With images of adorable bunnies lining every drugstore wall for Easter, it’s not uncommon for doting parents to purchase bunnies for their children as lovable companions.
However, the Peninsula Humane Society and other pet adoption centers have hesitated to take an official stance on this sometimes impulse buying.
“It’d be unfair to say that all adoptions are rash adoptions and that people haven’t done their homework,” said Peninsula Humane Society spoksperson Scott Delucchi. “There are definitely families who have given it plenty of thought and are ready.
The Peninsula Humane Society typically does not see a spike in rabbit adoptions around the holiday, and significantly fewer rabbits are surrendered to the shelter now.
"We take in 200 or 300 rabbits in a year," Delucchi said. "It used to be closer to 500 or 600, and the bulk would be a few months after Easter."
Rabbit purchases and adoptions therefore do not appear to be as seasonal as they used to be, he said.
"We like to think people are more careful these days," he added.
Delucchi said that vacation is an ideal time for families to adopt, when they have more time to settle the animal into their home.
“Easter can be the best time to adopt because many students are on spring break,” Delucchi said.
If families are looking to adopt, Delucchi would give four pieces of advice to ensure that the rabbit is placed in a good home.
- Behavior: They have a lifespan of nine to 10 years, a lifetime commitment for some.
- Handling: Families with young children often want to “play” with the rabbit and often cuddle with them. “Rabbis are wonderful pets because they’re soft and fluffy, but it’s more typical for them to not enjoy being handled.” He said letting the animal sit on a person’s life is preferable because they have fragile spines and are injured easily. “They’re not really hearty pets,” he said. Rabbit can also bite.
- Hutches: There’s a common misconception that all rabbits need are hutches and can be left outdoors. But Delucchi said that this is not a great life and that rabbits often cannot handle the weather elements. They can have heart attacks when raccoons come banging on their cages. They should spend time inside the home as well.
- Preparation: Just as you would baby-proof a home, potential pet owners should rabbit-proof their homes as well. Any electrical cords should be hidden to avoid the animal gnawing on them. Rabbits can also be spade and neutered. Often times, adopting two rabbits is better for the quality of life of both animals because they enjoy companionship.
So if you’re considering adopting a bunny this Easter, make sure to heed these tips first.
--Bay City News contributed to this report.