Surprising a child with a live Easter bunny may not be a warm, fuzzy idea.
Contrary to Eastertime hype, rabbits and small children are not always a good match. The natural exuberance, rambunctiousness and decibel-level of even the gentlest toddler are stressful for the sensitive rabbit. It is the rare child who will enjoy and appreciate the rabbit's subtle and sensitive nature.
Another misconception is that rabbits are passive and cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and insecure when held and restrained. Children like a companion they can hold, carry, and cuddle, just as they do their favorite stuffed animal. It is unreasonable to expect a child to be able to take full responsibility for the care of a rabbit, or to make a 10-year commitment to anything! All too often, the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned. (House Rabbit Society)
You can also help spread the word that rabbits are not disposable pets by getting involved in the Make Mine Chocolate! campaign. Started in 2002 by the Columbus House Rabbit Society, the campaign aims to educate the public about the challenges of owning a rabbit and encourages parents to give chocolate or toy bunnies as Easter gifts instead of live rabbits. Check out the group's website, MakeMineChocolate.org, for more info.
Rabbits can be excellent pets for older, responsible children. Honey Bun had a wonderful life as my classroom pet. She was litter box trained, like a cat, and was free to roam the classroom most of the time. My students knew not to pick her up and she would often jump in their laps for attention.
Did you know you can hypnotize a rabbit by placing them on their backs? That was always a great way to calm my classroom.
My love for bunnies began at an early age.
BTW, it's snowing in North Georgia this morning.