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Easter Bunny Surprise? Unexpected Long-term Household Guests

April 22, 2011

BOISE, Idaho – They're cute, they're cuddly...and they may not be the best choice for a pet for young children. Baby rabbits are often offered as gifts at Easter, but buying one shouldn't be done on impulse, according to Mary Huey at Rabbit Advocates, which shelters and finds homes for abandoned bunnies.

"If you're going to do it right, you're going to let them have exercise. You have to rabbit-proof your electrical cords, be sure they don't have access to your valuable furniture - because they can chew."

Huey cautions that within a few months, an adorable baby rabbit hits puberty. In her words, that's when the "real rabbit" emerges – and there can be issues with aggression if the animal isn't spayed or neutered promptly. And, keep in mind that rabbits live for about ten years.

"Talk it over as a family - is this something that we think we can do a good job with and, you know, that will be with us for quite a while? It also can be expensive, financially, if there's any medical issues."

Rabbits can be kept outdoors in special cages and pens. For those who are serious about adding a rabbit as a pet, 4-H divisions in each Idaho county have small animal programs for youth to provide guidance and education.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID