Rabbits breed like, well, rabbits. Often, people buy two rabbits from a pet shop and are assured that they have been sold two females or two males, but then a litter of bunnies appears and it becomes apparent that either something miraculous has occurred or the pet shop has been less than careful in its sexing processes.
Those litters of bunnies have to be rehomed, but often owners do not want the hassle or cannot afford the time. Those bunnies end up in the care of animal charities where they are neutered or spayed and await adoption.
There are two messages here. One, do not buy your rabbits from pet shops: you do not know what you are buying. Sometimes, rabbits bought from pet shops (even large chains) are discovered to have untreated broken bones or illnesses. If that is the case with your rabbit, you would be faced with huge vet bills and possibly having to have your rabbit put to sleep. Given that most people buy rabbits as pets for their children, this can be a very distressing event.
Two, if you do have a rabbit, have it spayed or neutered. It will usually make your rabbit calmer and more cuddly anyway, and will certainly stop any unwanted pregnancies taking you by surprise. So many rabbits end up with animal charities such as the RSPCA and relatively few people think of adoption when considering getting a rabbit. Yet adoption reduces the demand for new rabbits at pet shops, which in turn discourages breeding for sale. Fewer rabbits on the market will help to even up the numbers of rabbits and owners and mean that fewer rabbits will end up abandoned or in shelters.
Rabbits make wonderful pets but they are often sold cheaply. Buying a cheap pet can mean that people are less willing to spend a lot of money on vets’ bills. Rabbits are prey animals and often do not show signs of illness until they are really poorly, by which time the treatment they need is extensive and very expensive. Buying pet insurance for your rabbit can reduce the worry you might have about the cost of its treatment and enable you to afford to have your rabbit made well again rather than having to have it put to sleep, or be given to an animal charity for rehoming.
So consider adoption if you are thinking of bringing home a rabbit – a rabbit adoption from the RSPCA will already have been spayed or neutered and will make a wonderful pet.
This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).