The House Rabbit Society is strongly urging parents not to buy their children live "Easter bunnies" unless they are willing to make a 10-year commitment to properly care for the animals.
Each year, thousands of baby rabbits, chicks and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts only to be abandoned or left at shelters in the days, weeks and months that follow Easter.
Margo DeMello, president of HRS, encourages rabbit lovers to support the "Make Mine Chocolate" campaign created by the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of HRS.
Most children want a companion they can hold, carry and cuddle, but rabbits are fragile, ground-loving creatures who break easily when dropped, the group explains.
Additionally, rabbits are easily frightened by loud noises.
Here are some points for families to consider:
--Bunnies need a roomy indoor cage that is approximately four times the size of the adult rabbit and does not have a wire bottom.
--Rabbits need plenty of exercise and should be allowed outside the cage at least 30 hours per week.
--Rabbits should never be left outdoors unsupervised.
--Once spayed or neutered, rabbits will use litterboxes that are place in one corner of the cage.
--Bunnies need fresh water, unlimited fresh, grass hay, 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables, and a small serving ( 1/4 cup per 5 pounds of rabbit weight) of plain rabbit pellets each day.