, it’s just not right.

  3. April 12, 2019 / 9:17 am

    It’s so sad to think about all the bunnies who will be abandoned after Easter. This is an excellent post and great info for people to read before getting a bunny. I had no idea about not picking them up.

  4. April 12, 2019 / 10:11 am

    This post has lots of great info on bunnies! Hopefully, anyone considering getting a bunny for their kids for Easter reads it!

  5. Hindy Pearson
    April 12, 2019 / 10:17 am

    Lulu was such a beautiful rabbit. There can’t be too many articles stressing the fact animals are not toys or the next “must have item” because of a movie or a holiday. Instead of children seeing how easy it is to dump an animal when he or she is no longer wanted, they should be taught compassion and respect for all living beings. Lulu was lucky to have found you, sadly many aren’t as fortunate. Let’s hope anyone looking for a rabbit at this time of year is encouraged to go the chocolate route.

  6. April 12, 2019 / 10:35 am

    Lulu was such a beauty too….gorgeous markings and her lucky day was when she found you!!
    Hugs Cecilia

  7. April 12, 2019 / 11:35 am

    So glad we are now able to see the site and read your articles. This rabbit one was very informative.

  8. April 12, 2019 / 1:33 pm

    Great post and I so agree with you, bunnies should be of chocolate for kids only as the shelters do fill up after Easter and they suffer terribly. Lulu was one of the lucky bunnies.

  9. J.G. Eastman
    April 12, 2019 / 2:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with this post! We’ve had 2 bunnies, who were not purchased as Easter “gifts” and, although they were sweet as sugar, they were not easy pets to maintain–and really not for kids who are not closely supervised when handling them. Our first lop ear bunny, Flopsy, had the run of our house, used the liter box and slept with my young son. Flopsy chewed on a lamp cord that send her in backflips but, fortunately, survived. Later on, she developed a sore on her leg that would not heal. Her treatment cost so much that our small animal vet took pity on me and started treating her for free. Sadly, after months, she succumbed from the stress of it all. Our 2nd lop ear bunny, Buns, had a malocclusion so her lower front tooth never wore down. It grew upwards out of her mouth like a tusk. My husband had to trim it with dog nail clippers. It didn’t hurt her but eeeek, was that a traumatic task for all of us. Of course, her inability to chew properly caused digestive problems that were impossible to treat. Rabbits are fragile. Maybe that’s one of the reason they touch our hearts..but it’s also the reason why they require responsible and dedicated ownership. Thanks so much for bringing this important topic to light!

  10. April 12, 2019 / 2:35 pm

    The grands have all wanted to get a rabbit at one time or another. Mom must have done a good job of educating her kids about the pros and cons because they have all nixed that idea with the grands. Bunnies are cute and adorable, but not for everyone. We are hearing rumors about a new family pet coming soon, but Mom says no, it is NOT a dog – hmmmm, wonder what it WILL be.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  11. bella, roxy and dui
    April 12, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    It would be great if the information got out. But some people just want to make money…

  12. April 12, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the great post, we couldn’t agree more!

  13. April 12, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    it’s sad to know how many bunnies end up in shelters shortly after Easter. Our shelter has had a few. Fortunately we have found a couple of good bunny rescues that have taken them.

  14. April 12, 2019 / 9:05 pm

    Amen and amen! Keep saying it and hope more people catch on and understand that pets are not to be bought on a whim!

  15. April 13, 2019 / 1:44 pm

    Do people really still do this? How sad and disturbing.

  16. April 13, 2019 / 1:59 pm

    Good article! I had guinea pigs and so relate to a lot of your points. Sadly, guinea pigs also succumb to sickness very fast and at the same time don’t respond so well to treatment.

  17. April 13, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    I’m going to share this post on my FB page! Well written! “Make mine chocolate!”

  18. meowmeowmans
    April 14, 2019 / 9:50 am

    This is another important post! It kills us that so many bunnies (and chicks and ducklings) get bought as “Easter gifts.” They’re not toys. 🙁

  19. April 14, 2019 / 2:31 pm

    True of so many situations… Bunnies for easter… huskies because of Game of Thrones… Macaws because of Rio … ugh. Humans suck.

