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Should you give your child a real Easter rabbit?

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Think before buying a bunny

With Easter approaching, many parents think buying a real bunny for their children would make a great gift. However, as many of these purchases end up being returned, placed in shelters or put out into the wild only to die, they are usually wrong. Before you go out and buy your kids a pet just because it matches the holiday, take a few things into consideration first.

LIVING FREE

Many people think having a rabbit for a pet will be an easy, low maintenance relationship. However, this is not generally the case. You can't just stick a bunny in a cage and call it a day. They need room to move around and can become quite agitated being couped up 24/7. If they don't get their fill of exercise by hopping around and interacting with other household pets or people, they may act out in ways you probably won't approve of.

GROOMING

While all pet rabbits differ, they all need to be manicured on a regular basis. If your bunnyhas long or thick hair, they will need to be frequently brushed. Likewise, certain bunnies, such as the Angora breed, have fur that clumps. If not groomed properly, excessive clumping can cause sores on the skin, fecal balls and an inability to move freely. Also, all bunnies' nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly, and older rabbits need to have their scent glands cleaned.

Clearly, bunnies aren't like cats, who for the most part groom themselves. They need a lot of care and attention, something your kids might not have the discipline to do.

FEEDING

When it comes time to feed your bunny, this can be an event in itself. You can't just throw some food in a bowl and walk away. Mealtime for rabbits involves roughly twenty minutes of washing veggies, changing water, freshening their cage and giving hay twice a day. Speaking of cages, they need to be properly cleaned out once a week.

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