Category Archives: Rabbit Activism

Beware of Easter Bunnies

Well, it’s that time of year again – Easter Time – when large numbers of people seem to loose their minds and decide that putting sole responsibility for a living, breathing animal into the hands of a 5 year old child is a good thing. (Here’s a hint people: it’s not.)

As an Easter Bunny myself – one that was abandoned just a few weeks after Easter – I sort of have a responsibility to educate people about why Easter ≠ Bunny. It’s the least I can do to make sure that there are fewer bunnies out there that have to go through what I went through – being abandoned in the streets of a city while still a tiny baby. So, yeah, think about that first before you go out and pick up a “cute little baby bunny” from the pet store for your kids this Easter.

gus looking up at the tube

Above: I was abandoned when I was this little.

So let’s get down to business, shall we? The biggest mistake people make around Easter time is forgetting this golden rule:

A bunny is a rabbit, and a rabbit is a BIG responsibility.

You’d be amazed how many people forget this. Baby bunnies, like all other animals, grow up  and get bigger. It’s a fact of life. And unless you think life itself is disposable, you have to take responsibility not just for the small, cute, baby bunny you brought home, but also the big, older rabbit you’ll end up with in a few months. If you’re not willing to do this, then don’t get a rabbit. (Maybe you should get a chocolate bunny instead?)

There are a few other things you should know before you even think about picking up a rabbit:

  1. We need more space than the cages you can buy at the pet store. Almost 100% of the cages you find at your local pet store are meant as “starter” cages for 1 bunny when it’s little. That same cage won’t do once the rabbit grows up – we need more space. If you don’t have enough space, then maybe you should think twice about getting a rabbit.
  2. A rabbit cannot live on pellets and carrots alone. Yeah, I know, carrots are what rabbits eat in cartoons all the time, and pellets are easy to feed, but let’s be serious – you don’t see wild rabbits munching on carrots and going “what’s up, doc,” do you? Also, pellets are basically rabbit prison food – it’s what was fed to rabbits when they were being kept as food, not as pets. We need good food, just like any other pet. An unlimited supply of timothy hay (not alfalfa, at least not once we’re grown up), as much as we can eat, is a good start, as are fresh veggies like parsley, romaine lettuce (or any lettuce with dark green leaves), and many other dark green veggies. Carrots, on the other hand, have too many calories and should not form the bulk of our diet.
  3. We need things to chew on. In the same way that people give their cats a scratching post, a rabbit needs something similar – but for chewing, not scratching. Our teeth grow constantly; if we don’t chew on things they will grow so big that we can’t open our mouth to eat anymore. Oh, and if you don’t give us things to chew on, we’ll probably end up chewing on anything we can get our teeth on – like your carpet, baseboards, furniture, etc. So give us cardboard boxes or bits of (untreated) wood to chew on. Heck, your used paper towel or toilet paper rolls will do the trick in a pinch – and we’ll recycle them for you. Bonus!
  4. We are not the same as hamsters or gerbils or other “cage” animals. People often lump us in the same category as hamsters or gerbils or even guinea pigs – animals that are typically kept in cages full-time. But this is a mistake. Just look at us – we’re a heck of a lot bigger than a hamster or gerbil! So don’t base your housing/feeding/care expectations off of what you might have in mind for a smaller animal – we’re different, and that means you need to take care of us differently. Instead, you might want to think of a rabbit as more or less a vegetarian cat. You wouldn’t keep a cat in a 3 foot x 2 foot cage all day, now would you? No, you’d let it roam around your house. Well, if you are going to get a rabbit, you should expect to let the rabbit roam your house (or at least be out free roaming for a period each day) in the same way.
  5. We are prey animals, so be gentle with us. While the “like a vegetarian cat” analogy works pretty well, it’s also important to keep in mind that we are prey animals – unlike a cat, which is a predator. This has huge ramifications on how we see the world. A cat may get scared of things, but it’s generally not constantly on the lookout for things that might be trying to eat it – quite the contrary! But a rabbit is always on the lookout for things that might be trying to eat it – because, like it or not, something almost always is trying to eat us. Because of this, we can be a bit skittish – so keep this in mind when you loom over us! Also, since we do startle rather easily, you should probably keep smaller children away from us if possible – or at least supervise them very closely. A small child making lots of noise or sudden movements can be downright terrifying to a rabbit!
  6. We need exercise, too. If you keep us in a cage, let us out from time to time (ideally, at least once every day) so we can stretch our (huge) legs. People have no problem walking their pet dogs, but for some reason they don’t think to let their pet rabbits out. Don’t fall into this trap – let us run around once in a while!

