RABBITS ARE NOT EASY PETS FOR CHILDREN!
Parents often write in to us to adopt a rabbit for their young children (below 6). While we understand their intention to inculcate love towards animals, we are unsure if they are fully aware of their commitment. In fact, many of our surrender requests are initiated by parents who realized the overwhelming responsibilities and asked us to ‘take away their rabbits’. This can turn into a frustrating situation when a once-good intention had instead, turned into a regretful decision.
Today, we will like to share with you 5 FACTS about rabbits and we hope these can help parents to be more well prepared before committing to a pet rabbit.
1. RABBITS ARE NOT CUDDLY
Many parents want to adopt a fluffy rabbit to company their child through bedtime. This is actually quite an impossible feat as most rabbits do not stay still to be cuddled. Instead, your child might just wake up crying because the rabbit peed on her favorite doll. Even for experienced rabbit owners, carrying them can be challenging because of their scratchy nails and strong kicks. Hence, it’s utterly unrealistic to assume a young child with shorter arms and smaller hands can handle a rabbit comfortably.
2. RABBIT SHEDS, ALOT
Unlike a toy rabbit, our real rabbits changes fur every few months. As these animals are not native to Singapore, their shedding is especially severe and are known to have caused allergy reactions to young children. In fact, many parents blamed ‘shedding & allergies’ as their number 1 reason for surrendering their rabbits. While we understand that all parents should prioritize their children’s health, it’s just not nice to give away their furry children just because of something they naturally do. They are innocent too!
3. RABBITS KEEP YOU VERY BUSY
It’s truly a misconception to assume that rabbits are caged pets that only require a daily carrot and a weekly cleaning. In fact, a rabbit is like a 2 yo toddler in terms of how much patience and attention it needs. To introduce your rabbit to the new home, you will need to spend time toilet-training it, bunny-proofing your house so ‘chewable’ items are out of reach, feed them twice a day, clean their ‘toilet’ and monitor their poo daily for healthy gut. Just like a child, rabbit needs toys to stay stimulated and if they are sick, they require medical checkups from specialized vets. So, if you are a busy parent, are you ready for another ‘toddler’ in the house?
4. RABBITS ARE ALWAYS NERVOUS
Rabbits are quiet animals and naturally thrive in a peaceful and calm environment. While some books may generalize lops or larger breed rabbits to be more friendly, most rabbit owners will be quick to dismiss this ‘myth’. Some parents may then decide to buy a young rabbit since they are more adaptable. But again, this is not always easy as young rabbits can be even more excitable, energetic and this can turn into aggression when not properly handled as they enter adolenscene (>6 months). So unless a parents can create such environment for their new furry babies, it may not be wise to assume that a peace-loving rabbit will enjoy a screaming toddler.
5. RABBIT CARE IS NOT CHEAP
While a trust fund is not necessary for a rabbit, they do require some expenses that should be planned carefully between parents. The startup cost for housing and accessories are relatively cheap (<$100) and their monthly food bill maybe managable at $80-100/rabbit. However, it’s the medical cost such as sterilization and vet reviews that may take you by surprise. This is because all Singapore vets are ‘private clinics’ and rabbit-savvy vets are likely more expensive to engage. While a regular checkup can range from $50-100, a medical surgery can be as high as $5000! So, we hope parents can think through these financial responsibilities so you are not faced with the dilemma of ‘to treat or not to treat’ in front of your children.
These facts may be brutally honest and sound like we are discouraging parents to adopt rabbits as pets. But we strongly believe that all parents should have this thought process before they commit to a rabbit that can live up to 10 years old. The decision to acquire a pet is especially important for an impressionable child and it can have a significant impact to how they treat animals in the future. Hence, we hope that all parents can make the best decision to instill the correct sense of responsibility and inculcate the right values so we can cultivate a more animal-friendly future.
For more readings, we highly recommend these articles:
http://rabbit.org/are-rabbits-good-pets-for-children/ (Howcast video)