Tips before adopting a bunny for Easter

Bunnies need a lot of attention

While the exact origins of the Easter Bunny are unclear, the History Channel points to the fact that rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Some hold that the origin of the Easter Bunny ties into the Anglo-Saxon festival of Eastre, the spring goddess, whose symbol was a rabbit. However, the rabbit became associated with the celebration of Easter in America thanks to German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, bringing along their tradition of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws." (iStock/GlobalP)

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Clay Humane, a nonprofit veterinary clinic in Orange Park, is offering tips to people considering adopting a rabbit this Easter.

"Bunnies are adorable and a familiar symbol of Easter, so many children beg their parents for pet rabbits around the holiday," said Dr. Christian Broadhurst, senior staff veterinarian at Clay Humane. "Unfortunately, many rabbits are abandoned and end up in shelters after Easter because people don't understand bunnies need a lot of attention and time."

Broadhurst offers five tips to families considering adopting a rabbit:

  • Ensure you have time to allow your pet rabbit time to exercise outside his or her cage. Rabbits need lots of exercise every day.
  • Make sure you are prepared to clean the rabbit's litter box daily. Bunnies need clean litter boxes each day.
  • Keep a special diet of Timothy hay and well-washed dark, leafy green vegetables on hand. Do not feed rabbits food that isn't part of their special diet.
  • Rabbits typically don't like to be picked up. Make sure family members understand your pet rabbit most likely will not like being cuddled.
  • Prepare for regular trips to the veterinarian. Just like other pets, rabbits need regular checkups to stay healthy.

"Rabbits make excellent pets for people who have the time and patience to care for these beautiful creatures," Broadhurst said. "If you aren't sure if you are ready to adopt a rabbit, try giving your child a stuffed bunny to teach him or her about caring for a pet. Then, when you are ready to adopt a pet rabbit, visit a local animal shelter or rescue group.”

About the Author: