(WKBN) – Experts say buying your child a bunny for Easter is not a good idea.
Rabbits can be great pets if you’re prepared for the amount of work they require, but they’re not easy to take care of.
Every year, experts say thousands of rabbits are bought around this time but most don’t stay in that home.
Raising bunnies dates as far back as the Romans.
People have been keeping them as pets since the 1800s — perhaps even before that, but this is when it became popular.
Domesticated rabbits descended from European breeds, and no longer have a fight or flight instinct. They don’t know how to burrow or forage for food the way a wild rabbit does.
Many Easter rabbits are abandoned at shelters, which are overburdened with them in the weeks and months after the holiday. Many are left, ultimately, to die outside from exposure, starvation or by becoming a predator’s meal.
Rabbits require special veterinary care. They have highly specific diets — you should only feed a rabbit a carrot as a treat.
They can poop 300 times a day. They can spray like male cats up to six feet, and they smell unless they’re spayed or neutered.
Bunnies are social animals and do better in pairs.
Because of the work they require, PETA says four out of five of the rabbits are abandoned or die within their first year.
“They can scratch, they can bite. If you buy one and it’s not already spayed or neutered, they can be very hormonal. Females can ‘box,'” said Sassy Picard, with F5RS Rescue Sanctuary.
Female rabbits have been known to fight and it really does look like boxing. They stand on their hind legs and swat their paws.
Advocates are asking the public to switch to a chocolate or stuffed bunny instead.
“I belong to an organization called Make Mine Chocolate and suggest alternatives to living creatures,” Picard said.
If you are ready for the responsibility of a rabbit, they can make great pets. We talked to rabbit owners, who said they love their animals but warned they’re a lot of work.