Hay everybun, lettuce jump into ear-resistable bunny ad-hop-tion


Aya Takase-Songui

BIG EARS, BIG PERSONALITIES: Poe, one of the nine rabbits currently up for adoption at IACC, overcomes her usual shyness as caretaker Janice Morreale hands her a chew toy.

Kaylie Wang, Staff Writer

If you’re having a hard time convincing your parents to let you welcome a dog or cat into your family, try a new angle: adopting an ear-resistably adorable rabbit. Since February is dedicated to these pointy-eared pets through Adopt-a-Rabbit month (and 2023 is also the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac), it’s the perfect time to shine light on some local animal care centers with adoptable rabbits.

At pet stores, animals often come from mass breeding facilities with unethical practices and lack sufficient space to behave normally. At shelters and rescues, the animals’ needs are prioritized.

“Sometimes folks have unrealistic expectations, particularly for bunnies,” Irvine Animal Care Center’s Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator Paige Kim said. “A lot of people think they like to be picked up and held, but most rabbits do not like getting picked up at all. A lot of people want a rabbit for their young kids, but they’re not a good pet for young kids because normal rabbit behavior is biting, scratching and chewing.”

Staff and volunteers at IACC monitor the behavior of all animals during the first week of entering the shelter to understand what type of household they would be suited for. For example, if a rabbit is nervous around people, this means they have not been socialized properly. Therefore, the animal would be fit for a family that has experience with owning rabbits and does not have young children.

Kim uses this information when helping staff determine which animals are suitable for prospective adopters. Organizations also use pre-adoption surveys and interviews to understand families’ households and what they are looking for in an animal.

Adoption organizations are run by staff who are knowledgeable on rabbit care, so they can help first-time bunny owners make informed decisions. Also, when adopting from IACC, adoptable animals are up-to-date on their vaccines as well as the spay/neuter procedure, general veterinary exam, flea treatment and basic deworming. Upon adoption, the shelter will microchip the animal with lifetime registration and include a sample bag of food and a free check-up at a participating veterinarian.

If [my rabbit] wants to sleep, she’ll sleep. If she wants to go out, she’ll go out. It’s like how cats decide what they want to do and they don’t do whatever their owners tell them. I like that; It’s like independence in an animal.”

— Senior Anna Lieggi

There are many other local care centers and organizations to visit when finding the right bunny for you. For example, the Orange County Animal Care in Tustin is one of the largest shelters on the west coast as it houses over 400 animals. Also, The Bunny Bunch is a no-kill rescue for rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, with locations in Montclair and Fountain Valley.

Overall, rabbits are fun pets due to their animated personalities, according to senior Anna Lieggi.

“If [my rabbit] wants to sleep, she’ll sleep,” Lieggi said. “If she wants to go out, she’ll go out. It’s like how cats decide what they want to do and they don’t do whatever their owners tell them. I like that; It’s like independence in an animal.”

While adopting a rabbit is a rewarding process, those that are unable to adopt can still support these organizations by fostering, volunteering and donating. Foster care programs need volunteers to temporarily take in animals too young to be spayed/neutered, since they require more frequent care than the shelter can provide.

At IACC and OCAC, on-site volunteers must be at least 18 years old, but shelters are always in need of more supplies like food and blankets. You can visit an organization’s website to find what supplies they need.

If you carrot all, hop, don’t walk to these local animal care centers to help rabbits live hoppily ever after.