Thinking of a bunny for Easter? Wake SPCA offers advice

Posted April 3, 2015

— Animal advocates in the Triangle are trying to educate the public about giving bunnies as Easter gifts to children.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County and the Triangle Rabbit Society say that while rabbits are popular gifts to mark the spring holiday, they often become too large or too much of a burden after families lose interest. Many owners end up releasing the bunnies or turning them over to shelters.

“Though bunnies can make wonderful pets, the SPCA and the Triangle Rabbit Society hopes that educational efforts will assure that the only bunnies adopted this spring go to permanent homes,” Wake SPCA marketing manager Darci VanderSlik said.

VanderSlik offered the following tips to consider before getting a bunny:

  • Do not buy a bunny. Adoption is a better option. All bunnies at the SPCA and Triangle Rabbit Society are spayed or neutered and litter-box trained.
  • Bunnies take time. These are not low maintenance starter pets. They require just as much attention as a cat or dog and need four to eight hours of out-of-cage play a day.
  • Bunnies have a long life span. They are indoor family pets that often require the owner to make a 10-year commitment.
  • Bunnies need to live inside. They are social creatures who enjoy being surrounded by their family, though too busy of a household can cause them stress. They also require a living space that gives them room to hop around even when confined.
  • Domestic bunnies are not equipped to survive in the wild. Domesticated bunnies will not survive if abandoned. House bunnies are not used to predators, are susceptible to disease and won't find enough food or safe foods to eat. Domestic rabbits are non-native to the United States. They are bred from a European species, not from native species found in North Carolina.
  • Bunnies do not like to be picked up. Though most enjoy being petted, they become scared when lifted off the ground. Their backs are delicate and can break if they are picked up the wrong way.
  • Bunnies need a variety of food. The most important component of their diet is grass hay. They should also be fed leafy green vegetables and a limited amount of rabbit pellets.

Bunnies are available for adoption at Triangle Rabbit Society or the Wake SPCA.


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  • Sara Skillman Apr 7, 2015
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    Ive owned multiple healthy, happy, long-life rabbits for 10 years and this information comes from biased people. Get a bunny! They make great pets, and always get pedigreed, they are guaranteed a home for life. And put your bunny outside if you want. Its easier on you and they love being in their natural setting. Don't worry if you have to rehome, rabbits wont think anything of it and two days later they're home sweet home with new people. The only rabbits that end up in shelters are non pedigreed mixed breed and cheap rabbits from meat breeders. Then a $10 rabbit intended to be bought to eat ends up in a shelter and costs someone an arm and a leg to adopt.

  • Sara Skillman Apr 7, 2015
    user avatar

    This article is providing too much opinion stated falsely as fact. Rabbits LOVE being outside and getting outdoor ground time in their natural setting. And it's easier for you not having to clean up behind them. Rabbits prefer NOT to be in pairs and fight more over territory than they get along, though it is okay to give them social play time, but they need their own space. Rabbits are fine with one hour a day of exercise and spend most their time laying around. Rabbits do NOT have to spayed/neutered and I hear of more rabbits dying young from effects of the surgery. ALL rabbits die old of something, spaying or neutering doesn't give them a better quality of life, if anything it depresses them. Do NOT buy cheap rabbits from meat breeders, the shelters want you to pay an arm and a leg for a $10 rabbit that was bred to eat. Buy a pedigreed pet rabbit, they are guaranteed a home if you rehome them, and rehoming them doesn't phase them, they pick up where they left off "wheres the food?"