Bunny Love

Posted by Pia

In my quest to learn more about bunnies, I had the good fortune to speak with Cindy Stutts, an educator for the House Rabbit Society, and bunny parent herself. Not only did she offer invaluable advice for anyone considering getting a bunny but she also has these lovable buns available for adoption. See the end of the blog for adoption info.

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Bunnies can make great pets and can be a better fit for some households than another type of animal. Bun-Bun and Suzy here are the perfect bonded pair for a loving household. These girls are litter-box trained and love to play with their toys.

1 Bunnies can make great pets and can be a better fit for some households than another type of animal. Bun-Bun and Suzy here are the perfect bonded pair for a loving household. These girls are litter-box trained and love to play with their toys.

Rabbits tend to trigger fewer allergies, are fastidiously clean and, like cats, they groom themselves. They can easily be trained to use a litter box and do not require daily walks. Madonna here is a very active and curious girl who likes lots of attention!

2 Rabbits tend to trigger fewer allergies, are fastidiously clean and, like cats, they groom themselves. They can easily be trained to use a litter box and do not require daily walks. Madonna here is a very active and curious girl who likes lots of attention!

Once comfortable, companion bunnies can be as gregarious as a dog, each possessing their own unique personality and set of antics. Both playful and polite, Bella, above, loves having her forehead scratched and her cheeks caressed. She would do well in a stable home with kind, sane people and another bunny or two.

3 Once comfortable, companion bunnies can be as gregarious as a dog, each possessing their own unique personality and set of antics. Both playful and polite, Bella, above, loves having her forehead scratched and her cheeks caressed. She would do well in a stable home with kind, sane people and another bunny or two.

Companion bunnies give frequent kisses, eat from your hand and can learn tricks.Milkyway, above, is small now, but when he’s grown, he will be a big bunny!! Very active and spry, he will need a lot of room to exercise his twinkle toes. He would benefit from having a partner bunny.

4 Companion bunnies give frequent kisses, eat from your hand and can learn tricks.Milkyway, above, is small now, but when he’s grown, he will be a big bunny!! Very active and spry, he will need a lot of room to exercise his twinkle toes. He would benefit from having a partner bunny.

Bunnies quickly recognize their own names and are vegetarian, so even more animals are spared by way of their plant-based diet! Elegant and gentle Ms Onyx, above, was found outdoors, so it’s no wonder she’s rather shy. She needs a protective, loving home where she can feel safe. It will be a joy for the right adopter to watch her come out of her shell and enjoy her new environment.

5 Bunnies quickly recognize their own names and are vegetarian, so even more animals are spared by way of their plant-based diet! Elegant and gentle Ms Onyx, above, was found outdoors, so it’s no wonder she’s rather shy. She needs a protective, loving home where she can feel safe. It will be a joy for the right adopter to watch her come out of her shell and enjoy her new environment.

One huge misconception that people have is that bunnies belong in a hutch outdoors. According to Cindy Stutts this is in fact the total opposite of what bunny educators recommend. It is akin to living in solitary confinement and often elicits fear. Nonna, above, is a confident bunny who will make every effort to let you know exactly what she wants.

6 One huge misconception that people have is that bunnies belong in a hutch outdoors. According to Cindy Stutts this is in fact the total opposite of what bunny educators recommend. It is akin to living in solitary confinement and often elicits fear. Nonna, above, is a confident bunny who will make every effort to let you know exactly what she wants.

Bunnies should live indoors and be doted on like other family companion animals. Sweet mini lop Madeline is spayed and ready to hop into a permanent loving home.

7 Bunnies should live indoors and be doted on like other family companion animals. Sweet mini lop Madeline is spayed and ready to hop into a permanent loving home.

Rabbits often do best in bonded pairs. There are some great opportunities that rescue groups offer to either help you get a proper friend for a bunny you already have or to adopt 2 or 3 together. Billy Jo and Shirley are a bonded young pair of sisters. They can play for hours, stopping periodically to groom and kiss each other. They must be adopted as a pair.

8 Rabbits often do best in bonded pairs. There are some great opportunities that rescue groups offer to either help you get a proper friend for a bunny you already have or to adopt 2 or 3 together. Billy Jo and Shirley are a bonded young pair of sisters. They can play for hours, stopping periodically to groom and kiss each other. They must be adopted as a pair.

Cindy mentioned that she often hosts bunny 'Speed Dating' events in which people can bring their bunny companion in to meet adoptable others and hopefully make a love connection! Coco Latte is a young male mini lop just waiting for his forever home!

9 Cindy mentioned that she often hosts bunny 'Speed Dating' events in which people can bring their bunny companion in to meet adoptable others and hopefully make a love connection! Coco Latte is a young male mini lop just waiting for his forever home!

Cindy also offers the useful advice that a parent must view getting a bunny for their child as if they are adopting the rabbit themselves. They are ultimately responsible for assuring the animal’s proper care. Amber is a young purebred female bun sure to make her lucky adopter proud!

10 Cindy also offers the useful advice that a parent must view getting a bunny for their child as if they are adopting the rabbit themselves. They are ultimately responsible for assuring the animal’s proper care. Amber is a young purebred female bun sure to make her lucky adopter proud!

If you are set on getting a bunny this Easter, adopting from a shelter or rescue is by far the best choice. Rescues typically provide the support, education and guidance needed to assure a successful match. Jazmin is a a spayed adult female mini lop mix. She is house trained and would do best with in a patient quiet home.

11 If you are set on getting a bunny this Easter, adopting from a shelter or rescue is by far the best choice. Rescues typically provide the support, education and guidance needed to assure a successful match. Jazmin is a a spayed adult female mini lop mix. She is house trained and would do best with in a patient quiet home.

Mia was found at a gas station in the Bronx. This amiable, sweet-tempered girl will win over anyone who meets her. She enjoys affection immensely, and needs a home where she can get a lot of gentle attention from her people and/or from a partner bunny.

12 Mia was found at a gas station in the Bronx. This amiable, sweet-tempered girl will win over anyone who meets her. She enjoys affection immensely, and needs a home where she can get a lot of gentle attention from her people and/or from a partner bunny.

Brendon Bunny is a house-trained, neutered adorable male in need of a home.

13 Brendon Bunny is a house-trained, neutered adorable male in need of a home.

Nacho is a young female ready to bounce into the lap of a loving adopter.

14 Nacho is a young female ready to bounce into the lap of a loving adopter.

According to Cindy, rabbits are fundamentally different from dogs and cats and therefore require an entirely different care-giving approach. We cannot simply apply what we know about cats and dogs to rabbits.

For one thing, rabbits are prey animals in nature. That means they are more fragile and fearful than dogs or cats, both natural predators. While they can be held and cuddled, bunnies may respond fearfully at first, perhaps with a sudden movement or harmless nip that could startle a small child and result in the bunny being dropped. For that reason, a rabbit may not be an ideal companion animal for kids under five.

Impulse Easter pet purchases result in tragic outcomes for thousands of bunnies (and chicks) each year. The majority of those acquired in this manner ultimately end up injured, neglected, multiplying or relinquished to a shelter. While it is understandable that a doting parent might be tempted by the cute little bunnies that fill pet store windows at Easter, I encourage parents to proceed with caution! It is important to use common sense when an eager salesperson downplays the long-term needs of a companion animal. When it comes to indulging a child (which is not always a bad thing), there's a big difference between a candy treat and an animal with lifelong needs.

One of the most important and challenging lessons a parent must pass along are the benefits of making informed decisions rather than impulsive choices. But children learn exactly the opposite when well-meaning parents return home from the pet store with a fragile, un-altered bunny and little information on his/her proper care.

Thankfully, bunny whisperer Cindy Stutts offers up many ways to indulge a child’s affinity for bunnies while avoiding the pitfalls of impulsive pet-store purchases that are harmful to bunnies and families. Here are a few alternatives she suggests:

For other great alternatives and information, be sure to check out Make Mine Chocolate, an initiative focused on reducing the harm that Easter purchases cause bunnies.

