by Vicki Anderholt
Stores almost always get baby bunnies from breeders who have had more than they know what to do with several weeks before they should be taken away from the mothers (because they should still be breastfeeding).
Why do they do this? Because for the first six weeks, the babies are docile and easy to hold, super soft and sleepy.
In three more weeks, however, adolescence starts,the hormones come in, and the sweet baby that anyone can hold and carry around, turns into an adolescence that is ornery and sometimes nippy.
The stores would not be able to sell them at this point, so they sell them when they are just a few weeks old. Older bunnies can bite, be moody, not like you and spray urine everywhere, including on you (which is a compliment from the bunny; gross for you).
If you truly want a rabbit as a pet, please do some research on websites such as www.bunnygroomer.com and www.rabbit.org)
Rabbits can be delightfully enchanting pets, but they require some control and work. They are as smart as any dog or cat and can learn to be litter box trained relatively easily. They can learn tricks, too.
It’s important to know they are not unconditional lovers like a dog but they are not as aloof as a cat. They are friendly and very social and do not like to live or be alone.
Rabbits are conditional lovers. They give what they get! Give them good fair treatment, and they will give it back. Love them and they’ll love you back. Respect them and they respect you. Ignore them or leave them alone and they’ll take it personally and turn their back on you.
When you get sick and tired of the smelly litterbox and spraying, you will take them to be neutered or spayed and it will cost you between 300 and 600 dollars.
No one wants to put out that much money for a bunny so they end up not fixing them. This means the females will often die early of uterine cancer and the boys by a just slightly less percentage of testicular cancer.Or the girls will get pregnant and have more unwanted babies that will flood the market.
Rabbits are considered “exotics” by vets and are therefore more expensive medically! Plus your rabbit will almost certainly already be fixed if you get it at a rescue. Rescues never adopt out unfixed rabbits. Remember, the more bunnies people adopt from rescues, the more the rescues can go and save them from out of shelters and from people who no longer want them.
Be smart this Easter; buy chocolate bunnies as gifts.
Still interested? Adopt a bunny at about two years old, and you’ll get a one past the hormonal stage and possibly a much more friendly one at that.
Vicki Anderholt is a Calabasas-based bunny groomer who rescues and fosters rabbits for adoption.