Want Your Very Own Easter Bunny? Read This First

You might be excited for the Easter bunny’s arrival on Easter Sunday, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and get your own bunny. Rabbits are living beings — not holiday props. Here are eight reasons why it’s a terrible idea to impulsively bring home a rabbit for Easter.

1. Rabbits live a long time

Unlike many wild rabbits, which only survive for a few years, domestic rabbits can live roughly eight to 12 years, according to PetMD. That number might fluctuate based on size and breed. But in general you should expect to have a rabbit for just as long as you would a dog or cat. Unless you truly understand and are prepared for how a pet rabbit would affect the next decade of your life, it’s really not ideal to bring one home just because of Easter. And never, ever assume you can release your pet rabbit into the wild if you don’t want it anymore. That would be a death sentence.

2. They’re expensive

Rabbits may be small, but they’re certainly not cheap. According to ASPCA pet care cost estimates, you can expect to spend roughly $800 during just the first year of having a pet rabbit. That’s only slightly less than a dog or cat — and more than the cost of other small animals, such as guinea pigs and ferrets. Annually, you can plan on spending around $150 for your rabbit’s food, $200 for litter and $70 for medical expenses — in addition to other recurring miscellaneous costs. And if your rabbit needs anything outside of routine health care, expect to see those medical costs soar, especially for a more specialized vet.

3. They require an elaborate setup

two pet rabbits in an outdoor enclosureCredit: malerapaso/Getty Images

Your rabbit’s home setup is going to be another expense and take some careful planning. They certainly can’t live in that Easter basket forever. An untrained bunny should stay in a safe enclosure when you’re not there to watch them, as there are many household items that pose risks to rabbits. “A rabbit’s home should be at least 4-6 times the size of your bunny when he’s entirely stretched out — more if he is confined for a large amount of the day,” according to the House Rabbit Society. “… One guideline to go by is at least 8 square feet of enclosure space combined with at least 24 square feet of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits, in which the rabbit(s) can run and play at least 5 hours per day.” The setup should include food and water, a comfortable sleeping spot, a litter box and plenty of enrichment (e.g., toys and safe materials to chew).

4. Rabbit-proofing your home isn’t easy

It’s ideal to give your rabbit time to move freely through your house for exercise and enrichment, just as they would roam outdoors. But that means meticulously rabbit-proofing your home — which you probably hadn’t planned on as part of your Easter festivities. Electrical cords and any toxic houseplants are areas to focus on when it comes to rabbit-proofing. “Preventing rabbits from chewing on electrical cords is of utmost importance, since rabbits can be badly burned or electrocuted,” according to the House Rabbit Society. Either move cords out of reach, or buy products that can safely cover them. Furthermore, you might have to work to stop your rabbit from chewing houseplants, furniture and even baseboards around your house. Remove or cover dangerous items, and provide your rabbit with plenty of their own safe possessions.

5. Routine veterinary care is a must

vet holding a black and white rabbitCredit: leaf/Getty Images

Rabbits should have regular vet checkups all throughout their lives. And you might have to put in some extra effort to find a veterinarian who specializes in rabbits, as experience is valuable for their care. Plus, just like with cats and dogs, vets typically recommend you have your rabbit spayed or neutered. This can help to make them calmer, friendlier companions, and it can prevent diseases, including cancer. Again, finding a vet with rabbit experience to do the surgery is key. The House Rabbit Society offers some questions to ask to help you choose a vet.

6. Your bunny might not be so cuddly

If you’re tempted to impulse buy a bunny for Easter, it’s probably because you think they’re cute and cuddly. And while they’re certainly cute, the cuddly part isn’t so fitting. “Rabbits are prey animals, so they have a strong fight or flight instinct,” PetMD says. “This is why they get scared when you pick them up too quickly.” And according to Best Friends Animal Society, cuddling a bunny impairs their best means of defense: their speedy little legs. “A frightened bunny, struggling to free himself from being held in a painful way, can scratch or bite,” Best Friends says. Although every rabbit is different and some eventually might feel safe snuggling with you, most prefer petting over holding.

7. Rabbits aren’t always a good match for kids

Many people who consider getting an “Easter bunny” are doing it for the children in their lives. But kids and rabbits aren’t always a good match. “Rabbits, especially baby rabbits, are very fragile animals and are not really suitable pets for small children,” Best Friends says. “… If not handled properly, rabbits can be easily injured or injure a child.” And if you expect your kids to care for the rabbit — even if they fervently promise they will — think again. Rabbits require lots of daily upkeep, which includes giving them fresh food and water, cleaning their litter and bedding, providing enrichment and monitoring their health and well-being. And some kids might lose interest in all that even before the Easter holiday is over.

8. Too many rabbits are surrendered to shelters

pet rabbit in a cageCredit: Inner_Vision/Getty Images

After cats and dogs, rabbits are the third most surrendered — and euthanized — animal in U.S. shelters. “Many of the bunnies dying in shelters are the result of a well-meaning but not well-thought-through gift,” Best Friends Animal Society says. In a study of the shelter rabbit populations at four animal shelters in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, researchers found most rabbits were between the ages of 1 and 6 when their owners surrendered them to a shelter. “The most common reasons for surrender were the caregivers’ inability to care for the rabbits or a lack of interest in doing so,” the study says. Odds are some of those rabbits at one point were impulsive Easter gifts. Wait until the holiday is over. Do your homework. And always adopt.

Main image credit: Sasiistock/Getty Images

57 comments

Peter B
Peter B6 days ago

thank you

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Lara A
Lara A12 days ago

Thanks very much

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Lara A
Lara A14 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Elaine W
Elaine W16 days ago

Very important considerations when "cute" just might not be enough information.

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Beth L
Alice L19 days ago

thanks

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Vincent T
William T21 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Somia H
Somia Hall25 days ago

If not handled properly, rabbits can be easily injured or injure a child travel goods

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Thomas M
Thomas M25 days ago

Thank you

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric27 days ago

tks very much

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric27 days ago

thank you

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