Last April I found myself browsing the pet listing on Craigslist Columbus. With Easter just around the corner, an influx of “baby bunnies! Easter special!” posts were littering the pages, one after the other. I could not help but wonder how many people were lured into the $5 bunny frenzy unprepared.
Unfortunately, over 900 rabbits are surrendered at animal shelters and rescues each year in Central Ohio, according to the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue in Central Ohio, indicating that many aren’t prepared for the responsibility of caring for a rabbit.
It’s easy to get swept up in the big, brown eyes of a rabbit. I get it, I really do. The soft fur, the comically large ears, and those sweet bunny eyelashes. That cute little nose has had me, too, wondering if this is the pet for me. But it is always important to remember taking home a new pet requires planning. Easter season may seem like the perfect time to welcome a rabbit into the house, but holidays are no reason to rush!
At first, a rabbit might seem like an easy option. They are small, cute, and children are drawn to them. Like any animal, however, they have needs that have to be met in order to assure happiness. A baby rabbit is not like a puppy or kitten. Most rabbits do not like to be picked up for long, and they are incredibly fragile, with surprisingly long life spans for an animal their size.
A healthy rabbit can live 10 years and requires regular vet check-ups. Having a bunny is no easier than a cat or dog–it takes commitment to keep the animal happy and healthy. Rabbits have a very particular diet that needs followed, they need space to exercise, and tender care. If you have the time and energy to invest in a bun, they can be a really rewarding pet.
Domestic rabbits have different personalities, just like people, that can develop as they mature. It is important to remember this, and as a friend once put it, having a rabbit is like having a toddler: they get into things, they make a mess, and they can be incredibly cute. Of course, a rabbit will eat its vegetables.
If a rabbit sounds like a good fit, check out the Humane Society’s tips about rabbits. Detailed information on diet, living conditions, and rescues are available.
Remember that a bunny needs space to hop about and run! A small cage is not enough. Consider an exercise pen or bunny-proof rooms, and be ready to devote time to sitting with your bun (most do not like to be carried!) who will reward you with snuggles and trust. A rabbit can be a friend for a decade if you plan right. And with the occasional banana treat, they will love you for eternity!
The Ohio House Rabbit Rescue in Columbus is a good place to start if you are looking for a rabbit to adopt. An older bun’s personality is already established, they may already be potty trained, and they need a good home.
Like any pet, a rabbit requires a time commitment, love, and a lot of care. Always do your research before bringing a new animal into the home, meet the bunny first if at all possible, and be prepared for some buntastic cuddles. – Danika Stahl
Danika Stahl is a Journalism student at the Ohio State University, interested in PR work. She loves all that is local, wholesome, cuddly, and cheesy. In her spare time Danika walks dogs, writes, explores the outdoors, and eats a lot of ice cream.