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5 things you should know before getting a pet rabbit this Easter.

Rabbits make great pets — not-so-great Easter presents.

5 things you should know before getting a pet rabbit this Easter.

Every year, just after Easter, animal shelters like Chicago's Red Door are inundated with rabbits found outside. As it turns out, many of these abandoned rabbits were given as Easter presents.

Since Easter 2015, Red Door has taken in 83 pet rabbits abandoned outside after the holiday. And those are the lucky ones. According to shelter president, Marcia Coburn, many face a much worse fate, such as being attacked by predators or facing disease.

Simply put, the rabbits we bring into our homes aren't like the rabbits you might find hopping around your backyard. To "free" your pet rabbit is usually a cruel bunny death sentence.


And that number is just for one shelter. All photos from Red Door Animal Shelter/Facebook, used with permission.

But let's say you're set on getting a bunny. There are some basic things anybody considering getting a pet rabbit needs to know.

1. They're an 8-12-year commitment.

When given proper care, rabbits can live up to 12 years. So before you go out and pick up a cute and fluffy friend, make sure you're ready to give it the long-term love it needs.


2. You'll need to find a veterinarian who deals with exotic pets like rabbits (obviously), ferrets, birds, and mice.

"The medicine is completely different for them from cats and dogs," says Coburn. "Even some of the basic antibiotics they give cats and dogs can be fatal to a rabbit." That's why it's important to find a vet who knows what they're doing.

Oh, and it's really important that you get your pet rabbit spayed or neutered.


3. They're not exactly a great pet for little kids.

They don't like being picked up, they get very territorial, and they might not be the best choice of pet if you've got young ones living at home. Which is just one reason why bringing home an Easter rabbit for your kids is just not the best idea.


4. You can't keep rabbits caged up all the time — at least you shouldn't.

Yes, this means "bunny-proofing" your apartment, and yes, this means dedicating some time each day to the rabbit. "Rabbits are very social animals, and they need to interact with people down on the rabbit's level," Coburn adds.


5. They can't live on carrots.

Rabbits need to have fresh hay and salads. When it comes to carrots, however, that should be an occasional treat. "Bugs Bunny really did not do rabbits a favor because everybody thinks [they eat carrots], but really, it's the equivalent of us eating 20 Snickers bars," says Coburn.

Shelters like Red Door do everything they can to save these lovable creatures, and the best thing you can do to help is to think long and hard about whether a rabbit is right for you before getting one.

They're lovable creatures, and they deserve equally loving homes. Some peg the amount of rabbits purchased on Easter that end up being abandoned as high as 80%. Do your part and think through whether a rabbit is right for you before getting one.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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