If you’re considering an Easter Bunny for the kids this year, read this first!

Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets. They can be litter box trained like cats, they don’t take up much space and they’re cute and cuddly. However, before you run out and buy one for the kids this season, understand what it’s like to be a bunny rabbit parent.

Contrary to what you may think, domestic bunnies are not as low-cost as you might imagine. Initial expense outlays include adoption fees or purchase price, appropriate bunny housing, plenty of bedding, feed supplies as well as food and water dishes. Regular ongoing maintenance costs for a rabbit will likely be higher than a small dog due to their dietary needs. In order to thrive, bunnies need more than rabbit pellets to dine on. A bunny’s main source of nutrition comes from daily hay rations. 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.

Because rabbits are incredibly intelligent and energetic animals, they 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. You will need to bunny proof your home by covering wires, gating off certain areas, and keeping important items far out of reach. They can easily damage furniture, carpet, molding, wires, and anything else in their grasp.

Finally, although rabbits can be affectionate, they’re not as huggable as people expect. Rabbits are prey animals and in general much prefer staying on the ground 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. You’ll also need to be prepared for your domestic bunny to live 7 – 10 years. 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!