It's Easter time again and sadly that means trouble for a number of the nation's animal shelters. Every year around this time a large number of adorable little bunnies get dumped at animal shelters because families acquire the critters without realizing what difficult house guests they can be. Kris Best, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society said, "It's a big problem. Rabbits are now the third most common animal to be given up after dogs and cats." So here's a few tips for you parents to think about before getting Junior that cuddly Easter bunny:
- Rabbits don't like to cuddle. They have a self-image problem. Rabbits are prey animals -- eaten by coyotes and other carnivores -- so they survive by hiding from other mammals.
- They are used to being chased so they often don't like cuddling which they interpret as being captured.
- Bunnies start out cute but at about 4 months they become obnoxious teenagers. They lunge, spray urine and chew on things. They must be spayed or neutered.
- Rabbits require meals of fresh vegetables and hay and must have their nails clipped monthly and coats brushed.
- Unlike their low-maintenance pet counterparts such as gerbils or guinea pigs, they can live a long time, often 10 years.
- And if you've just had enough and dump your little bunny in the woods under the Disney-esque impression they will spend their days cavorting with other wild rabbits -- shame on you! In fact, domestic rabbits are a different breed, defenseless against predators. If left outdoors, they will be either eaten or starve to death.
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