My best friend would love the House Rabbit Society’s Easter campaign. See, she loves chocolate and, well, not so much, the care associated with pets.

The “Make Mine Chocolate” campaign was created by the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of House Rabbit Society. “Rabbits are not ‘low maintenance’ pets,” says Margo DeMello, president of HRS. They require at least the same amount of work as a cat or dog, and often more. Chocolate rabbits are great alternatives; kids can enjoy them for 10 minutes, and they won’t have to take care of them for the next 10 years.”

Every year, well-meaning parents and grandparents buy cute “Easter bunnies” and other Easter critters for children. And then each year, thousands of baby rabbits, chicks, and ducks that are purchased as Easter gifts are abandoned to starve or left at shelters in the days, weeks and months that follow Easter.

It is not that rabbits don’t make great pets, they do. But unless you are willing to make the commitment to care for the animal for the next ten years, they should not be purchased as pets. Also, most kids want to carry, cuddle and hold their companions, but rabbits are not meant for that. They have extra vertebrae (spines) in their lower back which allows their backs to break easily. Rabbits are usually on someone’s lunch menu and therefore don’t like loud noises, something kids are great at.

If you are willing to make the long term commitment, rabbits need an indoor cage that is four times their adult size. Wire bottoms can cause sores on rabbit feet, so are not recommended. The cage needs extra room for a letterbox, toys and food and water bowls. Litter should not be the clumping type or the dusty type. Wood shavings grow germs and have respiratory irritants, so are not good either.

Rabbits need lots of exercise, at least 30 hours a week in out-of-cage, but safe rabbit-proofed home area. They should never be left unattended outside. Not only do lots of things try to eat them, but they are masters of escape.

Rabbits need lots of fresh water, unlimited fresh grass hay, veggies and a small amount of pellets.

Just like dogs and cats, they should be spayed or neutered. Uterine cancer is common in unspayed females. Unneutered males spray urine all over your house. Not my idea of a great roommate!

Oh, and they shed a lot. They shed their entire coat, 3-4 times a year.

And baby rabbits, they have more accidents, take more time, do more chewing and still grow up to be rabbits. And the sweet personality changes at puberty.

Of course, dogs and cats are some work also. If you do think you might want to share your house with a rabbit (and they do make great pets just not easy ones), the shelter and rescue groups are a good place to look. Start at which has a lot of good information.

And if you don’t want to make this commitment that is okay, just think about a chocolate rabbit for everyone on your Easter list.

This is an article from the book It’s Not Just Puppies and Kittens, Vol 1.