The Scottish SPCA is urging people not to buy rabbits as Easter gifts for fear of another seasonal surge in abandoned animals.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said, “Last year we rescued a staggering 493 pet rabbits across Scotland and this year is proving to be challenging as well, with 116 rabbits already taken in.
“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need but sadly this isn’t true in all cases.
“The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom.
“We have come across many cases where rabbits have been left with horrifically overgrown teeth and nails. Rabbits need hay to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good condition, as well as regular nail trimming.
“They also need plenty of toys and tunnels to keep them occupied and ideally, rabbits should be bonded with a companion but where this isn’t possible they’ll need enough human contact to keep them stimulated.
“Rabbits are highly intelligent and sociable animals who can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.
“People should not buy rabbits on impulse and should make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.
“Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim or as a gift.”
“We have many rabbits looking for good, permanent homes where they will receive the care and attention they deserve.
“Anyone thinking of taking on a rabbit is encouraged to get in touch once they have done their research and ensured they have the time, commitment and financial ability to provide these wonderful pets with a happy and healthy life.”