Easter will be upon us soon and many parents are tempted to buy one of those cute baby Easter bunnies that appear in all the pet stores, Craig’s List or Uncle Henry’s. Unless the child is older than 12 years and is very responsible, a toy stuffed bunny would make a much better gift.

Rabbits live 10 to 12 years. Will the child still care for the rabbit after the novelty wears off? Or will this rabbit spend this summer abandoned in a backyard hutch where he/she eventually will die alone? Like dogs and cats, rabbits are social animals and need daily interactions with their human owners.

Last year, hundreds of rabbits were surrendered at animal shelters and rabbit rescues across this state. And unlike wild rabbits, pet rabbits released into the wild cannot fend for themselves. This rabbit wouldn’t survive and eventually would be killed by a predator.

Rabbits make great pets, provided their owner accepts them on their own terms. They need a safe and loving environment in a home, not in an outdoor hutch. Older rabbits in shelters have little chance of being adopted because most people mistakenly want a baby rabbit. This is unfortunate because older rabbits make the best pets. They are more tolerant of children and have reached their affectionate adult personality.

Save a life and don’t buy an Easter bunny. If a person must have a rabbit, rescue an altered rabbit from a local animal shelter or from a rabbit rescue group. A listing of available rabbits nearby is found at www.petfinder.org or www.hromaine.org. More information about rabbits at can be found at www.rabbit.org or www.hromaine.org.

Please consider the life of that rabbit before buying him/her as an Easter gift.

Daniel McNultyWaterville