It's very clear in the advertising: bunnies and Easter go hand-in-hand.
But please, this Easter, if you plan to get a bunny, make it a chocolate one.
That's the idea behind Make Mine Chocolate - a campaign by the Columbus House Rabbit Society. Adding a rabbit to the family is a commitment- not an impromptu purchase at a pet store. Bunnies can live up to 10 years (Inside! Not in a hutch outside!) and can even be litterbox trained.
Pet stores will tell prospective buyers that bunnies are great starter pets for children, but this isn't the case. Bunnies need to be handled gently and appropriately. If they are dropped or picked up wrong, they can suffer serious injuries (such as a broken back). Rabbits don't enjoy being picked up, carried around or cuddled. They prefer to stay close to ground.
Baby bunnies at the pet store certainly look adorable, but they'll soon age into hormonal teenagers that will need to be spayed or neutered. It's during the teen years that they will dig, spray and chew any objects they can. This is when rabbits are either given up at shelters or are set free into the wild -- the latter being a death sentence since domestic rabbits aren't trained to "hunt" for food on their own and face numerous predators in the wild. (For more about this, please visit here.)
So if you need a bunny in your Easter basket this year, please make it a chocolate or a stuffed toy bunny.
If you think you or your family is ready to make the commitment to a rabbit, please visit a shelter or one of the many rabbit rescue groups in your area. You can often adopt an older rabbit who has already gone through his or her tumultuous teen years! Learn as much as you can about caring for rabbits before bringing him or her home. If you scroll down this blog, you'll see a Petfinder widget that randomly selects rabbits needing homes in the Connecticut area. (You can adjust this to produce more local results for your hometown.) Web sites like www.rabbit.org are great for learning as much as you can about these gentle animals.
OK. I'm done now. (*Steps off soap box.*)
Have a happy holiday!