It’s the time of year when people receive bunnies and chicks as Easter gifts.
But, the Humane Society has a warning for the would-be pet owners who might like to take one home this holiday.
They want to make sure folks do their homework on what kind of care the animals require before they decide to adopt.
Event Coordinator of the Humane Society of West Michigan, Nicole Cook, gave us some tips on the care bunnies need.
First, she said they need to be fed and watered daily by their caretakers.
Cook said they are a long-term pet, much like a dog or cat, rabbits live on average seven to ten years.
Cook said a responsible bunny owner must also take them out of their pen so they can hop around and play.
They also need some type of human interaction and affection although young children may not be the best caretakers for rabbits.
“They want to play, but they`re very fragile and just are a good pet for an older child,” said Cook.
Some rabbits with longer hair may have extra grooming requirements as well.
A rabbit named Fluff Ball with long fur was just returned to the Humane Society by a family after they failed to keep up with brushing the bunny.
Employees at the Humane Society had to shave him because his hair had become so matted from lack of care.
Pet owners who discover that bunnies are not the best pet for their family are also encouraged to surrender the animal to a shelter rather than dumping them.
We spoke with a couple from Grand Rapids who is fostering a dwarf rabbit who was found abandoned in Shawmut Park.
The rabbit was located by someone who had let their dog out for a walk.
Her foster parents now call her Pippa and are hoping to find her a good home.
They said she would have likely starved or been eaten by predators such as cats, dogs or hawks if someone hadn’t found her.
“She was trying to stay warm. It was about a month ago and the temperatures were down into the single digits at night and so she was basically just hiding,” said Anderson. “Sometimes people dump bunnies in parks, thinking that they can just sort of live free, and most of those bunnies end up as food.”
Pippa has since gained weight in Anderson’s care and has been given a clean bill of health by a local vet.
Anderson suspects Pippa was an Easter bunny in 2012.
“She`s probably about a year old, which means she was probably bought as an Easter present last year,” said Anderson.
For those kids who need a furry fix, but don’t want to make the commitment, the Humane Society of West Michigan offers lots of opportunities for interaction.
“Come to our spring break or summer camps because we give kids the option to interact with animals. They get to do crafts. They get the educational piece,” said Cook.
If you are ready to adopt, Cook said employees at the Humane Society will help.
“We make sure we`re setting you up for success,” said Cook.
If you are interested in one of the bunnies featured in the video piece, contact the Humane Society of West Michigan. They are open through Saturday.
Pippa the rabbit is being fostered in a private home.