HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Easter isn’t just about carrots and candy, especially not for bunnies who could just be bought just for the holiday gift basket.
Before Peter Rabbit comes hopping down the Bunny Trail, the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC) wants people to know that rabbit is more than a cute holiday prop and make sure people know up front that they need to give a lot of thought to the idea of giving a bunny or rabbit a forever home.
Dani Whalley, an HSWC employee, adopted her Mini Rex rabbit, Cronos, in January after his owners surrendered him to the shelter. Whalley explains that to her knowledge, Cronos was not a “holiday gift” and the owners were unable to continue caring for him.
“They are long-term commitments, they’re not just this cute thing to look at and it’ll be fun for a few weeks while it’s small and cute,” Whalley explained. “They need special diets. They need special vet care. They can be easily stressed out.”
While the Humane Society of Washington County does not see an increase of surrendered bunnies after the Easter holiday, rabbits are the third most common animal brought to shelters, according to PETA. Noel Cordell, the Development and Communications Manager of the Humane Society of Washington County, explains that rabbits aren’t low-maintenance pets like many people assume.
“They require a balanced diet with a lot of greens. Carrots are actually not something they should have very often,” Cordell explained. “Bunnies can actually live up to 15 years with proper care.”
While HSWC emphasizes there’s no shame in re-homing your bunny, it’s best to figure out ahead of time whether a bunny is right for you.
“We just want to caution people that adopting a bunny is actually a lifelong commitment. It’s not just a cute furry little animal to put in an Easter basket,” Cordell said. “We never want people to feel shame for surrendering an animal to the shelter because the shelter can then find a good home that is equipped to care for that animal.”
The Humane Society of Washington County encourages families to do their research before bringing a bunny home and they’re available to you as a resource if you have questions about your bunny’s health or how to best care for your long-eared friend.