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  • Gail Petersen

Are Rabbits Good Holiday Presents?

Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur, Eid, Kwanza, Diwali. None of these holidays are reasons to get a bunny for a loved one.

Imagine if you were unexpectedly given to your parents on Thanksgiving Day. The excitement was surely high initially. Then the long weekend was over. The leftovers were gone. Now all that is left is a crying baby that pees, poops and needs feeding. It was cute at first. Wonderful to hold. Sweet to look at. Soft to touch.


Now What?

Who is going to quit their job to care for this kid and deal with the laundry, regular feedings, doctor visits, dressing, bathing, buying food and medicine…and so on.


Ok. A rabbit is not a human baby. But they are a life. A living, breathing creature that needs attention, exercise, socializing, feeding, veterinarian care, housing, blankets, bowls, litter boxes, beds, toys and time.


A rabbit, cat, dog, bird or other pet is a big commitment. It is not one that your children can fill. A child gets bored and tired of feeding and caring. They go off to school and play with their friends in the afternoon. If your dog needs a walk or rabbit needs exercise, will your child take the necessary time? Will they notice if the animal is sick, limping or changed their eating habits?


A Family Decision

Take a vote.

When you are considering buying a pet, make sure everyone in the family is on board and committed to helping keep this new member in the family for however many years they may live. In the case of a rabbit or large dog, potentially 10-plus years.

It is no different with a bird or a ferret or a rabbit. If either parent don’t want a pet, it’s best to rethink your decision. Both adults in the family will need to participate in the animal’s care.


Specifically, rabbits need observation, attention and exercise. They need to be fed at least twice a day – usually three times. They are sensitive and can easily feel left out and unloved if they are in a closed pen with no interaction with their humans. A rabbit with attention will lick/kiss you, let you pet them, sleep on a bed in your room, be trainable and love their humans. If the humans don’t put the time in, the rabbit will bite, be distant, hide from everyone and likely get ill.


A Holiday Gift

Get some perfume, some clothes or toys. Animals are not toys. They might make a child smile and be temporarily happy, as seen on many Instagram posts. But don’t fall for it. The day after the post is not the same.


Work up to having a pet. With a rabbit, read all the information you can on the internet. House Rabbit Society www.rabbit.org and Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue www.safehavenrr.org have great sites for learning about rabbit care and behavior. See if they fit your family. Your budget. Your ideal of a pet.


Matching You with Bunnies

I’ve had six rabbits that lived with me. I’ve had a few dozen that we rescued and fostered for shorter times. Not all of them were for me. It depends on your personality and theirs.

Lena is a love bug and would sit on her dad’s lap all day if she could. But me, she has a suspicious way with me. It is like love. We find the right people. Buns find the right humans too.

Bri is my girl. She only wants me to touch her. So as a family bun, she wouldn’t be a good choice.




Gigi loves everyone and will sit and be pet by all who are calm and quiet. Just be very gentle. She is handicapped and needs that quiet petting.

Then there is Rocky. He is a tiny guy with a big personality. He’s blind and can’t use his back paws. But he knows what he likes and he’s ok with anyone who holds him but when he isn’t, he puts his teeth on you. He doesn’t bite but lets you know he isn’t happy. It is his only tool to tell you what he wants. It is a good thing – if you understand his bunny psychology.


Happy Holidays

I wish everyone a happy holiday season. Whatever it is.

I encourage you to give gifts that are meaningful and fun. Animals don’t want to be a gift.

They want to be chosen into a forever home.


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