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Binkies for Bunnies

Have you ever considered bringing a bunny into your family but didn’t know where to start? Well, you can start here, as York County SPCA Operations Director and resident rabbit expert, Kari Herchelroth, offers an overview of bunny care basics.

Kari worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician in small animal private practice for 9 years, after which she went on to found and lead the Veterinary Technician Program at YTI Career Institute in 2012. She spent seven years advancing the program as the Director. In 2017, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association recognized Kari with the Certified Veterinary Technician of the Year Award. Then, in 2019, Kari came to the York County SPCA to take on the critical role of Operations Director.

While working at YTI, Kari fostered numerous rabbits for the York County SPCA, one of whom became a foster fail and Kari ended up adopting. That sweet bunny, Graham, is now a happy senior who, despite some medical issues, is living out his golden years with Kari and her family. Her previous pet rabbits include Edgar (adopted from the YCSPCA), Poe (adopted from the Lancaster Humane League), and another YCSPCA alum, Honey Bunny – the first rabbit to steal Kari’s heart and make her fall in love with the small animal species. Check out what this bunny expert has to advise on owning a pet rabbit!

Rabbit Care 101

by Kari Herchelroth, YCSPCA Operations Director 

Rabbits are medium to higher maintenance pets. For their diet, rabbits require fresh green, leafy vegetables and Timothy hay daily. Pellets should only be a small part of their diet. They live an average of 7-12 years when they are well cared for, so they are a commitment similar to a dog. They are also very social, so treating them like one of the family and allowing them daily time out of the cage is important.

Typically, rabbits do not make great pets for very small children. They are prone to spinal injuries and stress-induced health issues, and they can bite and scratch.  Rabbits are on the delicate side and should be supervised when children are around.

While most rabbits do not like to be picked up, they will lay beside you (and sometimes on you!) for pets, scratches and cuddle time. Rabbits enjoy toys, chews, puzzles, exploration, and mental stimulation. Most rabbits do very well with litterbox training too! It is ideal to provide a space where a litterbox can be kept with bedding and Timothy hay to munch on, as well as a space with soft fleece (free from bedding) where they can relax. 

At the York County SPCA, we adopt out rabbits to indoor homes only. Like all of our animals, every rabbit is sent home already spayed or neutered. Since spaying and neutering rabbits is very high-risk and costly, we are proud to make pet rabbit ownership more accessible by adopting out already spayed or neutered rabbits for only $55.

To view the rabbits currently available for adoption at the shelter, please visit our Available Animals page.