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The House Rabbit
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General Misconceptions
The Easter Bunny Hype

Easter Bunny or Chocolate Rabbit?
by Anne Seah

Do you know…
- rabbits are indoor pets?
- rabbits' diets are very delicate?
- rabbits need grooming and daily exercise to prevent hairballs?
- your house needs to be bunny-proofed from the curious wire-biting rabbits?
- rabbits can be toilet-trained?
- rabbits' sizes range from the size of a small Chihuahua to a grown Beagle?
- spaying/neutering rabbits improve behaviour and chances of bonding?

It is actually the Easter HARE and not Easter Rabbit/Bunny?

The rabbit, or rather, hare, symbolises fertility and spring during Easter?
The hare is born with its eyes open. The Egyptians call the hare Un, which means, open, to open, and the opener. Un also means period. Thus, the hare symbolises the opening of the new year period of Easter with its fertility and new beginnings.

The hare/rabbit is associated with the moon?
There is a myth of the rabbit offering himself as food to the starving Buddha by jumping into the fire. Out of gratitude, the Buddha placed the rabbit in the moon so that it will be immortal. Thereafter, Far East paintings and stories, especially the Chinese, depict the rabbit pounding rice in the moon.

The hare/rabbit is also linked to the moon because of its 1 month gestation period, akin to the moon's waxing and waning. It is also believed that the rabbit can change sex like the moon. Other stories in Sanskrit and Hindu tell of hares dwelling upon the shores of the moon and being the mortal enemy of the lion, which stands for the sun.

Come this 31st March 2002, kids in primary schools and kindergartens will once again be painting eggs and learning about the Easter tradition. Part of which will surely fascinate our little tykes will be the Easter Bunny. The rabbits in schools will suddenly receive more excited attention and thrilled adoration. These rabbits are so sweet to look at and so soft to touch, wouldn't it be wonderful to have one or two at home? And which parent would be able to resist the exuberant enthusiasm of their child?

So, every Easter, there are cosy family outings to pet shops where Daddy and Mummy shop for a cute Easter Bunny as a playmate for their child, preferably a baby bunny, which can grow up together with their kid.

However, before taking that tiny round-faced, bright-eyed Easter Bunny home, let us consider some very important facts.

Baby Easter Bunny is a fragile thing. It is tiny, its bones are incredibly soft, it feels safe on the ground, and it is extremely frightened of being grabbed and shrilled at. Children, being naturally affectionate, will certainly and understandably want to cuddle their new Baby Easter Bunnies just as they hold and cuddle their soft toys. Baby Easter Bunny will almost surely fight back in fear. In the worse scenario, this struggle ends with Baby Easter Bunny injured and the child angry and crying. In the best possible situation, the continual struggles add to Baby Easter Bunny's fear of people. And since children also tend to be active and noisy, Baby Easter Bunny will soon learn to cower in a corner when the child is around. In no time, the child will lose patience and become disgusted with this newly purchased unaffectionate and non-compliant soft toy.

But even if the child is no longer interested in Baby Easter Bunny, Baby Easter Bunny would still be around for a long time more after Easter. In fact, Baby Easter bunny is going to live up to 10 years, speaking on the average. A good perspective to this would be to add 10 years to your child's age - that's how long more Baby Easter Bunny would be hopping around the house! Let's face it, sure, kids are enthusiastic, but their enthusiasm are most often than not, short-lived.

And during these 10 years, Baby Easter Bunny would grow up real fast. In just 6 months, Baby Easter Bunny would be lots bigger than when Daddy and Mummy brought him back from the pet shop for Easter. His face might no longer be so round and lovable either. In fact, it might get distinctly long, just like human faces lose their baby fats and become leaner growing up. In other words, after 6 months of the long 10-year period, cute little Baby Easter Bunny might become bothersome ugly Easter Gift in the family's eyes.

What happens to Easter Bunny then? No longer cute, no longer interesting, Easter Bunny becomes an irritant given up for adoption, adding to the number of unwanted rabbits in Singapore.

This Easter, let us rethink the Easter Bunny hype. Hold off getting a bunny till after Easter, and see whether your child still feels the same way about getting his bunny pet without the festive temptation. An abundance of chocolate rabbits usually distract and satisfy children quite well.

In the meantime, find out more about these lagomorphs before deciding. And maybe you would want to check out the SPCA in your search for a wonderful, amusing, funny bunny.



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