Bugs Bunny - innocent victim or an evil genius?

09/08/2012 12:00 BST | Updated 09/10/2012 10:12 BST

It's not every day you take on a global superstar. Certainly not in my job, as a humble RSPCA employee trying to do right by animals.

But there comes a time when you must take a stand, point a finger and say 'enough's enough'.

So that's why we're saying: "Oi, Bugs Bunny - put the carrots down!"

This is why: carrots in large amounts (or too often) are actually not good for rabbits. Carrots are sweet and very tempting for our little bunny friends - which is why they'll scoff any they get. But they're not naturally rabbit food - and are actually harming rabbits that get too many of them.

And there's more to worry about. In a recent poll, less than one in ten people knew that a rabbit's main food should be hay or grass. I'm not a great one for general knowledge myself, so I don't blame anyone for not knowing things - but that was a bit of a shocker.

Does it matter? To be frank, I'm afraid it does. Bad diet can increase the risk of flystrike, a nasty condition which can kill rabbits. It can also cause upset stomachs, and lead to other problems like their teeth growing too long and becoming mis-shapen. (Sorry again Bugs - but those amazing nashers of yours may be suffering because of all those carrots - maybe you should go see that ''Doc' of yours for a check up).


So a bad diet is just one of the things that 'bugs' a bunny. But there are plenty of others. Rabbits are amazing animals - but people tend to think of them as an easy pet to look after. They're not - they are costly, time-consuming and have complex needs - but can be very rewarding when looked after properly.

The RSPCA is on a journey to better understand the welfare needs of pet rabbits, and to help change the way, in some cases, they are looked after. Obviously there are many thousands of dedicated rabbit owners who know exactly what their rabbits should be eating, but unfortunately it's clear that there are many current and future owners who don't.

So we're asking What Bugs a Bunny? And hopefully Bugs himself will hold up his hands - paws - and say "Ehh, sorry doc, got it wrong!" Here's hoping! That's all folks.

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