They’re small, cute and easy to look after, but keeping a rabbit healthy and happy is still a big responsibility.
Sadly, Britain’s third most popular pet is also one of the most neglected, according to the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund. The charity believes that rabbits’ needs are widely misunderstood. Children may not have enough knowledge to care for them properly, the charity says, and will need help from adults.
“Every year in the UK around thirty-five thousand rabbits are handed into rescue centres simply because people are not aware of the commitment they are making, or the care their pet needs to keep it happy and healthy,” Lucy Ross, Head of Training at Ethical Retailer Pets Corner, said.
“Rabbits need plenty of space, such as a spacious and secure run, so they can get the necessary exercise. A hutch is simply not enough. Many people underestimate this as they see rabbits as small animals and therefore think that they need less space.
“They are also sociable creatures, and like fellow bunny company. They should be housed together rather than alone, otherwise there is a real danger they will become lonely and depressed. This means you will be making double the commitment to care for two animals, so you should not only consider space but also the financial investment involved.
“As rabbits have a life expectancy of up to fifteen years, owning one is a long-term commitment and should be considered very carefully.”
- Rabbits make great pets for teenagers and adults.
- They are intelligent, and house-rabbits can be litter-trained.
- Although they look cuddly, most rabbits don’t enjoy being picked up.
- A happy rabbit will perform “binkies” – high-speed jumps for joy.
- There are many rabbits in rescue centres in need of good homes
Rabbit Awareness Week
Rabbit Awareness Week takes place from June 1-9.
This year’s campaign is raising awareness around Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (RVHD2). RVHD2 is a new variant of RVHD1 and is often fatal.
Many UK rabbits are at risk as they are not vaccinated against this disease. The campaign is encouraging owners to vaccinate their pets against this and other fatal diseases.
Pets have always been important to us. That’s why we published our first ever “Pets” page all the way back in 1881! Take a look at it here.