Stain animal rights organization fight to prevent unwanted easter bunnies from breeding like rabbits

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Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue in Staining is currently home to 23 unwanted rabbits and expects more in the coming weeks.

The charity’s founder, Bailey Lister, said: “Last year we saw 25 rabbits go into action within two weeks of Easter. We’ve grown pretty quickly over the last 12 months and expect even more this year.

“We try to warn people not to buy them spontaneously. They are classified as exotic pets and require complex care.

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Always give rabbits fresh hay (Photo: Quench Studios)

Across the UK, the number of rabbits abandoned at RSPCA shelters increases around Easter time, with 859 admitted last year – a 28 per cent increase from 672 in 2020.

And Bailey worries that a lack of awareness about neutering could result in even more unwanted rabbits showing up at charity doors.

A female rabbit or deer can have babies at five or six months of age and produce up to seven litters a year for about four years. The average litter size is seven, meaning most females will produce around 200 babies in their lifetime if left unchecked. In some breeds this number is even higher, with well over 300 offspring.

Medium to large sized rabbit breeds are sexually mature at 4 to 4.5 months, giant breeds at 6 to 9 months, and small breeds (like the Polish dwarf and Dutch) at 3.5 to 4 months

Rabbits, once abandoned, are notoriously difficult to house again, as rescued animals must abide by the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund’s rules of 10′ x 7′ for an average sized pair.

They also have a strict ban on adopting rabbits as pets for children because, contrary to popular belief, these animals can be difficult to care for and can live up to 10 years.

Bailey said: “One in five rabbits will find themselves in a sanctuary by the age of six months. When that happens, they are very difficult to rehabilitate.

“When a male reaches sexual maturity he can start bucking, biting and becoming quite aggressive if not spayed. Females can also be hormonally aggressive. They are more territorial than males.

“They are definitely not pets for children, and they don’t like being picked up and cuddled. Because they are prey, they feel vulnerable when picked up off the ground.”

In addition to being spayed or spayed, pet rabbits must be vaccinated regularly against three potentially fatal diseases: myxomatosis, rabbit viral hemorrhagic disease-1, and rabbit viral hemorrhagic disease-2.

“We’re finding our rabbit adoption requests up about 50 percent through April,” Bailey said. “After Easter, we expect more people to ask to give us rabbits – but because our cages are full, we have nowhere to put them.”

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