Easter and Bunnies

Easter and Bunnies, two things that go great together…or do they?

Avoid impulse buying of Easter bunnies.  If you’re thinking about getting a cute bunny for your kids this Easter,  House Rabbit Resource Network asks you to  “Think twice.”

“Most rabbits bought on impulse die early because their owners don’t understand how to care for them,” said Theresa Ransom-Nelson, House Rabbit Resource Network founder. “As house rabbit owners, we think that’s a shame–they’re intelligent animals who deserve better.”

What about the bunnies who survive? “They grow up. Young rabbits go through a rebellious adolescent stage. When they start to nip, spray or dig up the carpet, people don’t know why, or how to get them to stop,” she said. Many people don’t realize that rabbits can be spayed or neutered, which improves their behavior.

When the kids get tired of the bunnies, and they aren’t so cute anymore, people often kill them, turn them loose or neglect them in an outdoor hutch. Even rabbits that make it to an animal shelter face a bleak future.

“We want to decrease the flood of abandoned rabbits during the months after Easter. We hate to see rabbits euthanized because there’s no room at the shelter and we can’t find adopters for them,” Ransom-Nelson said. “Children who get Easter bunnies often learn irresponsible pet ownership habits, and we’d also like to prevent that,” she added.

The House Rabbit Resource Network is a non-profit volunteer organization founded in 1993.  We seek to educate people on how to responsibly care for rabbits, and we provide a network of contacts for current and prospective rabbit owners. HRRN  finds adopters for rabbits rescued from the Austin Animal Center and the Williamson County Humane Society in Round Rock.   We do not accept animals from the public.

House Rabbit Resource Network has placed thousands of homeless rabbits in adoptive homes over the years. The House Rabbit Resource Network hotline number is 512/444-3277 (that’s 444-EARS).  You can also email us to ask about available rabbits (see the Contact Us page)

HRRN has a shelter where potential adopters can meet a variety of rabbits and learn more about their care.   These rabbits are already spayed and neutered,  which saves the adopter money in vet bills.  They are also evaluated for personality to help make the best match with a prospective adopter.  HRRN volunteers agree that keeping a rabbit in your house is more complicated than most people think—but it’s more rewarding, too.

If you decide to make the commitment to responsible rabbit ownership, please call us.  We have almost 200 rabbits waiting for adoption by the right person. We also supply information, reasonable priced supplies,  and support for pet rabbit owners, whether experienced or new.

Rabbit Realities
Rabbits don’t usually make good pets for young children. Most don’t like to be picked up. Many will also nip or scratch in fear if clumsily handled.
A properly cared-for rabbit can live up to 12 years. Many pet rabbits die young from conditions that can easily be prevented or treated.
A rabbit left alone most of the time will become withdrawn and may even fall ill. If no humans are in your home most of the day, a compatible cat or dog may keep your rabbit company. If the rabbit will be alone all day, you should consider getting two rabbits—or a less social pet.
Rabbits don’t automatically accept other rabbits. They have a complex social order; they must be carefully introduced and compatibility determined over time.   Fatal injuries can result from poorly supervised “introductions”. Even two neutered males fight. Females are often hostile to one another as well. The best bet for harmony is a neutered male and a spayed female that form a mated pair bond—without the offspring, of course.
Rabbits make fun house pets if you “bunny-proof” your home. Rabbits naturally chew and dig, but these inclinations can be managed. Rabbits become passive if they spend all their time in a cage. They have to explore and play to develop their intelligence and personalities. They need exercise to maintain good health and spirits.
Rabbits can be litter-trained, but not with the same methods as other animals. Rabbits have instincts different from cats and dogs, and respond to different training methods.
Rabbits aren’t rodents. They used to be classified as such, but taxonomists now separate them into Order Lagomorpha— “hare-shaped,” in Greek-along with hares and pikas. One of the many characteristics that distinguish lagomorphs from rodents is their furry feet.

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