The RSPCA has warned the public to think carefully about purchasing rabbits, having received 5,482 rabbit incidents reported in 2019 alone.
The charity warned that rabbits are “often perceived as an ideal ‘starter pet’ for young children”, but have very complex needs and are one of the most neglected pets in Britain.
In 2019, the group received over 900 neglect complaints about rabbits, as well as over 300 abandonment complaints and 164 calls from owners wishing to give up their rabbits.
The charity also revealed that it rehomed more than 2,500 rabbits in 2019. It saw a “spike” in rehoming cases in the Springtime, with 238 rehoming cases reported in May alone.
Dr Jane Tyson, RSPCA rabbit welfare expert, said: “Sadly, when rabbits are bought on impulse, an owner may not realise how complex they are to care for and what a commitment caring for rabbits can be.
“Rabbits are arguably one of the most neglected pets in Britain despite being much-loved by many. Loving pet owners will understand their complex needs but unfortunately some of the common misconceptions about housing and diet are still prevalent today.”
She added: “Bunnies may look cute but their needs are very complex and it’s important to do lots of research before buying or adopting pet rabbits to ensure that you can meet all their needs.
“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 rescue rabbits instead.”
While the group has paused its rehoming programmes due to the coronavirus outbreak, it says there are still lots of rabbits in its care being rescued and cared for.