A major surge in online searches for pet adoption of small companions has been reported in Bucks during 2020.
The RSPCA has revealed a 101% increase in searches for small companion animals - rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, on its website.
Figures covering March 2020 to January 2021 show the number of people searching for rabbits and guinea pigs using the ‘FindAPet’ search engine skyrocketed.
The RSPCA has cautioned that these small companion animals need special attention, especially at the start of their lives.
In total, 88 rabbits in Bucks found new homes via the RSPCA last year, but the charity advises that more animals still need to be relocated.
RSPCA rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “Rabbits and small furries are very misunderstood, they have complex needs and need a lot of care and attention. However, they are also very rewarding pets and given the right housing, socialising, diet and care they can become much loved members of the family.
“Adopting may take more time than just buying but it is more rewarding as often you are rescuing that animal from a history of mistreatment of neglect. It also means we are freeing up space in our centres so more needy animals can move in to receive the care they need.
“We have lots of information on our website to help support new owners and we also have the newly created The Good Practice Code for the Welfare of Rabbits.
“It’s really positive to see so many people are now searching for rescue animals as they become more aware this is an option and hopefully we can help find those less popular animals in our care the right home too.”
Two small creatures in need of help from caring Bucks residents have been introduced by an RSPCA spokesperson below:
"Cottontail is a one year old rabbit and he came into RSPCA care after living in poor conditions in a multi-rabbit household. Since arriving at Blackberry Farm Animal Centre his true personality has flourished. He likes to be around people and have a groom with a soft brush.
"He waits at his pod door every morning to greet you. Due to his nature he is suitable for a rabbit savvy family and children.
"Cottontail needs a large hutch and run with plenty of space for him to exercise with things to keep him occupied such as tunnels, gnaws and toys.
"They are all boys with lots of energy. They are looking for good sized accommodation and plenty of things to do in their housing to keep them busy.
"Please email a perfect match form today if you'd like to give them a home. Please arrange to send in an application form to [email protected]"