Inside a typical Easter basket you may find candy, Peeps, maybe even some toys.
However, some kids are also getting live bunnies and chicks. But they later realize it wasn’t such a sweet surprise.
Rabbits are the most abandoned animal during the two months that follow Easter. That’s because they seem like a cute and festive gift that may be low maintenance, along with ducklings and chicks.
But animal experts say the reality is much different.
“We sell chicks, ducks, geese, and bunnies,” says Walter Jenkins, Rural King Assistant Manager.
In the weeks close to Easter, Rural King sees an increase in the purchase of chicks and bunnies.
“We sell a lot during the Easter time. The majority of it is the typical farm that wants the chickens or the family that wants the eggs. Then, unfortunately, there are those that buy them for gifts,” says Jenkins.
These animals are seasonal but not because of Easter. Spring is typically when both bunnies and chicks are born.
Jenkins says it is best to keep the birds on the farm and not in the Easter baskets, “no they are not good pets. Look at the goose. They are cute they are cuddly, they grow up. When they grow up, they get feathers, a lot of them get mean, they’re territorial, they are not good pets.”
Fred Strohm from the Terre Haute Humane Society says rabbits can make good pets, “if you work with them and put the time and effort into them, you can have a life long friend.” But not good gifts, “I don’t think it is a good idea at all to give an animal as a present. Unless that particular individual that you are getting it for is involved with the purchase.”
Although, Strohm says the number of bunnies they take in a year is dropping “So in the… last year ago from now, we have gotten in twenty rabbits.”
They still get bunnies that are relinquished to them by their owners and as strays that people call in.
“We had a phone call the other day that said that somebody found three rabbits in a cage in an alley and they wanted us to take them in,” says Strohm.
So when it comes to filling an Easter basket, it is best to just stick to the chocolate bunnies.
Rural King has set up a feline rescue in their store in Terre Haute to push those looking for a pet towards rescuing a cat rather than purchasing a bunny or chick.
And as always, if you are in the market for a pet, there are animals at the humane society needing a forever home.