Those are just some of the things I could think of off the top of my ears.

Now, if after all of that, you still think you want to get a rabbit, well, let me give you a few more pieces of advice: try adopting a rabbit instead of buying one from a pet store. You might not get a “small & cute” baby bunny, but the bunny you do get will probably already be litter trained and may even already bee spayed/neutered, saving you a BIG expense down the road. Plus, you’re probably saving a bunnies life when you adopt from a shelter. And I think that’s a good enough reason by itself, don’t you?

And finally, here’s some pictures of what you can expect to see if you let a rabbit into your life:

gus close up face

betsy at attention

gus is sulking - or tired

gus napping

i see you

typical gus

gus says - you suck

betsy girl

betsy's sourpuss face

And, of course:

betsy plotting our doom - with text

So, please, think twice about buying a bunny for Easter. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

-Gus

p.s. for more on why you shouldn’t get a bunny for Easter, please see Make Mine Chocolate (makeminechocolate.org).

For Bunny Sake Rabbit Rescue

My dad tells me that the For Bunny Sake Rabbit Rescue organization is actually kind of near where I live.

Dad also tells me that they are trying to raise money to build a permanent shelter & education site for rabbits – I think this is a Good Idea.

So, if you can (and I know you can), please give them a donation – even a small one would help. It’s super-easy – you can donate with PayPal on their website (you have to scroll down a bit), or donate via check or even just drop off supplies that they need!

So, c’mon. Help them out. If you do, I promise to… not disapprove of your very existence (for a little while, anyway).

-Gus

Rabbit Rescue in San Jose

People who dump rabbits outside like this are the worst kind of people. I’d bite their ankles if I ever came across them. And the teenagers who shoot the dumped rabbits? I’d show them how much I’m like that rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!!!

Although my mum and dad regularly donate money to the kind people at SaveABunny, they need foster homes pretty badly as well. Unfortunately, these things always seem to happen way over on the other side of the country from us.

So if you happen to live near this San Jose place and can share a bit of your home with a poor lost bunny… well I think that’d be a great thing for you to do.

My dad likes to say “you can judge people based on how they treat their animals.” Things like this make me wonder about you two-foots sometimes…

-Gus

Gus's Newer Portrait

A Very Lucky Easter Bunny

Some people might remember that I’m an Easter Bunny – that is to say, I was given as an Easter gift and then abandoned and rescued shortly after by my mom.

Around Easter time, I always think about other bunnies who might not be as lucky as I was – and I was very lucky.

I like to remind people who might think that they need to get a rabbit just because it’s Easter that getting a real, live rabbit is a lot more responsibility than I think most people are ready for.

I know my dad wasn’t ready for the responsibility of having a rabbit in his house when my mom found me wandering around the parking lot of their house, way back then. But my mom and dad were always “animal” people who took good care of their animal family, so they rose to the challenge of:

I realize that taking care of me (and Betsy) is a big job – a full-time job, if dad is to be believed. So it’s not for everyone.

If you’re thinking of getting a bunny for Easter – or for any reason – you might want to think twice about it. You can see by all of the other stuff here on my blog that it’s a lot of work to keep up with a bunny!

But if you think you’re up to the challenge (and it is a challenge – though the rewards can be good too), might I recommend adopting rather than buying? So many of my cousins and more distant relatives live tough lives, being abandoned after Easter time, or just given up because they’re not small and cute babies anymore, that they really need a loving home like my mom and dad gave me. If you can give a bunny a similar home, please adopt one of my bretheren – I’m sure there’s a shelter near you somewhere. (The House Rabbit Society can probably help you find one if you don’t know where one might be.) Oh and be sure to spay or neuter your rabbit so you don’t contribute to the overpopulation problem!

Remember, not all Easter bunnies are as lucky as I am – but maybe if you’ve got a big heart (and a big home!), you can help another Easter bunny get lucky and find a great home.

-Gus

Gus's Newer Portrait

Time to start thinking about Easter

Dad came back from the store last night and told me how he saw they had taken down all their valentine’s day stuff and were starting to put up their Easter stuff.

Easter always makes me think even more about all the other bunnies out there who aren’t as lucky as I am (oh and Betsy, too). I don’t like the idea of a holiday that encourages people to buy an animal that they probably aren’t prepared to take care of properly. Bunnies are not throw-away pets!!!

