Easter bunnies: What you need to know before getting a pet rabbit

Updated: Apr. 10, 2022 at 6:55 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - We’re one week away from Easter, and if you are thinking about getting an Easter bunny as a pet, you may want to be sure you are ready to care for it. Owning a rabbit can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work.

Rabbits are naturally timid and shy creatures. If you are hoping to have a cuddly bunny, it will take time for the rabbit to warm up to you or your child.

Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. They need to have their nails trimmed and need to be let out of their cage for exercise.

Tanna and Tex Thomas of Thomas Rabbitry have been raising bunnies for decades. They say improper care for a rabbit can lead to severe problems.

“You’d want to clean their cage probably twice a week because of the odor,” said Tanna. “You don’t want the ammonia to build up on the rabbit either. You don’t want them to sniff that ammonia because then they can get colds and what we call Pasteurella, which is a deadly disease for the rabbits.”

Rabbits are naturally timid creatures. So if you get a bunny and it’s not super cuddly at first, you need to give it time to warm up and get to know you. They also love to chew, so if you plan to let it run around the house, be prepared to chew on anything they can reach.

Rabbits can also live for up to 10 years. Before you adopt a bunny, you need to make sure you are ready to care for it for life.

“Anytime you get a rabbit or any animal, it’s a lifetime commitment to that rabbit’s life,” said Tanna. “You don’t want to get it just because it’s cute and fuzzy and it’s Easter time. Make sure that if it’s for a child. That child is going to learn some responsibility feeding and caring for that rabbit for the whole entire duration of its life.”

Rabbits require a special diet. You can’t just feed them lettuce and carrots. They need to eat special pellets that meet their dietary needs.

If you decided that the animal isn’t a good fit for your family, do not set the rabbit free outside. You will need to find a new home for it since many animal shelters only take in cats and dogs.

“Domestic rabbits don’t survive in the wild,” said Tex. “They’ve been raised on a diet that isn’t conducive to what they can get in the wild. Wild rabbits are used to eating just grass, bark, and such things. A domestic rabbit is going to have a balanced ratio based on greens, alfalfa, and much richer things. They’ll actually starve to death if they’re turning loose in the wild.”

Many rabbit breeders will not sell bunnies during Easter time due to people impulse buying without knowing how to care for the animal. If you think a bunny is a good pet for you, talk with a breeder and they will help you prepare for your new pet.

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