Nelson SPCA staff member Trudi Black tends to Eddie, who is just one of the rabbits needing a new home. Photo: Kate Russell.

SPCA hopping with unwanted rabbits

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Nelson’s SPCA has gone to the rabbits.

As of last week, they had a total of 24 homeless rabbits and are looking for animal lovers to consider adding one to their family.

That number includes the maximum 16 that can fit in their small animal barn, plus another eight at staff member Trudi Black’s house.

She’s taken in a mummy rabbit and her seven babies, which are just weeks old, until there is room for them at the centre.

Manager Donna Walzl says they also had to turn away another seven baby rabbits on Friday morning which are the result of a “rogue” male rabbit making its way into a female’s cage.

“This is not normal. We’re at full capacity. We’ve also been asked by the Canterbury SPCA to take some of their rabbits – so it’s not just us.”

Trudi suspects one of the reasons for the boom in the rabbit population is because rabbit owners are not desexing their fluffy friends.

“A lot of them come to us as strays, too. Whether they escape, or people are releasing them, we don’t know.”

Trudi says that many people don’t realise that rabbits, like any pet, require a lot of work and attention.

“Their space needs cleaning daily, they require a specific diet of around eighty percent hay and grass with few to no pellets, and a hutch is not enough – they need space to run and play.”

Many of the rabbits are bonded over a three-week period and adopted out as male/female pairs.

“Rabbits should always be in pairs, they are a social animal and love to be around people, too. They are intelligent animals and need enrichment and mental stimulation.”

SPCA Nelson’s small animal barn opened last March, and Trudi says they wouldn’t be able to cope with this many rabbits without it.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant.”

And it’s not just rabbits that need homes, they have a steady influx of puppies and kittens, too.

Trudi says if you are dealing with rabbits that need rehoming, using platforms such as Trade Me and Facebook pages is a good start.

All rabbits at the Nelson SPCA come desexed and are $50 to adopt. They will allow 2-3-week trial period to make sure it is the right pet for you.