Dear Porky and Buddy,
Easter is coming up and I am thinking about getting a baby bunny for my kids. My eight year old has dropped hints about it, and I think she would really enjoy having one. Do you have any tips about bunny care?
We get asked this kind of question at this time of year almost every year and we really hate to lecture, but we always lecture about this.
At Easter time pet stores and farm supply stores are filled with adorable baby bunnies. Your kids are begging you to buy one. It’s so hard to resist. After all, you think, wouldn’t this be the perfect, low maintenance “starter pet” for a young child?
Every year, many thousands of rabbits are abandoned to shelters or released outdoors (a sure death sentence for a domestic rabbit) often because of misunderstandings on the part of the parents who bought them for their kids.
Rabbits are prey animals by nature.
They are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care.
Children are naturally energetic, exuberant, and loving. But “loving” to a small child usually means holding, cuddling, carrying an animal around in whatever grip their small hands can manage, precisely the kinds of things that make most rabbits feel insecure and frightened.
Rabbits handled in this way will often start to bite or scratch simply out of fear. Many rabbits are accidentally dropped by small children, resulting in broken backs and legs.
Those rabbits who survive the first few months quickly reach maturity. When they are no longer tiny and cute, kids often lose interest, and the rabbit, who has no voice to remind you he’s hungry or thirsty or needs his cage cleaned, is gradually neglected.
Parents, please help.
If you’re thinking about adding a rabbit to your family think about this: pet rabbits have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years. Don’t buy on impulse. Make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.
Consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue group. For the rabbit’s health and well-being (as well as for your child’s) make sure an adult will be the primary caretaker and will always supervise any children in the household who are interacting with the rabbit.
Domestic rabbits are inquisitive, intelligent, and very social by nature. A rabbit is a delightful companion animal as long you remember: he’s not a child’s toy. He’s a real, live, 10-year commitment!
For more information on rabbit care and adoptions contact the Upstate New York House Rabbit Society at www.therabbitresource.org, or search for rabbits available for adoption at www.petfinder.org
Or better yet, adopt a cat or kitten and put bunny ears on her! It would be a win win! You can see the Humane Society’s adoptable cats and kittens at www.oswegohumane.org or come to the Cranky Cats Adoption Day on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oswego Public Library at120 E. Second St., Oswego.
While you are there you can also see an exhibit of the funny and endearing Cranky Cats series by Cynthia Schmidt, a local artist whose work will be on exhibit at the library for the month of April.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets. Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 W. First St., Oswego.
Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets. Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter.