When I meet new people, I like to find out a little bit more about who they are and what they think. One of the (most socially awkward) ways I do this is to ask this question:
“If you could make a thirty second public service announcement about any topic, what would it be about?”
As you can imagine, I get a lot of “Don’t Text and Drive!” responses. Of course, not all of them are that cut and dry. For example, one of my favorite responses was “Policy Debate Will Not Get You a Girlfriend.”
My thirty second PSA would be titled “Rabbits: Not Good Pets for Children.”
Certainly, I love my pet rabbit and I’m glad that I have him as my furry companion. However, I do feel bad for parents who buy one, assuming that it will make a lovely short-term pet for their children. (Or worse, because it’s Easter. Don’t do that, please.)
Here are a few quick reasons why I strongly encourage parents to think twice before getting their children a hippity-hoppity pet:
- Most rabbits live 8-10 years. If you are thinking that a rabbit makes a “good first pet” for your child and are not prepared to take on a decade long commitment, buy them a hamster.
- Rabbits are social animals. Out in the wild, rabbits live in social groups and centuries of domestication has not quelled that natural urge to socialize. Many vets recommend that you keep rabbits in bonded pairs if you do not have the time to socially interact with your rabbit. One rabbit is more than enough for me, so I make sure that he gets plenty of play/interaction. If you’re going to keep your child’s rabbit in a cage all day, you’ll have a sad and miserable rabbit.
- Veterinary care for rabbits is neither cheap nor simple. Did you know that rabbits are classified as “exotic?” This means that you need to find a specially trained veterinarian and that wellness checks and care are not cheap.
- Untrained rabbits can be incredibly destructive. It takes time and patience to train a rabbit. Unfortunately, many people are not willing to put in the time or effort. If you like your walls, furniture or cords to be in pristine condition, you should probably skip the rabbit.
Even though I love my rabbit and am so glad that he’s a hopping part of my life, I know that rabbits are not good pets for children and would encourage parents to think carefully before buying one at the pet store.