With their floppy ears and fluffy tails, bunnies are the third most popular pet in the UK. And due to being historically recognised as symbols of fertility and rebirth, bunnies are associated with Spring and Easter with their popularity as pets soaring during these periods.
Subsequently, leading re-homing organisation Support Adoption For Pets is suspending its re-homing of rabbits over the Easter bank holiday weekend, although it will still accept animals into its care. This preventative measure is being adopted by hundreds of rabbit and animal rescues across the UK to prevent impulsive rehoming.
Amy Wilson, Charity Manager at Support Adoption For Pets, said: “Rabbits are wonderful pets, and we don’t want to discourage people from giving a rabbit a home, but just like we know a dog is not just for Christmas, rabbits aren’t just for Easter.”
Amy added: “We are freezing the adoption of rabbits in all of our adoption centres, over 400 in total, to ensure a rabbit is not re-homed without careful consideration. There is a huge misconception that rabbits are easy to care for and they aren’t. They require as much, if not more care and attention as a dog or cat. Families tend to think carefully before adopting a puppy and this should be the case for choosing to add a rabbit to your family.”
How to look after a rabbit:
To help families make an informed decision about taking on a rabbit, Support Adoption For Pets has highlighted the facts you need to be aware of before you welcome one into your home:
Rabbits need to be neutered, not just for the obvious, but also to lessen the risk of disease and behavioural problems
Rabbits need toys and treats to keep them entertained. When in the wild rabbits have plenty to keep them occupied, such as foraging, so domestic rabbits can lack stimulation, which can lead to behavioural problems and poor health
Rabbits are sociable animals and should be kept in pairs or groups. They need companionship to be content
Rabbits need to be constantly fed. If they aren’t it can prove fatal. Owners must always provide something for the rabbits to nibble
Many re-homing cases are a result of finance issues. Vet bills for rabbits typically cost between £300 to £400 and a rabbit can cost up to £3,000 over its lifetime
Three-quarters of our pet rabbit’s diet needs to be hay or grass but NEVER grass cuttings. Fresh vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and apples make good treats
Many people are unaware of a rabbit’s lifespan. They can live for up to 15 years so they are a long term pet
The hutch and run area needs to be a private covered area so they can hide from predators in gardens. They feel very vulnerable in open spaces
Dental problems are common in rabbits, so check their back and front teeth regularly - especially if they are beginning to lose weight for no apparent reason
Insure your rabbit but check the T&Cs. Vet bills for bunnies can creep into hundreds of pounds so they need insuring. However, due to their dental issues check that your policy doesn’t exclude dental treatment
Support Adoption For Pets is an independent charity established by Pets at Home in 2006, since then it has helped over 1,000 re-homing centres and animal welfare organisations across the UK. In addition to its fundraising work it also runs dedicated adoption centres in nearly all Pets at Home stores.
To find out more about Support Adoption For Pets or to support the charity visit www.supportadoptionforpets.co.uk.