So here’s to a Happy Easter, a Happy Passover and a peaceful spring for everyone -- especially the bunnies, chicks and humans who love them!

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

All the bunnies in my photo gallery are available for adoption in New York City. These bunnies are from Zani's Furry Friends:
Bun-Bun and Suzy

Madonna

Bella

Milkyway

Onyx

Nonna

These bunnies are from New York City Animal Care & Control:

Billy Jo and Shirley

Coco Latte

Jazmin

Madeline

Comments (7)

  • dear martha, your love of animals blesses me every time i hear you speak of them. please keep up the good work. i love your show and learn lots ihope you and yours have a blessed easter!

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Rabbits make good pets? And to think that I always put them in the same class as squirrels; something to chase. When we were in Moab, Utah, I stepped out side the trailer one morning with mommy and the whole area was covered with rabbits. There must have been two dozen of them. There were so many that I didn’t know which one to chase first. While I was making up my mind about which one to chase, they all ran away. Oh well, chasing on a leash is no fun anyway. I heard the word, “bath.” I hope it’s one of those April Fools jokes.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • OH NO Kirby not a bath I hope it's April Fools and not the real thing. I had to go last week and it was no joke.

    Yes rabbits make great pets. My moms niece Abbie has a rabbit her name is Lilly. She lives in the house in this really neat crate and has a big play area fence that she runs around the house in. It's like a cat and loves to play and likes to have her head scratched.

    I still think a Frenchie is the ideal pet :)

    So F & S any big plans for Easter? Does the Easter Bunny bring you treats?

    We're having a house full Easter. The weather is suppose to be beautiful so we'll get to spend lots of time out on the deck.

    Yesterday I spent all day at the window watching the ducks. Mr. & Mrs. Mallard Duck come to our pond every Spring and hang out. I think they like it there because there is a bird feeder close by and they love the seed. I'd love to go chase the suckers but they are on the other side of the fence and I can't get to them ;)

    Zoe

  • Hello Dr. Pia,
    very informative article on bunnies...let's hope this year less bunnies will be given as fun Easter gifts, and not have them turn into rescues...when will people learn!

    (hope this comment posts...still having problems with the MS spam filter)

  • Hi Dr. Pia: I really love all the pictures of the bunnies. They are soooo very cute. There are bunnies in my yard too! Mom and dad won't let me off the leash to chase them. I would not hurt them, but I am curious to see if they would play too. Guess they would be too scared of me.

    Momma said it is Easter time again. Gosh, I hope I get something good from PetSmart for Easter. We're going to have ham and sweet potatoes and other good things. Daddy said we're going to have steamed shrimp too. Ugh! I don't like seafood.

    A wonderful and happy Easter to all of you on this blog. Momma is going to be really busy tomorrow so she may not be able to write for me. I hope she will though. Maybe if I give her my hurt feelings look and give her plenty of kisses. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Zoe - I am so glad that Sophie is doing so well now.

    Take care all of you. See ya later. Love, Gracyn.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thank you so much for this wonderful blog about rabbits. I certainly agree with you about people giving rabbits as gifts because it's Easter. I would hope more people would read your blog and pass this information on to others, especially those who don't have a clue about how to treat and care for wonderful rabbits. As you said, they are not the same as cats and dogs. Your photos are fantastic. Thanks again for all that you do to protect our wonderful animals. Jan

  • I absolutely LOVE bunnies, and for all of the reasons you stated above. It is sad to find even the most luxurious Humane Societies treat dogs and cats as royalty, but still keep large rabbits in a tiny cage. I compare it to keeping a human in a bathroom for life and letting them out for a few minutes a day. They can be spayed and neutered as well as litter trained. They are quiet, gentle and very rewarding to watch. They are also very reasonable for people on a fixed income and hold a busy schedule. Mine have the personality of a puppy, yet with the independence of a cat. Thanks for getting the word out! The House Rabbit Society is the *perfect* venue to promote these special creatures

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