If you buy an Easter rabbit make sure it’s just a chocolate bunny

The Scottish SPCA is advising people against buying rabbits as Easter gifts for fear of another seasonal surge in abandoned animals.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13th April 2019, 5:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th April 2019, 5:34 pm
Pic Peter Devlin
Balerno Pic Peter Devlin

In what has become a standard annual appeal the charity is trying to stave off a repeat of last year’s crisis, but is already struggling to deal with rabbits which people discarded like broken toys when the initial novelty wore off.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Last year we rescued a staggering 493 pet rabbits across Scotland and this year is proving to be challenging as well, with 116 rabbits already taken in.

“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need, but sadly this isn’t true in all cases.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

“The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom.

“We have come across many cases where rabbits have been left with horrifically overgrown teeth and nails.

“Rabbits need hay to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good condition, as well as regular nail trimming.

“They also need plenty of toys and tunnels to keep them occupied and ideally, rabbits should be bonded with a companion - but where this isn’t possible they’ll need enough human contact to keep them stimulated”.

He added: “Rabbits are highly intelligent and sociable animals who can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.

“People should not buy rabbits on impulse and should make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.

“Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim or as a gift.”

However at the same time he makes the point that a rabbit is an ideal pet for someone able and willing to provide the proper commitment.

He said: “We have many rabbits looking for good, permanent homes where they will receive the care and attention they deserve.

“Anyone thinking of taking on a rabbit is encouraged to get in touch once they have done their research and ensured they have the time, commitment and financial ability to provide these wonderful pets with a happy and healthy life.”