You’d think that “Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month” would be in the spring when people have bunnies on the brain–like in April. But no, July is the month that holds the honor. Why? Because it takes a few months for all of the people who bought those cute baby bunnies for Easter gifts to abandon them at the shelter once the bunny has turned into a full-grown rabbit. By July, the kids have grown tired of them, the parents realize the responsibility involved, and thousands of rabbits are being dropped off at shelters across the country.
“Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month” was originated by the House Rabbit Society (HRS), an international nonprofit animal rescue and education group, in partnership with the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The goal has two aims: To educate the public about having rabbits for companion pets, and to help rescue and “re-home” domestic rabbits.
Rabbits can make fantastic companion pets, as long as you know what you’re in for. They get along with cats and dogs, are smart and affectionate and can learn to use a litter box. They even come when called. However, they have their caveats. According to the ASPCA, you should be aware of these facts when considering a rabbit as a pet:
• Rabbits cannot live outdoors! Although they’ve traditionally been kept in backyard hutches, these days we know better. Outside, rabbits can die of fright at the approach of a predator, and will be susceptible to diseases spread by ticks and other parasites.
• In most cases, rabbits and very young kids are not a great match. No doubt, many children love bunnies–but they’ll want to show their love by hugging and picking them up. Rabbits naturally feel insecure when picked up off the ground, and will do anything in their power (or in their powerful legs) to get down. An accidental fall can result in a broken bone. Better to wait until the kids are older.
• Rabbits need to dig and chew, they can be pretty destructive, so you will need to make sure to give them plenty of opportunity to do that, as well as rabbit-proofing your house.
By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy and Green Living