How a Pet Easter Bunny Can Cost You Thousands

Photo (cc) by picto:graphic

I hate the Easter Bunny. He’s worse than Santa Claus.

At least Santa does some good while commercializing a religious holiday – thousands of jolly old men find temporary employment at the mall each winter. But the Easter Bunny? Thanks to him, thousands of pet bunnies become homeless each spring.

The cute holiday icon leads parents to believe that a pet rabbit would make a cute Easter gift for the kids. But a rabbit requires a lot of time and money. When I say “money,” I’m talking in the thousands. When I say “time,” I mean a decade or so.

I know this because I’m the proud owner of two rabbits – one of them an Easter-gift-turned-unwanted-pet that someone let loose in my neighborhood a month after the holiday.

“Every year, many thousands of rabbits are abandoned to shelters or released outdoors (a sure death sentence for a domestic rabbit) often because of misunderstandings on the part of the parents who bought them for their kids,” says the House Rabbit Society, a national nonprofit rescue and education group.

What a pet rabbit really costs

Rabbits aren’t like hamsters. You can’t leave them in a cage all day, feed them nothing but cheap pellets, clean their cage once a week, never take them to the vet, and be secure in the knowledge they’ll be dead in two or three years. Here are the rabbit facts…

Pet rabbits are a long-term commitment. The House Rabbit Society estimates that pet rabbits live 8 to 12 years. One of my bunnies is 8 years old and still perfectly healthy. His wife lived to be 12. And my vet (who specializes in rabbits) tells me she’s seen plenty of bunnies live to 15.

Rabbits are a lot of time and work. They need to run around outside of their cages. The House Rabbit Society recommends 30 hours of exercise a week. But first you’ll have to “rabbit-proof” your home so they don’t chew through electrical cords or gnaw on wood furniture. My younger (and feistier) bunny has destroyed everything from lamps to pricey electronics after sneaking out of her enclosure and into rooms that weren’t rabbit-proofed.

Rabbits must be spayed or neutered. This isn’t just to prevent them from reproducing like, well, rabbits. It prevents health complications (like cancer) and behavioral problems (like spraying urine on the wall). They can be litter-trained, but either way, the litter box or the cage requires daily cleaning.

Most rabbit breeds also shed several times a year. All my bunnies have always gradually shed their entire coat. During the shedding period, which lasts several weeks, they require daily brushing to keep it under control. But even then, fur seems to get everywhere, especially on my clothes. I go through a lot of lint rollers.

Rabbits aren’t cheap eaters. They need a constant supply of fresh water and fresh hay. Yes, hay. (Long story short, it’s vital for their digestive health.) I buy hay in 50-pound bales because it’s cheapest. But that much hay still costs $50 to $65, multiplied by several orders a year. Rabbits also need a couple cups of fresh veggies daily and rabbit pellets at least weekly.

The House Rabbit Society’s San Diego chapter estimates that a pet rabbit costs $7,662 over the course of its life. As a rabbit owner of 15 years, I think that’s a tad high. But even if the total were half that much, it’s still a big chunk of change.

What to do if you still want a pet rabbit

Rabbits are not cuddly lap pets. They’re easily spooked prey animals that often don’t like being picked up, let alone held. This is especially true of younger rabbits. And if your children mishandle them, they’ll develop a habit of nipping humans who try to touch them, which means your children will quickly lose interest in their new pet.

I think the House Rabbit Society’s website is the single best place to educate yourself about whether a rabbit is right for you, what it takes to be a rabbit owner, and how to adopt a rabbit instead of buying one from the pet store.

I adopted my older bunny from the Humane Society’s South Florida Wildlife Center, which takes in everything but cats and dogs. When I took my bunny home, he was one of 90-something rabbits available for adoption. And it’s those rows and rows of homeless bunnies that I see in my mind’s eye every time I think of the Easter Bunny.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free streaming video services offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics.

5 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security ASAP
5 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security ASAP

Experts often recommend postponing claiming your Social Security retirement benefits. But there are situations in which you should start taking the money sooner.

Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement

No. 1 isn’t visiting grandkids, and No. 4 might surprise you.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.