I know this isn’t related to tech, but it’s something important to me, so please forgive the quick PSA. As we approach Easter, it is the season where people get pet rabbits for their children. Don’t do it. They are a commitment you aren’t prepared for. Most people have no idea what is required of them when they have a pet rabbit. No, really, they don’t. As an animal lover and rescuer, I’m pleading with you to reconsider. A few months after Easter, rescues will overflow with new residents with no homes.
People look at rabbits and because they are small and think they are like a gerbil or hamster. This isn’t the case. They need much more space and attention than you are probably willing to give. They aren’t a kind of pet you can set and forget. Make sure this is a commitment you are prepared for, not your child. They will lose interest, but the animal will be with you for a decade.
I’ll outline a few things you probably aren’t expecting here, but there are many more.
- Rabbits are considered exotic animals, which means that not all veterinarians will see them. It also means that it will cost you more money when you need to visit a vet.
- Rabbits have unique exercise and dietary requirements. They need hours of exercise out of a cage per day. Lack of exercise causes health issues.
- Feeding them the wrong type of food or using hard water will cause some very catastrophic health conditions such as bladder stones.
- They have unique health conditions and can go downhill fast. Rabbits can die very quickly after not eating or drinking for relatively short periods of time. It requires a keen eye to know when something is wrong with them.
- Typical flea treatments will kill them. You need to make sure if you have other animals in the house that fleas do not make their way onto your rabbit.
- They are picky. There are countless things they are picky about, from food, to water, to the location of objects, to vet appointments with their bonded partner, etc.
- Rabbits are social animals and need lots of interaction. The social aspect is why they do better in pairs, especially for busy people. And, of course, there may be a good chance two random rabbits won’t get along.
- It can be hard to find a pet sitter for them, and you can’t just leave them alone for long periods at your house.
- It should be obvious, but they are fragile. Yes, very fragile and unsuitable pets for young children who may want to pick them up and squeeze them constantly. Most rabbits don’t like to be picked up, and it takes quite a bit of handling for them to be comfortable with you.
I could continue the list, but you get the point, and I’m running out of time today.
If You Insist
If nothing I said deters you, then please don’t get a rabbit from a pet store. There is no shortage of rabbits in rescues who need good homes. There are many advantages to adopting from a rescue, but some of the biggest are that the pet may already be litter trained, and you’ll have a good understanding of its temperament. Also, if you get a pair, the rescue may already have a bonded pair that gets along with each other.
Look up resources online on how to care for your pet before getting it. Don’t start this process afterward. Importantly, review information on how to bond with your pet.
Get your pet fixed. Even if you only have one, it will fix odd behavior issues, and it’s more healthy for the pet.
Make sure they have plenty of space to run around and explore. They can’t be in a cage all day and need exercise. Don’t let them run around outside because they can get fleas, and more importantly, even if you are supervising them, birds of prey can come down and take them from right in front of you.
If you find you can’t handle the responsibility, don’t release them outside! They are domesticated animals and won’t be able to fend for themselves. They will be terrified and most likely die very quickly. Be responsible and take them to an animal rescue or shelter. When you release them, the very best case is that you burden other people who now need to rescue them. Don’t let your irresponsibility be someone else’s burden.
All of this said, rabbits can be amazing pets for the right owners. They have unique personalities and quirky behavior that makes them fun to observe. If you are willing to put in the work, they make rewarding companions. Although they are a ton of work, my rescued pets help me maintain my happiness and focus on what’s important.
I hope you found this post useful. Even if you’ve decided not to get a pet rabbit, please consider donating to your local rabbit rescue instead of getting a pet rabbit. A few months after Easter, these rescues will be inundated with new residents because kids lost interest or people didn’t know what they were getting into. If you don’t have a specific local rescue, the one I work with is the Gainesville Rabbit Rescue. They always appreciate donations.
Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve at least changed one person’s mind.
In case you were wondering, he jumped into the trash can himself.