With Easter just around the corner, and bunnies everywhere you go – decorations, candy, greeting cards – you’re bound to catch bunny fever.
While rabbits make excellent housepets for pet parents who do their research, buying a bunny on a whim to celebrate the holiday isn’t a wise idea. If you’re thinking about adopting some-bunny to love this Easter season, learn what a rabbit will need to be happy in your home.
Where To Get A Snuggly Easter Bunny
Rabbits are prey animals. By nature, they’re not cuddly like dogs and cats. They startle easily and may kick or bite if they’re picked up by an inexperienced handler. So, many bunnies are not suitable starter pets for young children.
Depending on where you live, you’ll probably have a few options for purchasing a bunny.
If you live in a rural or semi-rural area, you could purchase a rabbit for under $20 from a farmer, feed store or at a swap meet. However, these are livestock rabbits, bred for their meat. While some people keep livestock rabbits as pets, they will not tolerate handling unless they’re treated as pets from birth, and they may still become aggressive as they reach puberty at 3-6 months of age.
You’re better off with a rabbit bred from pet stock. They’re naturally more cuddly and tolerant of handling, and may also be bred to be easily trainable. You can purchase a pet rabbit from a breeder or from a shelter or rescue. You may want to wait a few months after Easter to rescue, as many Easter buyers will abandon their pets by then.
Local Facebook groups and Craigslist will also have bunnies and rabbits for sale. This is risky, though, as independent sellers can be dishonest. If you’re buying a bunny from a stranger, meet the bunny before you buy it, ask to see their bunny living space, and ask plenty of questions to gauge their expertise.
Raising A Happy Easter Bunny
Remember, your bunny will still need love, care and attention long after Easter is over. A healthy rabbit can live up to 12 years – that’s a lot of Easters!
Rabbits are different than other small animals like rats and hamsters. They need to be spayed or neutered before they reach puberty to prevent aggression. A female rabbit does not go into heat. Instead, her ovaries release eggs every time she mates with a male. That’s why rabbits are known for breeding quickly; because they can reproduce year-round.
What Do Easter Bunnies Eat?
The bulk of your rabbit’s diet should be grass or hay. Bunnies graze all day long to keep their intestines and their teeth healthy.
You can let your rabbit graze in a pen that provides access to grass. Rabbits graze throughout the day, which might make this impractical most of the time.
Your rabbit should always have access to hay indoors. Many rabbits like to nibble while resting or using their litter tray.
Rabbits also need pellets that provide plenty of fiber and little protein. Pellets should be homogeneous, instead of a blend of seeds and dried vegetables, otherwise they may only eat their favorite ingredients instead of eating a balanced diet.
Fruits and vegetables are high in natural sugars and should be fed sparingly. Carrots are high in calcium, which can cause kidney problems if fed in excess. Apples, Romaine lettuce, strawberries and bananas are good fresh food choices.
Where Should Your Easter Bunny Live?
Invest in the largest rabbit cage or hutch you can reasonably afford, even if your bunny is tiny now.
The cage should have plenty of floor space without a floor grate. You can place a litterbox inside, filled with dust-free litter. The rest of the cage can be filled with soft bedding or old towels or blankets.
Rabbits need to spend plenty of free time outside their hutch or cage. Even domesticated breeds can become too timid or aggressive if not handled every day.
Your rabbit can free-roam in a safe room, or even your entire house if they are litter-trained. This is the best way to make sure your rabbit gets enough exercise and socialization.
Fresh water should always be available from a ceramic dish or a bottle; preferably both.
Why House Rabbits Are Great Pets
Though they do need care and attention, rabbits are easier to care for than dogs and cats, not to mention quieter. They can be very affectionate and closely bond with their owners.
Rabbits have individual personalities; some are shy, others are friendlier. They can be trained to perform tricks and use a litter box.
You’ll start to notice signs that your rabbit is happy and confident. A happy rabbit flops on their side and stretches out to relax. They may even lay on their back, exposing their belly: a sure sign your bunny feels safe with you.
A very happy rabbit may zoom around, jumping and twisting in mid-air; that’s called binkying.
Your bunny can learn to recognize your voice, and may become happy to see you whenever you come home.
When properly planned, raising a bunny to your home is a wonderful experience.
Do you have a pet rabbit? Share your experiences in the comments!