Rescue centres in Bristol and across the UK are under pressure amid an influx of rabbits being put up for adoption.
Bristol Rabbit Rescue and Friends have received more than 200 requests to take in rabbits and other small animals in Bristol, reaching a crisis point after a surge in people surrendering their animals.
Rabbit co-ordinator, Wendy Lloyd, said: “Unfortunately, people haven’t done the right research and situations have changed. People are going back to work and children back to school, not researching the pet fully and understanding what their needs are and how much they’re going to cost.”
Wendy emphasised it is vital people research a rabbit’s needs before taking a pet on – including welfare, diet and veterinary treatment, which can be costly. Rabbits and other small animals such as guinea pigs and hamsters need a lot of attention – it is a myth that these animals make good first pets due to the level of care they need.
There are several stages in the adoption process at Bristol Rabbit Rescue and Friends. After getting in touch with the centre, adopters will have a discussion with one of the volunteers and then assess them for home support. After a home visit – currently made remotely via video link – adopters can reserve one of the animals. A fee of £75 is needed per rabbit and £30 per guinea pig to contribute towards their veterinary needs before they can be adopted.
Wendy added: “We do home checks for all of our adoptees. Before lockdown happened we used to do them personally to check accommodation. If they haven’t quite got the accommodation ready we can then advise them through recommendations of what they need to do and guide them through that process.”
Please note rabbits must either be bonded to an existing rabbit in the adopter’s home or they must adopt a pair, as they need companionship for life. Let’s take a look at some of the adorable creatures currently looking for a loving new home in Bristol and beyond.