Easter bunnies need care | TheUnion.com

Easter bunnies need care

For many children, their dreams of owning a real Easter bunny may come true Sunday.

Unlike the proverbial jolly rabbit who secretly leaves goodies for the kiddies, the ball of fur awaiting Junior is a real commitment, say local pet stores and animal activists.

If you’re going to buy a bunny, there are a few things you should know.

Rabbits, once you know the basics, can be easy to own, said Geri Ott, a Greenhorn-area owner of velveteen rabbits.

“You don’t discipline them or own them the way you would a dog,” she said.

Rabbits, much like cats, can be litter-box trained and can even be taught to be walked on a leash like their canine friends.

But that’s where the similarities end, Ott said.

If washed, a rabbit’s fur must immediately be dried, because they’re highly susceptible to pneumonia. They mustn’t be kept too warm, she said, because they can’t sweat.

But if you want to feed them an occasional carrot, that’s perfectly fine, said Ott, who’s selling several litters of about 30 rabbits for Easter and has been selling the animals for over a quarter century.

Before purchasing rabbits, there is much to be done to a home, according to the House Rabbit Society, a national nonprofit that aims to educate the public on rabbits as pets.

A few tips:

— Keep electrical cords out of a rabbit’s reach, which includes wrapping the cords in electrical tape.

— Hang plants from the ceiling.

— Keep wooden material on furniture away from a rabbit’s reach by placing small boards in front of the furniture.

The society has a Web site that also encourages spaying or neutering rabbits to keep them from roaming.

The Pet Mine in Grass Valley sells instruction booklets and proper feed and cage material, said clerk Susan Perry. In addition to alfalfa pellets for their feed, rabbits also need recycled newspaper for their cages, vitamin supplements and salt pellets for the summer months.

“They can be good pets, but you have to be willing to take care of them,” she said.

Placer County SPCA Executive Director Veronica Blake said many children and adults mistakenly believe because they are docile, rabbits are easily maintained.

And unlike Easter Sunday, which to many children lasts only as long as the chocolate eggs in their baskets do, rabbits can live seven to 10 years.

“Rabbits can go a long way in teaching children responsibility,” Ott said, “if you take care of them.”

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