  20. April 14, 2019 / 5:35 pm

    Wow! Great post and calling attention to this issue. Honestly, it was something I never even thought about until reading your post. I’m familiar with black cats and Halloween time being dumped shortly after but didn’t realize the same with Easter and rabbits. This is so sad. Going to pin and share this post.

  21. April 14, 2019 / 7:32 pm

    Rabbits are a big commitment. My sister-in-law has taken in many rabbits who were originally Easter gifts. We are a multi-species family too (5 now since our cat passed away) Our rabbit is going on 13 and while she’s fun, I think she’s more work than the dogs.

  22. Marjorie Dawson
    April 15, 2019 / 12:11 am

    I was bunny tender at our local rescue and I never EVER picked them up. Each one was a different personality and they needed far more balanced food that just a bit of carrot and straw!

    People think oh a rabbit is an easy pet and nothing could be further from the truth. NIGHTMARE parents with small children and they should never pick up the rabbit. So kids get bored and parents neglect the rabbit…..

    NO NO NO never a rabbit at Easter NEVER!

  23. FiveSibesMom
    April 15, 2019 / 1:13 pm

    As a former bunny momma…what a great and very important post!!! Just Pinned to share. I had two incredible bunnies – well my daughter did! But I was in love with them our first was a white one, and our last one was a brown and white dwarf (my daughter named Sugar because he looked like white and brown sugar!) who lived to 13, loved being cuddled, watching TV, and enjoyed rides with our Shepherd/Akita adopted puppy in my daughter’s little Barbie corvette! Sugar loved to be read to, which my then young daughter did! I have so many photos of them! I was told it was unusual to have a bunny who loved to be cuddled. He was amazing. Housebroken to run around the house up to four hours! I always get so crazy when people go out and get kids bunnies for Easter without understanding the care and lifestyle of bunnies. After Easter, so many are then ignored when the “novelty” wears off. Bunnies are commitments and need love and care…just like dogs and other pets. Thank you for writing this great post!

  24. April 15, 2019 / 4:18 pm

    Thank you for highlighting this undeniable fact. Bunnies and baby chicks ‘look’ like the perfect Easter gift, but neither make good pets, especially with kids around.

  25. April 16, 2019 / 6:16 pm

    As I’ve said before – I truly wish we’d known all of this when he had Black Spot. My father grew up taking care of rabbits so he thought he knew everything – but I imagine Black Spot’s life really sucked because we didn’t educate ourselves better. At least our getting him had nothing to do with Easter!

  26. April 17, 2019 / 10:18 am

    I remember one of the science teachers I taught with in middle school had a bunny in the classroom. I remember her stressing the appropriate way to handle them. She rescued all types of wildlife and knew how to handle them. It is sad when something like this happens. People just don’t seem to understand commitment anymore.

  27. dachshundstation
    April 17, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    Very informative article. Lulu sounds like a very special rabbit. I totally agree with that selling bunnies and chicks to families with young kids for Easter gifts is a terrible idea. They are innocent animals who need a good home.

  28. nancytsocial
    April 17, 2019 / 11:15 pm

    Excellent and timely article! I can’t begin to imagine the mindset of anyone who treats another living creature’s life carelessly. Pet adoption is a sacred promise and lifetime commitment.

  29. Lee
    April 21, 2019 / 4:30 pm

    Happy Easter! We tolerate a little Spring rain to enjoy the sunshine that follows. It’s just like we tolerate a little heartburn to enjoy copious amounts of Easter candy! Hope you had no cracked eggs in your baskets. We had a domestic rabbit that the people living next door let loose to fend for itself when they moved. Surprisingly the wild rabbits in the hood took it in and seemed to have taught it how to fend for itself because we saw it for years. It was a lucky one.
    Sweet William The Scot

  30. April 21, 2019 / 8:26 pm

    Rabbits! Our Mom never had one as a pet. One of her friends did when they were in Elementary School and that is when Mom found out ho high maintenance they are when she offered to take care of Peter while they went on holiday. Her Mom put her foot down and said No Rabbits! And so did Mom. We have a bad freed domestic rabbit problem here in Richmond and the local animal shelter is always over-run with them.
    Such a wonderful and timely post! Thank You!
    Happy Easter!
    Purrs
    Marv and Mom

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