With Easter quickly approaching, RSPCA ACT is encouraging people to think twice before they hop down to their nearest pet store and adopt a bunny.
While it is tempting for parents to give in to their kids and purchase a rabbit for them, they need to consider how much responsibility, love and care is required to look after them.
RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson says people often purchase rabbits because of a perception that they are an “easy pet” to look after. That’s not the case.
She says rabbits are comparable to a cat or dog in terms of their intelligence levels, and they require lots of enrichment and interaction as they are very social animals with particular care requirements.
“Rabbits are very rewarding pets to have, but a lot harder to care for in comparison to a goldfish,” Ms Robertson says.
“If people are looking for a pet that they don’t necessarily want to interact with, then a rabbit isn’t the pet for them.”
Ms Robertson says the RSPCA has had 54 rabbits in its care from July 2021 to March 2022, with four of them being reclaimed as people sadly gave them up.
The most common reasons people surrender their rabbits is due to failing to desex their rabbits, resulting in lots of unwanted bunnies, or behavioural issues.
“When you don’t invest in their formation years, and if they don’t get the enrichment they need, there will be some behaviour that’s not necessarily desirable,” Ms Robertson says.
The RSPCA prefers to have conversations with people interested in buying or adopting their pets, to help them better understand the needs of rabbits.
“We spend time trying to understand what people are looking for in a pet so we can make the right decisions for adoptions,” Ms Robertson says.
“A lot of times you find animals being given away on social media which is problematic and there isn’t a week that goes by without me seeing people on noticeboards or community pages wanting to give away animals, it’s just heart-breaking.
“Those people don’t apply sufficient time and effort into making sure they are going to the right home.”
Ms Robertson is encouraging people to do their research prior to buying or adopting rabbits and to be prepared to take on all the responsibility that comes with it.
“You can train them but they do need particular care, so people need to make sure they can accommodate their housing requirements, they have the time to look after them, groom and manage their healthcare and feeding requirements,” she says.
Some of the pros of buying a rabbit this Easter include that they don’t bark and are a very quiet animal, they don’t smell and keep themselves very clean and they are a very playful.
“It is so therapeutic to have a rabbit sit in your lap while you stroke it, and so good for your mental health too,” she says.
“Rabbits can be incredibly rewarding pets, they are social, intelligent and loving.”
Canberra solar company Mondiaux Solar is a supporter of RSPCA ACT, donating a portion of funds from each of their solar PV systems sold over the past 12 months. As part of a special Easter campaign, Mondiaux Solar is covering the cost of running and maintaining the RSPCA ACT’s rabbit enclosure for the next four months.
Ms Robertson says RSPCA ACT is appreciative of Mondiaux Solar’s support, as it “gives the RSPCA ACT that little bit of extra help to make sure the rabbits have food, bedding and extra enrichment”.
Mondiaux Solar general manager Howard Lian says they want to help the RSPCA ACT provide a sanctuary for homeless animals.
“Other than donating from every sale, we want to keep contributing to RSPCA ACT because we believe in their cause,” Howard says.
“We want to give a better life to our beautiful animals who have a very little voice to take a stand for themselves.
“Mondiaux Solar believes, together with the RSPCA, they can make the environment a better place to live in.”