When I was young, I loved my pet rabbits Tibbar (Rabbit spelled backwards) and El Ear-o (Don’t ask me how I came up with that one!) They were so cute with their long ears and twitchy noses. But is getting an Easter bunny for your children this holiday really a good idea? Here are a few things to consider before you make the big decision:
1. Do you have enough space?
A rabbits needs a fairly large hutch or pen. Look around your house and see if you have a good location. Rabbits can live outside, but they need shelter to keep them out of the elements, such as sun, wind, rain and snow. The House Rabbit Society recommends keeping your rabbit inside, where it can be part of the family’s daily activities.
2. Do you have enough time?
Rabbits may not require as much attention as a dog or cat. But you’ll need time to feed and care for the rabbit, including daily play time. Will your children remain enthusiastic…or lose interest after a few weeks?
3. Are your children old enough?
Rabbits are curious and affectionate pets. But they also may be timid and skittish. They don’t always like to be held. Children should be old enough to hold the rabbit gently, and not to squeeze if the rabbit tries to get away. If pulled and prodded, a rabbit might scratch.
4. Who will do the work?
We all know the old scenario--your kids beg for a pet, then you do all the work. Will someone in the family be committed to cleaning the pen? It’s a yucky job, but someone still has to hop to it!
5. Is now the right time?
Do your children get overexcited at Easter? Will everyone from Grampa Joe to Aunt Betsy be visiting? If there’s a lot going on, consider waiting to add a rabbit to your family. Then everyone will be ready for the new responsibility.
Rabbits can make great pets. If you choose to wait, give your child a plush bunny for Easter. Then check with local shelters and rabbit breeders after. Happy Easter!
(Originally posted on Guideposts.com, March 2009)