If you’re thinking of getting pet bunnies or if you already have them but are stuck on what to do, this information will carry you a long way towards understanding rabbits. Here’s how you can have much happier bunnies all year round.
Are You Sure You Want Pet Rabbits?
Quick Reminder – Rabbits require a long-term commitment.
If you have your heart set on a pet rabbit, please make sure that you’re ready to take care of rabbits well beforehand. Read extensive guides such as those found on this website and ask other rabbit parents for advice. It’s not as simple or as easy as most people may think.
Also, please don’t buy your rabbit from a pet shop. Always rescue a rabbit rather than buy one. There are thousands that need homes right now.
Pet Shop Rabbits
Many pet shop rabbits are from breeders who have bred their rabbits like crazy in order to stock pet shops with bunnies for Christmas and Easter. Rabbits do not make good gifts!
If they are willing to make a profit from this irresponsible behavior, then they are probably just as likely to be irresponsible in ensuring the health of the animals they are breeding from.
In some cases, rabbits are bred far too young and kept in a constant state of pregnancy, in poor, dirty conditions with little to no exercise or stimulation. The rabbits that end up in pet shops are usually from bad breeding stock, already ill, or are genetically vulnerable.
Note that I am not talking about professional, show rabbit or sanctioned breeders here, just the ones that stock the pet shops, especially during seasons in which rabbits are in popular demand.
When You Think “Rabbit,” Think “Rescue Rabbit”
Rabbits are the third most popular breed of animals kept as pets in the US and also in the UK. It was estimated that in 2014 there were more than 6.7 million rabbits being kept as pets in the US. Unfortunately, more than half of these will find themselves abandoned or surrendered to a rescue center during their lifespan.
The House Rabbit Society and the Humane Society of the United States have collected data over the last 25 years and sadly, this trend doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Christmas and Easter are notorious for seeing large numbers of rabbits purchased and given away as gifts. This trend in the US is even worse in England and Wales. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, reports that rabbits are the most abused domesticated animal.
Surveys conducted in both the US and the UK showed that many rabbits were left in too-small hutches, 24-hours a day, received inadequate food, and lived in filthy conditions. The study also determined that the people mistreating their rabbits simply didn’t understand the responsibilities they were undertaking upon becoming a rabbit caregiver.
The survey found that people buy rabbits from pet shops but they quickly lose interest in taking care of them for long. The majority of rescued bunnies included in the study had been abandoned by their owners after just three months on average. It doesn’t have to be like this! As long as you do a little bit of research first, these statistics can be changed for the better.
Still considering owning a pet rabbit? Please give serious consideration to adopting a needy bunny from a local shelter. Click here to find one closest to where you live.
Pet Bunny Basics
If you have decided to keep rabbits purely for the adorable feeling of having rabbits as pets, rather than breeding them to eat, or to sell to a laboratory test facility, then there are a few things you may like to know.
Our website is full of helpful information to guide you on how to take care of rabbits of any breed, age, or size.