Though on the good side, I have seen an awful lot of other pink-eyed white rabbits out there like me lately:

And those are just the ones I can remember from recently. Hmmmm… maybe we should get together and form a union or something? Maybe the “Bunnihood of Pink-Eyed Rabbits?”

Anyway, dad did see a lot of stuffed toy bunnies at the store – I’d highly recommend people thinking of buying a rabbit “for Easter” to get a stuffed one instead.

If, on the other hand, you really are interested in a long-term relationship with a rabbit, please, please, please adopt rather than buy from a store.

That’s all I have to say on this… for now.

-Gus

Gus's Newer Portrait

Vote RABBIT!

Although I am still miffed to learn that rabbits do not have a vote in this upcoming election-thingy, I thought I would take a moment to remind everyone who CAN vote who they should vote for:

That’s right. You know what you have to do – wait, what? He’s not on the ballot??? This is clearly a human conspiracy to deny us rabbits our inalianable rights to vote and disapprove!!!

OK, so new plan: everyone just write in Mr. Pinkerton. If you don’t, I may just have to disapprove of you.

-Gus

No More Easter Stories

Every Easter I try (with dad’s help) to let as many people as I can know about the sad stories of “Easter bunnies.” I’m entitled to speak on this because I was an Easter bunny myself.

Long story short, I was bought for some kids for Easter, and they didn’t really know how to take care of me, so they were very rough to me and eventually left me outside when they got bored with me. I don’t think they wanted me anymore.

Luckily, my mom saw them and came and picked me up and took me inside and made arrangements for me to stay with her & dad from now on. And I am very much grateful for what she did.

But the fact is, there are lots of other bunnies out there right now who are being given as “gifts” for Easter, to people who don’t know how to care for them, or to people who won’t care for them once the novelty wears off (though how that could happen with a rabbit still baffles me).

So, as I always do on Easter, I just want to remind everyone that a rabbit is not a toy, not a gift, but a real live animal, the same as any other pet – if not more so, because we’re not like cats and dogs who are predators and can take care of themselves to a certain extent – we’re rabbits, a prey species, and we can be fragile at times, so we depend on our human mums & dads to look after us. We also live quite a long time (depending on the breed and whether we’ve been de-sexed) – figure about 10 years, give or take. We don’t do well in small cages (despite lots of pictures and pet store advertising to the contrary) and we don’t just eat carrots (cartoons aside – although carrots are a nice side dish).

Hopefully this message reaches someone and makes a difference somewhere. Now if you all don’t mind, I’m going to take the rest of the day off and go lie in a sunbeam and reflect on how lucky Betsy and I are to have such a nice home. And to all the buns out there – may you all find homes as nice yourselves.

Good luck, and hoppy Easter!

-Gus

Gus’s Newer Portrait

Bunny Game – No, Really

Dad told me this morning that he found out that there is a game now where you take care of a rabbit – and that is the game! He said it’s called “Petz Bunnyz,” for something he called “Nintendo DS.” Oh, I see, it’s sort of a game thing that you can hold in your hands (boy, must be nice to have opposable thumbs…)

I’m not sure how I feel about this. At first, I thought it was good – people can play with bunnies in a game instead of buying them from pet stores and leaving them alone all day to be sad. But, then I thought about it some more, and what if playing this game, they want to get a real rabbit? It might encourage more people to get rabbits who maybe shouldn’t.

Still, I suppose it depends on how realistic the game is. Dad said it doesn’t look nearly as good as a real rabbit, and after all, rabbits are complex animals, I’m sure no game could ever capture our true “spirit.” So maybe this will convince people not to get rabbits if they are not ready for the commitment. That would be best, I think.

-Gus

Gus’s Newer Portrait

February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month”

I heard today that February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.

Being that I am a rescued rabbit (and so is Betsy, sort of),  I can’t help but try to spread the word about things like this.

When dad set up this site for me and Betsy, I had hoped that at least one person who visited would learn that we rabbits are not so difficult to take care of, and that we are just as entertaining and full of energy and personalities as those other “cherished” household pets – I’m talking about cats and dogs, of course.

My hope was that maybe, just maybe, someone would save a bunny because of what they learned here.

I guess I always get sentimental when talking about rescuing my fellow lagomorphs.

-Gus

Gus’s New Portrait