Giant rabbits looking for a loving home
THEY may be named after some famously small film characters.
But these cute bunnies will soon grow into giants.
These furry friends are named after the seven dwarfs, but are actually giant rabbits.
The four-month-old bunnies are just some of the 13 rabbits currently awaiting homes at the RSPCA in Clough Road, north Hull.
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Charity workers are hoping to find them loving new homes and teach people about being responsible owners during Rabbit Awareness Week.
"They make excellent pets," said manager Alison Ripley.
"They love interacting with people and other rabbits and like to be groomed and stroked.
"They are also very intelligent creatures – you can get a lot from owning them."
The rabbits pictured here are from a group of eight that were living at the centre.
The eight were named after the seven dwarves with the last being called Patience.
Doc and Sneezy have already found a home – leaving Patience, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy and Sleepy.
Giant rabbits will grow bigger than normal rabbits and can become bigger than a cat.
As a result, they need bigger places to live and suit a shed with an attached run.
Tips on how to properly look after rabbits will form part of Rabbit Awareness Week, which runs from Monday, September 17, to Sunday, September 23.
Alison said: "With the week, we want to try to improve the welfare of rabbits.
"Often, we find people put them in the hutch and leave them.
"We get a lot of rabbits left in fields because the kids get bored or the family goes away on holiday and can't be bothered.
"But domesticated pets don't know how to look after themselves in the wild."
Alison says rabbits who have been raised by humans have not been taught about predators and how to fend for themselves.
They are also less immune to diseases, which they have not been exposed to in a hutch.
"Rabbits are just like any other animal in that they have their own individual needs," said Alison.
"In summer, we find they also get a lot of fly-strike.
"Flies get on them and lay eggs in their fur.
"People need to be aware, especially in the warmer weather, they need to keep a close eye on their rabbit.
"It isn't a pet you can stick in the hutch, leave in the bottom of the garden and forget about."
Alison says a lot of the rabbits at the centre are left over from a famous Hull court case last summer.
In 2011, pet shop owner Ray Scott, who ran R and A Pets and Garden Centre in Holderness Road, was convicted of seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
He denied mistreating animals and collected dozens of signatures for a petition in a bid to clear his name.
But he was found guilty of failing to give the animals a nutritious diet or seek treatment for those that were sick.
He failed to look after guinea pigs and rabbits, many of which ended up at the RSPCA in Clough Road.
Alison said: "Unfortunately, it is a year on and we still have a lot of the rabbits from that case left over.
"We want to spread the message that rabbits can be very good pets if looked after properly.
"That is why we are holding the awareness week – we will have information on what to feed them and what size hutches they need, etc.
"One of our volunteers is disabled and has house rabbits.
"They make really good companions for her.
"They are in the house and their needs are easy for her to manage.
"They enjoy strokes on her lap and are a joy for her to look after."
As part of Rabbit Awareness Week, pet owners and those wanting to adopt a rabbit are encouraged to call into the centre during opening hours.
On the weekend of September 22 and 23, RSPCA staff will be at Pets At Home in Anlaby to give advice.
Staff would prefer to rehome the rabbits in pairs as they are creatures which prefer company.
For information about adopting them, visit www.rspca-hulleast riding.org.uk or call 01482 341331.