Easter is coming, and some parents may think a pet rabbit will make a fun gift for children. Rabbits do make wonderful indoor pets because they can be litter box trained just like cats! However, before you make the commitment, learn the truth of what it’s like to be a bunny rabbit parent.

Bunnies aren’t cheap

Contrary to popular belief, domestic bunnies are not low-cost pets. Initial expense outlays include adoption fees or purchase price, food and water dishes, housing and bedding, which can quickly add up to over $300. Ongoing costs, (excluding vet bills), can top over $800/year. In many cases this is more than what you might spend on cats or small dogs.

Bunnies have special dietary needs

The high maintenance costs for rabbits is in large part due to their dietary needs.  Most people assume bunnies can live happily eating rabbit pellets every day.  However, the reality is a bunny’s main source of nutrition should come from hay.  Hay needs to be available to them at ALL times.  Just like with horses, hay is fundamental to a bunny’s digestive and dental health. Their hay also needs to be supplemented with a daily ration of fresh vegetables in order to meet their nutritional needs.  Produce such as a variety of lettuces, dandelion greens, and fresh herbs increase the annual cost to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Bunnies are busy

Rabbits are not low maintenance pets.  They are incredibly intelligent and energetic animals. Rabbits require social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities on a daily basis. They have a never-ending desire to chew which they don’t grow out of!  They can easily damage furniture, carpet, molding, wires, and anything else in their grasp.  You will need to bunny-proof your home by covering wires, gating off certain areas, and keeping important items far out of reach.

Finally, although rabbits can be affectionate, they’re not as cuddly as people imagine. Rabbits are prey animals and much prefer staying on the ground rather than being held in your arms. This may be very disappointing to children who want a cuddly pet.

So, while rabbits are adorable and fun domestic pets, they do require a lot of care and patience.  Rabbits are unique; they are a good fit for some households but not for others. Be sure to do your homework before you purchase Peter Cottontail this holiday!

“Animals are such agreeable friends; they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” George Eliot