The sad reality is very few rabbits bought for Easter live to see their first birthday. After the newness wears off, what happens to them? Many are let go outside by people who think they can survive like wild rabbits. You may even have thought so, not realizing they are a domestic rabbit with no survival skills and that this is illegal and cruel. Being euthanized would be a kinder thing to have happen as they are without any natural instincts and die from predators, disease, insects, maggots, broken bones, exposure and the list can go on.
Some of these bunnies lived to tell their story…. How do we know? We rescued these bunnies.
Boomer: Starved, infested with fleas and ticks, open wounds and scabs – he had been surviving outside for 3 weeks when rescued. Wounds were caused by 15 botfly worms hatched from the flies’ eggs that burrowed under his skin and into his organs creating multiple abscesses. Common with bunnies we rescue from outside, they are extremely painful must be removed surgically to avoid poisoning the rabbit.
Nala: Her story is similar and just as sad. Bought at a pet store, the kids got tired of her and let her go outside in their neighborhood. She was rescued when a neighbor heard the neighborhoods screaming and ran to see what was going on – she was too weak to move. The bot fly worms reached her eye area and many other places on her body. You can read Nala’s complete story here.
Fur and Ear Mites
Apollo: Found by a dumpster, trapped under a shopping cart with his fur falling out, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and body so crusted with mites that every time he moved something on his body would crack and bleed. These parasites often start in the ear and spread to other parts of the body where left untreated, the rabbit scratches because it’s painful and itching, and causes bleeding that feeds the parasites and causes a secondary bacterial infection. The infection in the ears can also penetrate and rupture the ear drum and cause loss of balance (head tilt) which can be permanent or fatal. In severe cases, the mites can literally “eat off” the ears of the rabbit. Apollo also suffered from infected hocks, which happened from sitting in his own urine, obviously housed in a filthy cage much too small before being let go outside.
O-Malley was another wonderful bunny we rescued. His ears were so heavily crusted with mites that one ear fell to the side – he couldn’t hold it up. Notice how the mites actually destroyed the tissue around his ear, as well as crusting around his eyes and nose.
Kismet: Found hobbling around a yard with a compound fracture. Her leg had to be amputated.
Captain Jack: Found outside with a compound fracture – his leg had to be amputated. Vet said it was consistent with being dropped by a child.
Auggie: Housed outside with no protection, a regular fly laid her eggs on his skin. This most often happens around the bottom/genital area where it is moist/damp from inattention and poor housing. The eggs quickly hatched and the maggots chewed their way into his flesh. This literally results in the bunny being eaten alive. Auggie did not make it.
In the enlarged photo you can see a maggot coming out of the skin.
Farrah: Let go outside in a community garden, where people might think is a decent place for a bunny, she came to us weak, frail, emaciated, injured and just plain exhausted. Despite weeks of continuing care and all the love and hope we could give, she didn’t make it.
Pictured on the right is Fortis. He was left outside in a cage, totally neglected and starving. He had sore hocks, no tail, and was emaciated. He couldn’t hop and all he could do was sleep for days, but he made it. This happens to many backyard “hutch” bunnies. They are the forgotten pet, ignored and neglected, no attention, care or love.
There are many more stories and many more rabbits that suffer just like these bunnies have. Please Get The Facts on responsible rabbit care and be willing to make the committment. Come visit our bunnies at the shelter, take a Bunny 101 class, Adopt – Don’t Shop, and if you can’t give a rabbit a good forever home, then please- just say no to getting a real rabbit.
Think about the values you are teaching your children. Perhaps this once small and cute little pet that was purchased to make kids happy or teach them responsibility was not meant to be a lesson for them but ended up as a lesson for the parents. It is the parents that made the impulse buy of a rabbit and it is the parent’s that teach their children that it’s ok to give up on a living, breathing being – that it’s ok to discard something that you are no longer interested in or that is too much work. It is teaching a child that animals do not deserve care and commitment and their lives do not have value. This lesson can stick with them for life.
We trust that after spending some time with NotForEaster.com, you will get the facts and learn about rabbit care and commitment. It is the adults’ responsibility to teach the next generation. To teach them to value life, go into situations informed and to take care of your pets for life.
The real answer, when you think of buying a living “Easter Bunny rabbit for your children is NO – get a chocolate of stuffed bun instead and enjoy no pee, poop or guilt in your life!
Nala is a bunny that we happen to know the complete history of because the neighbors told us her story. Nala was purchased from a pet store. They saw a cute and fuzzy little creature that seemed easy to care for. Their kids promised to take care of her and the parents thought it was a good way to teach their kids responsibility. The pet store set them up for failure with a small cage, water bottle, wood shavings for bedding and a food with seeds and nuts. They took her home. It was good for a few weeks and then Nala became aggressive. She hated the small cage and could never get enough water out of the bottle. When the kids tried to pick her up, she would grunt and bite them. They had no idea that Nala would live to be 10-12 years of age. They had no idea that she needed a water bowl and not a bottle or that her body needed greens every evening. They didn’t know that she needed to be spayed, or to have several hours outside of her habitat every day. They also didn’t know that she needed very special and often costly vet care.
They would NEVER learn any of this because when the kids lost interest, they put Nala outside to fend for herself. Once outside, Nala was fed table scraps and played with by the neighborhood kids that would chase her for fun. At night, she would often be seen by people driving by. She would be seen trying to hide from predators under a car or snuggled up by a tire. This was all the care that she was afforded. After being outside for a few weeks the kids didn’t want to play with her anymore because something was wrong with her. She scared the kids because her eye was full of infection. She didn’t feel good and nobody would help her. One day an adult neighbor heard the kids screaming and ran over to see what the commotion was about. Nala was now unrecognizable as her former self, and too weak to move. The kids said that her family had moved a few weeks prior and left her behind.
Nala’s fragile and malnourished body was now a host to wolf worms. These larvae hatched and ate their way into her body leaving infection and abscesses in their wake. One burrowed behind her eye almost causing her to lose it. Another one compromised a muscle causing her to become handicapped for a while. This is an extremely painful condition.