Bunny sanctuaries in the Western Cape will be on call to rescue abandoned rabbits after they are bought as pets. Sian Huyser, founder of Noordhoek Bunny Rescue, said that there were many areas in Cape Town where rabbits were regularly abandoned.
Monique Goosen from the Southern Cape Bunny Haven said that because rabbits had become associated with Easter, many children and parents got excited about baby bunnies. However, the novelty of having a bunny as a pet did not last long.
During Easter Weekend, some of the bunnies escape as they are not put in safe areas. Dogs get them. Cats get them. They end up in the street and get run over. The children get bored, or the bunny bites, or the parents realise how much work is involved.
Goosen added that when the bunnies reached adulthood at 12 to 15 weeks they started spraying urine as well as fighting and biting. She also emphasised bunnies should not be considered a children’s pet or beginner’s pet.
Bunnies are a 10-year commitment. They are quite expensive to keep and should be sterilised to prevent spraying and hormonal behaviour. Bunnies are best kept in pairs, but special bonding is needed to introduce new ones. Rescues often have bonded pairs available. Bunnies seldom like to be picked up and should rather sleep inside, or have a very safe place to sleep if outside.