The Real Cost of Adopting an Easter Bunny

For the faithful, Easter is a deeply meaningful religious holiday. For kids, the day is synonymous with egg hunts and candy. But for a whole lot of other people, Easter is all about the bunnies. 

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While rabbits make great decorations and lawn ornaments, owning one isn’t for everyone. If you’re tempted to bring Easter to life this year by adopting a real, live version of the holiday’s mascot, you’d better be sure that you understand the costs before you hop into the lifestyle of bunny parenthood. 

Adoption

The first expense is the one that buys the most joy — getting your hands on a bunny. You can get a rabbit for free, according to PetKeen, mostly from people who didn’t spay or neuter their own. Tread lightly — a host of behavioral and health issues are common if you go this route.

If you’re planning on buying one from a pet store, Rabbits Life cites the price range as being between $40 and $100, but you should adopt/rescue if you can.

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The breed goes a long way in determining the price, according to PetKeen, with standard American and Dutch rabbits going for $20-$50 and Flemish giants and Harlequins reaching into three figures. 

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Food and Bedding

Rabbits are small animals that don’t consume a whole lot of food, but they do need a constant supply of high-quality hay and fresh vegetables. That will run you about $40 per month, according to PetKeen — that’s approaching $500 per year — although My House Rabbit says you can slash those bills considerably by purchasing hay in bulk from a local farm.

Vet Bills

If you adopt a rabbit, an initial checkup should be part of the package — but the rest is up to you. Yearly checkups cost $20-$50, according to PetKeen, but that’s just the start. There’s also the cost of:

  • Vaccinations: $20-$30
  • Dental: $60-$300
  • Parasite treatment: $50-$200
  • Medication for ongoing conditions: $500-$800

As with people, rabbit medical emergencies can cost thousands of dollars. If you want bunny health insurance, that’s available, but it will run you $240-$500.

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Accessories and Miscellaneous Stuff

One of the many reasons that bunnies make such great pets is that they can be litter-box trained. Entry-level litter boxes can be had for just a few bucks, according to PetSafe, but fancy automatic self-cleaning-and-raking models can run well into the hundreds. Then there’s the ongoing cost of litter, which goes for between 50 cents and $3.75 per pound.

Outdoor rabbits need roomy hatches, which generally cost between $150 and $300. If your rabbit will be residing in a home within your home, a good indoor cage costs between $50-$100, according to Rabbits Life.

The following, according to PetKeen, is a list of other rabbit-related stuff that can quickly add up: 

  • Food and water bowls: $10
  • Hay feeder: $50-$75
  • Chew toys: $20
  • Nail clippers: $25
  • Playpen: $75

Also, rabbits chew and chew and chew on anything chewable — that’s because their teeth never stop growing and chewing helps file them down. As My House Rabbit points out, you should expect to spend about $35 for cord protectors if you value any of your electronics, and you should also expect to have to repair or replace rabbit-worn furniture at some point during your time with Peter Cottontail.

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When all is said and done, PetKeen estimates the annual cost of owning a rabbit to be somewhere between $500-$800.

Make Sure You’re Sure — Like, Really Sure

Every spring, news outlets across the country interview experts who caution against getting rabbits for Easter — particularly as gifts for children. Like goldfish at a carnival, surprising your niece or nephew with a cute, cuddly little Easter bunny might seem like a good idea at the time — until you get it home.

Rabbits have specialized needs, they’re harder to care for than cats and dogs and when people buy them on a whim without considering the realities of owning one, bad things happen. In the weeks following Easter, countless rabbits are dropped off at shelters or are simply let go in the wild after their owners get a taste for how much attention they need, how energetic and social they are and how their relentless instinct to chew soon becomes evident on every bunny-level surface in the home. 

Also, no, they can’t just live on carrots. 

Rabbits are high-maintenance animals that aren’t always as cuddly as they look, they cost money to care for, they can live for a decade and owning one impedes your ability to travel, take a vacation and own other pets. 

Unless you’re absolutely certain you want a rabbit this Easter, opt for one made out of chocolate, instead.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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