As Easter approaches, the BC SPCA is reminding the public that it is better to give chocolate bunnies as gifts, rather than real rabbits.
Each year, SPCA branches across the province receive dozens of abandoned rabbits after the Easter holiday has passed and the excitement of a new pet has worn off, and the reality of pet care sets in.
Rabbits abandoned when ‘newness’ wears off
“The animals turned in to SPCA shelters are the fortunate ones,” says Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA general manager, community relations. “Many others are simply abandoned in the wild to fend for themselves, and these domesticated rabbits often fall prey to predators such as coyotes, are susceptible to disease, or end up starving to death.”
Overpopulation can be problematic
Alternatively, if there are no predators, the rabbits may flourish and upset the balance of nature by multiplying into a serious overpopulation problem. Rabbits can live more than 12 years, Chortyk notes, and people who are prepared and willing to make a commitment to a pet rabbit or rabbits should learn about what caring for this unique animal entails.
“We encourage people to be fully aware of what caring for a rabbit involves (PDF) before they adopt any bunny as a pet,” Chortyk says.