JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – They may be cute, but veterinarians are warning parents this Easter not to buy live bunny rabbits as presents for their kids.
Painting, arts and crafts, egg hunts after church, there are many ways to celebrate Easter fun. But live rabbits as a gift? For some people, that’s a thing, too. Dr. Christian Broadhurst with Clay Humane Society says sadly, he’s seen some rabbits die as a result of neglect.
“It’s very similar to getting goldfish at the fair, seems like a good idea at the time,” Broadhurst said. “But when you get home, then you’re like, now what?”
Broadhurst says it is important to remember that rabbits require specialized diets. Even though they are cute, they’re not built for cuddling.
“They’re actually fairly prone to breakage,” Broadhurst said. “Their back legs are so strong, that if you’re holding them improperly when they kick hard, they can actually break their spines. So, it is not for little kids to have and cuddle and have run around.”
Broadhurst says another concern with rabbits and kids can be their sharp teeth. Not to mention, having more than one, quickly leads to more. Rabbits reproduce considerably faster than other pets.
“Now, rabbits can be spayed or neutered, but it requires a vet who knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to spaying and neutering rabbits,” Broadhurst said. “And anesthesia can be challenging on them.”
But it’s not just rabbits. Baby chicks have also been given as Easter gifts. Broadhurst wants to remind people, depending on where you live, there are ordinances in place for when they grow up. So, you need to do your research.
“You may find out that, wow, that is not the animal for my home,” Broadhurst said. “And if it’s not, don’t get it because it is a live animal, you’re bringing into your house that may be with you for five, six, seven, eight years.”
Broadhurst also pointed out that with rabbits, there’s not an abundance of local vets equipped to provide care like they would dogs or cats. So, if you have questions, you may want to stick with presents that are stuffed. Or made of chocolate.