The Easter Bunny is bouncy, fuzzy and lays eggs. Bunnicula, the vampire, vegetable-sucking rabbit, is reserved, misunderstood and has razor sharp fangs. While both of these sets of characteristics are (almost) all true, real rabbits are made up of a complex combination of the two, something that the holiday Easter Bunny character glosses over.
As Easter approaches, Heather Crippen of Red Rabbit Rescue in Creswell cringes at the thought of another holiday season devoted to images of passive, floppy-eared bunnies and the subsequent buying up of baby rabbits to put in kids’ Easter baskets.
“The biggest misconception is that they’re a kids’ pet,” Crippen says. “They’re not appropriate for children really at all. The idea that they’re easy to care for and they don’t take much isn’t true.” Crippen and her daughter run RBRR together, adopting out abandoned rabbits and matching them with homes according to personality. Many rabbits they get in the months after Easter are often 6-12 months old, which Crippen says is the age bracket for those bought as a baby at pet stores for Easter.
Instead, she says, those committed to buying a pet for their kid should skip the Easter Bunny and look for lower-maintenance pets instead.
“Guinea pigs and rats are a great first pet,” Crippen says. “They can tolerate so much more activity and noise level, and they’re easier to hold. They’re less apt to be aggressive or to scratch or bite, and are more interactive since they make noise”
Or, as Sasha Elliott from Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene says: “Chocolate!”
“I think the idea of having a fuzzy, fluffy rabbit is appealing to a lot of people. But I think the level of commitment is something that’s often misunderstood,” says Elliott. “If it’s a fleeting desire, chocolate or a stuffed [toy] rabbit for your kids. And then if you’re really considering adding a rabbit to your family, come talk to us. Do your research, and come out and ask questions.”