Not so happy bunny: RSPCA overwhelmed with unwanted rabbits across the country
This Easter the RSPCA is highlighting the neglect faced by Britain's third most popular pet.
Although many of us associate Easter with images of cute and happy bunnies - sadly the RSPCA paints a different picture. Across the country, the charity is facing an 'overwhelming' influx of rabbits and a 40 percent reduction in people coming forward to offer them new homes.
In 2020 alone 672 rabbits came into the RSPCA's care, and in 2021 859 were taken in by the RSPCA - an increase of 28 per cent.
Already this year the RSPCA has taken in 285 rabbits
In 2020, despite the country being in lockdown, there were 4,508 incidents relating to rabbits reported to the charity; this rose to 4,741 in 2021.
The number of rabbits abandoned also increased during this time with 1,242 reported as abandoned in 2020 and 1,559 abandoned in 2021.
Almost 1,000 more rabbits were classed by the charity as 'neglected' in 2021 - 5,451 - compared with 4,544 in 2020.
Sadly this is also coupled with a decrease in the number of people wanting to rehome rabbits. In 2018 2,772 were rehomed, 2019 2,569 and 2020 2,080 found new homes.
RSPCA rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: "This Easter it's really important for us to highlight that rabbits are one of the most neglected pets in Britain.
"We really need to end the misconception that they are ideal 'starter' pets and are somehow 'easier' than cats and dogs.
"They need so much more than just a hutch at the end of the garden and are very complex animals with needs for company, stimulation and exercise.
"They also have long life spans of around 8-12 years so are a big commitment for a family.
"When rabbits are bought on impulse - maybe as an Easter gift - an owner may not realise how complex they are to care for and what a commitment caring for rabbits can be.
"For anyone who has done their research and is certain they can provide the time, space, money and care it takes to look after a pair of rabbits then please consider adopting two of the many rescue rabbits in need of a home instead of buying them."
Top 10 counties in England by domesticated rabbit incidents
36% increase between 2020 and 2021 (162 compared to 221)
16% increase between 2020 and 2021 (156 compared to 181)
35% increase between 2020 and 2021 (113 compared to 153)
32% increase between 2020 and 2021 (94 compared to 124)
25% increase between 2020 and 2021 (96 compared to 120)
47% increase between 2020 and 2021 (77 compared to 113)
38% increase between 2020 and 2021 (64 compared to 88)
48% increase between 2020 and 2021 (48 compared to 71)
-4% increase between 2020 and 2021 (71 compared to 68)
31% increase between 2020 and 2021 (51 compared to 67)
Rabbit needing homes
RSPCA Kent North West branch has many rabbits available for rehoming including 10 which were abandoned in Dartford on New Year's Eve when they were very young.
Five-month-old Rosie (pictured) and her siblings are just some of those rabbits in need of some time and attention in a loving home. If you think you can offer them the love and companionship they need please get in touch directly with the branch.
Betty and Bonnie
RSPCA Kent North West branch has also recently taken in some neglected bunnies in a terrible state, through the inspectorate. Betty and Bonnie (pictured) have an ear and a tail missing between them but they are otherwise healthy and happy - they are looking for a home from someone who can see beyond their unusual looks.
Choco is one of the many rabbits available for rehoming at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch he is looking for a home with a calm and loving carer. If he could choose his ideal human companion it would probably be a bookworm who will sit on the floor with him, hand feeding him and caressing his soft furry velvety head!
Choco is a young boy, no more than 2 years old. He has been used for breeding and hasn't had a positive life and as such needs his confidence building. He is slowly finding his paws but really now needs to move to a furever home where he can be shown the love and care only a home can offer.
Although he does initially run off when you enter his pen, he gathers up some bravery to come back and check you out. With regular bribery and being told how great he is it won't be long before Choco forges a strong bond with a 'hooman'. We also think he will make a loving 'husbun' to a neutered female lady.
He's likely to be a mini Rex as he is quite dinky! He will be fine to live indoors providing it is quiet and child-free, he can also be housed outdoors in a sheltered enclosure providing he is paired with a female rabbit. Choco was neutered on 22nd Feb and has also been microchipped and vaccinated.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.