Bunnies are such interesting and adorable animals. They’re fluffy, energetic, playful, and curious. Many people think that buying a bunny would be a great way to have one in their life, but they don’t really consider where the rabbits at pet stores come from or all the time and responsibility that goes into caring for one. These 10 reasons are why you should NEVER buy a rabbit:
1. Bunnies suffer when people buy them.
Most people buy bunnies from pet stores and breeders, but these places don’t often treat them well. There aren’t many laws in place to protect rabbits, so the ones you see for sale might have suffered before they got to the pet store.
2. Baby bunnies need their moms.
Pet stores and bunny dealers often buy rabbits when they’re only 4 weeks old, because they’re small and people think they look so cute when they’re little. However, bunnies that young shouldn’t be away from their moms. Can you imagine being taken away from your mom as a baby and sold to a stranger?! Pet stores are miserable places for animals, and if you buy from them, you’re supporting a cruel business that treats animals like products—not like the individuals they are.
3. Rabbits are fragile.
Bunnies are “prey animals,” so they get scared when they’re picked up. Because their bones are delicate, they can get hurt and even break their own back when kicking to get away.
Never pick up a bunny unless you really need to, and if you do, get help from your grown-up.
4. A bunny is a big commitment.
Caring for a bunny is a lot of work, and many people don’t realize just how hard it can be. Rabbits can grow up to be large—meaning they need a lot of space to jump around and explore! They also need certain foods, like fresh vegetables and special hay all the time to make sure their body works properly. They shouldn’t be left alone for long, and their living environment needs to be cleaned frequently. Bunnies can live for more than 10 years, and they need lots of care and attention every single day.
5. Rabbits can easily get sick.
Bunnies are very sensitive animals, so any small change can make them sick or even kill them. Signs of a sick bunny include a runny nose, tilting their head to the side, not moving around much, diarrhea, sneezing, lack of appetite, tooth grinding, drooling, and constipation. If rabbits have spots or scabs on their bodies, it might mean that they have fleas or mites on their skin. Since they’re so delicate, bunnies can die very quickly if they get sick, so those who seem sick should be taken to a veterinarian right away.
6. Finding a veterinarian who specializes in rabbits can be hard.
It can be hard to find a veterinarian who knows all about bunnies. Many people have cats or dogs, but veterinarians often don’t have experience in treating other animals, like rabbits. It’s important that you and your family find one who can care for a bunny so yours can get the treatment they need.
7. Rabbits need a lot of attention.
Rabbits are very social animals with a lot of personality. Many people don’t understand that they need just as much attention as dogs and cats do—they can’t be left in a cage all alone. If they don’t get enough love and companionship, they’ll get depressed. Bunnies also often have a better life if they have another rabbit they can bond with. If you have one bunny, consider getting another and carefully introduce them so they can have a partner.
8. Rabbits get bored quickly—and you might, too.
Once the excitement of having a new bunny wears off, many are neglected, ignored, or abandoned. Sometimes they’re left at animal shelters. Other times, their humans may put them outside in cages or dump them outside, where they won’t survive very long.
9. Bunnies should not be kept outdoors.
Some people don’t know this, so they leave their rabbits outside in cages, even in bad weather. Bunnies can easily be attacked by another animal or even get taken. Many suffer and die all alone when they’re left outside. Since it’s cruel to keep animals in cages, every rabbit should be allowed to live indoors and have the run of the (bunny-proofed) house. After all, they’re part of the family, too!
10. Grooming is very important.
Rabbits are naturally very clean and groom themselves, but unlike cats, they can’t cough up hairballs, so they have to be brushed at least once a week. Bunnies should never be bathed, because damp rabbits can catch pneumonia.
Where can I get a bunny from?
If you feel like you’re really ready for a lifelong commitment, you and your family might be wondering how to adopt a bunny. The best way to bring a bunny into your lives is to adopt one from your local animal shelter or visit Petfinder.com to see all the bunnies who need homes. NEVER buy a bunny from a pet store or breeder. And consider adopting two! Many shelters and foster facilities have bunnies who are bonded pairs and can’t be split up, and this way, they’ll have a partner for life.
Here are some questions you may have about caring for adopted bunnies—and our answers:
Should I have my bunny spayed or neutered?
It’s very important to have bunnies spayed or neutered immediately. They’ll have longer, healthier lives, because they’ll be much less likely to die of diseases like cancer, and they’re easy to litterbox train once they’ve been “fixed.” Plus, rabbits are the third most common animals found at shelters, just behind cats and dogs. So many of them need a loving home that it’s just wrong to bring more into the world.
How can I rabbit-proof my house?
Bunnies are natural chewers, so your family should cover all wires and anything else within reach inside your home that they might want to gnaw on. It’s also important to litterbox train your new friends by filling a low plastic bin with litter for small animals and putting some hay on top. Also, put some rabbit droppings in the box to let them know that this is the place to do their business. Have lots of toys ready! Bunnies love untreated wood, wire cat balls, paper towel rolls, and cardboard boxes.