Can you give these small furries a home?

PUBLISHED: 16:55 21 October 2019

Mama the rabbit. Picture: RSPCA Little Valley

Mama the rabbit. Picture: RSPCA Little Valley

Archant

There is no such thing as a 'starter pet', the RSPCA has said, while hundreds of misunderstood creatures are coming into its care.

Ronnie and Reggie. Picture: RSPCA Little ValleyRonnie and Reggie. Picture: RSPCA Little Valley

Last year (2018) the RSPCA rehomed 2,752 rabbits - about 340 a month.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, ferrets, chinchillas, hamsters are often seen as an easy, first pet for children.

However, it is important to remember small does not necessarily mean simple as they can have complex needs, says the animal charity.

Across England and Wales last year, the RSPCA rescued 4,081 rabbits and other small animals from cases of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment - including 108 in Devon.

Snow and Winter. Picture: RSPCA Little ValleySnow and Winter. Picture: RSPCA Little Valley

The charity dealt with a total of 381 incidents involving smaller furry animals in Devon during 2018.

The RSPCA is now shining a light on rabbits and smaller pets in its care which are looking for homes at Exeter's RSPCA Little Valley Animal Shelter.

Mama the rabbit:

This one-year-old bunny is quite shy with new people but once she knows you she will approach and happily take treats from your hand. She likes nothing more than sitting outside enjoying the sun so will have to be an outdoor rabbit, in either a hutch or shed and run or hutch or shed and free range garden. She is also a big fan of food, which makes it easier to build up some trust and a rewarding relationship. Her ideal home would be with a neutered male companion. Mama could live with children who have some rabbit experience or those who are calm when approaching animals.

Ronnie and Reggie the rats:

Ronnie is a Rex and a very sweet, confident boy who loves his food and will take treats off you very gently. Reggie is shy and will need a calm, quiet approach. He is very fastidious when it comes to cleaning and you will often see him grooming Ronnie or rearranging his bed. The ideal home for the pair, both 18 months old, would be with a family with some rat experience, who can provide them with a calm, quiet environment.

Snow and Winter the ferrets:

Very inquisitive, calm and intelligent, this pair, both one years old, would make a great addition to any family. These girls love nothing more than exploring and using their noses to sniff out any hidden morsels. They are easy to handle and quite laid back.

Beatrice and Gweneth the degus.

Beatrice and Gweneth are both four years old. Beatrice is brown and the most confident out of the two. She loves her food and is very inquisitive. Gweneth enjoys her wheel and is quite shy and timid. These lovely girls will need a quiet home and an owner who can give them the time and patience they need.

Visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet to find your paw-fect match.

Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA's rabbit and rodent welfare expert, said: "Many people think the RSPCA only rescues and rehomes cats and dogs but this is not the case.

"We see thousands of small furries coming into our care every year and often this is as a result of owners being unable to cope with caring for these animals who they thought would be easy to look after.

"Small furries can make great pets but they are often very misunderstood.

"One of the biggest issues we see with small pets such as these is people taking them on with little or no research, often buying them on impulse because their children have asked for them.

"This can lead to families struggling to cope once they realise the large amount of time, money and care these animals actually need.

"It used to be a common sight to see a lone rabbit in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden or a hamster in a tiny cage in the corner of a child's bedroom but hopefully these images are consigned to the past and people realise that these complex animals need so much more than that."

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