Images of rabbits seem to hop on to everything from seasonal cards to cakes over Easter – but don’t be tempted to buy a real one.
That’s the plea from animal charity the Scottish SPCA, which says this weekend typically sees too many rabbits bought on a whim, only to be callously abandoned when the novelty has worn off.
The charity is so alarmed at the casual way many people treat rabbit pets that they’ve decided not to rehome any from their local rescue and rehoming centre this weekend,
Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre Superintendent Sharon Comrie said: “Last year we rescued a staggering 668 pet rabbits across Scotland and this year is proving to be challenging as well, with 121 rabbits already taken in.
“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need, but sadly this isn’t true in all cases.”
She added: “The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom.
“We have come across many cases where rabbits have been left with horrifically overgrown teeth and nails. “Rabbits need hay to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good condition, as well as regular nail trimming.
“They also need plenty of toys and tunnels to keep them occupied and ideally, rabbits should be bonded with a companion but where this isn’t possible they’ll need enough human contact to keep them stimulated.
“Rabbits are highly intelligent and sociable animals who can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.
“People should not buy rabbits on impulse and should make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.”
Sharon continued: “Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim. However, you may want to consider sponsoring a space – and give the gift of caring for a number of rabbits in our care by helping to cover the costs of food and vet treatment year round.”
You can find out more about rehoming and sponsoring a space on their website www.scottishspca.org