Zookeepers say pets aren’t presents

Published: Thursday 2 December 2021

A boy in a blue coat is holding a fawn coloured rabbit. Behind them is a bed of flowering daffodils

There’s a warning that while a rabbit can make a great pet it is not a great choice of Christmas present.

Keepers at South Lanarkshire’s Zoo in Calderglen Country Park are aiming to raise awareness that all too often new pets for Christmas become unwanted responsibilities, once owners realise the reality and long-term commitment of caring for them.

Earlier this year Calderglen Zoo hosted a rabbit awareness day with Glasgow based rehoming charity Beloved Rabbits and the charity will be back at the East Kilbride venue on Sunday 19 December.

Senior Animal Keeper Samir Clark says working with Beloved Rabbits has highlighted to the zoo staff that there is a real issue with smaller animals being given as gifts.

Samir said: “We are probably all familiar with the slogan ‘A dog is for life not just for Christmas’ but that applies just as much to any pet.

“Taking on a little life is a big commitment. It requires daily attention and care. Beloved Rabbits explained to us just how often people underestimate the responsibilities when giving a pet as a gift.

“Rabbits need space and company, a balanced diet and stimulation. They can make a great pet but a child will need help to provide the right care and even simple things like who will look after a rabbit during a family holiday need proper consideration.”

“I would encourage anyone considering getting a pet to wait until after Christmas, speak to an expert, look at the options for rehoming an abandoned animal and carefully consider your long-term care plan.”

Beloved Rabbits specialise in rehoming our floppy eared friends but a wide range of animal rehoming charities exist and they agree that taking on a new pet needs a lot more careful consideration than just ticking off a Christmas wish list.

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