Thinking about getting a pet rabbit for a child? A house rabbit may seem like the perfect pet for kids, but this is not always the case. Many children are too young to handle a rabbit appropriately. Bunnies may look cute and cuddly, but they do not behave in ways typified in children’s stories or cartoons.
Many rabbits do not enjoy being held and will kick and claw when picked up. Your child may end up with some painful scratches. Your rabbit may end up far worse. Rabbits are delicate creatures and struggling to get out of the grasp of a child (or adult) can leave them with broken bones or other injuries.
Rabbits are timid creatures. Loud noises or children running around can scare them. Your child may be disappointed that Bunny does not want to come and play when called. Bunny will be more inclined to come play with your child if he/she is sitting quietly on the floor. Rabbits sometimes want to be left alone to eat or nap, and children need to be reminded of that.
Adopting a rabbit is a very big commitment. Rabbits have a life span of over ten years. If you adopt a baby bunny for your ten-year-old, be prepared to care for the rabbit when your child has gone off to college. Many shelters have older rabbits that would love a caring forever home.
Children may lose interest in a rabbit when the novelty has worn off or find it burdensome to care for a rabbit. Rabbits are easily litter box trained, but their litter needs to be changed regularly. They require fresh food and water daily. They also require regular grooming and nail clipping. Rabbits are social animals that require a lot of individual attention. They need daily exercise and playtime, and when they are not in a pen or cage, you will have to ensure that your home is bunny proofed. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when determining if a rabbit is right for your family.
So while children and rabbits can certainly interact well together, a pet rabbit for a child is not a good idea. A rabbit’s primary caregiver should always be an adult.