In 2021, the PEI Humane Society saw a record-breaking 53 rabbits and 22 guinea pigs come into their care. But since the start of 2022, they have already seen more of these tiny critters than ever before!
Though guinea pigs tend to be adopted quickly and don’t usually spend long at the shelter, the rabbits could turn into a problem. Historically, rabbits spend an average of 46 days in care and the shelter is running out of space.
Ashley Travis, Development and Communications Coordinator for the PEI Humane Society says that the main reason people are hesitant to adopt is that they don’t know much about rabbits or guinea pigs, thinking of them mostly as barnyard animals or childhood pets.
“Rabbits make great household pets. They have distinct personalities. Some are cuddly, some are independent. If you spend time training them to use a litter box, they can even roam free around your home like cats do. They make great companions,” she says.
Another contributing factor to the large number of rabbits coming into the shelter is many are not being spayed or neutered, something Travis says is very important. “Rabbits can reproduce as young as 5 months old and they do not have a breeding season. A pair of rabbits can become a dozen quickly.”
The PEI Humane Society says that it is important to spay or neuter domestic rabbits. If that is not financially feasible, separating males and females is another option.
When it comes to guinea pigs, the shelter says that it is important they are kept in same-sex groups. Being social animals, it is recommended to have more than one, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t end up with a breeding pair as guinea pigs are not usually spayed or neutered and can have up to 8 babies at a time.
For more information on adopting a rabbit or guinea pig, visit www.peihumanesociety.com/tiny/