Bringing home the Easter Bunny
The pet store in our neighborhood has the cutest little bunnies. I'd love to get one or two for our little boy's Easter. Before I do, however, I'd like to know what kind of care and time are involved -- and of course, if rabbits are good pets.
I wish more people would consider what is involved before bringing home "Easter bunnies". Like any animal, they require care and attention - perhaps more than new owners anticipate. Rabbits are entertaining little pets with engaging personalities. They have been favorites since the Middle Ages when they were first domesticated in southwest Europe. They can learn a few tricks, but they are not dogs. They can be trained to use kitty litter but they are not cats. Unlike dogs and cats, pet rabbits are either indoor or outdoor pets. They will not survive as both. So your first decision concerns housing. An outdoor bunny will need a hutch which can be a simple box large enough to let him move around. It should be elevated with a floor that is half solid and half screened. Be sure the screen is fine enough that it won't catch his feet but large enough to let his dropping pass through. The indoor bunny needs a cage or aquarium that also is big enough to let him move around. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits need daily exercise. Just be sure you handle the animal carefully. Its hind legs are strong and he can kick while being held and break his back. Rabbits like to nibble and tend to get fat. Feed them alfalfa, quality pellet food (available at pet stores) and a moderate amount of fresh vegetables. You can leave the food out all day but vegetables should be removed after an hour. You should provide plenty of fresh water daily. A rabbit needs daily brushing and combing. Keep its nails trimmed. Check the teeth regularly because they grow continuously and may need periodic trimming by your veterinarian. Regular checkups are important. Rabbits are prone to ear infections and hairballs. Hutch burn also can be a problem if the cage is not kept clean. Most rabbits live 5-15 years and can grow to 2-12 pounds. While they tolerate cold fairly well, they may get heatstroke when the temperature goes over 80 degrees and humidity over 70 percent.