Spring has of ficially sprung! One of the cutest and most beloved trappings of spring is the Easter Bunny, which is the official mascot for the spring holiday. But just who is this mysterious rabbit, and where did these stories all start? A veterinarian discusses this historic—and adorable—mythical furball below.
The Easter Bunny tale is shrouded in bunny mystery. Some associate the folkloric rabbit with Eostre, the Saxon goddess of spring, to whom—depending on source and opinion—hares may or may not have been considered sacred. More recently, we have the German Lutherans ‘Easter Hare,’ a judge who determined if children had been good or bad. The good kids got toys and candy, delivered by—you guessed it—a bunny carrying a basket. (It’s also worth pointing out that bunnies actually can be very judgmental. This may be the most accurate bunny myth yet!)
Another Easter tradition that goes hand-in-paw with the Easter Bunny motif is that of colored eggs. As you may know, the egg is often associated with spring and fertility. Originally, Easter eggs likely got their pretty hues by being boiled with flowers. Nowadays, food coloring is usually used. Easter egg hunts are also still quite popular. If you do host one, be sure to collect all the eggs. This is especially important if you have a dog. Boiled eggs spoil fairly quickly. Unfortunately, this won’t stop our canine companions from eating them, which could result in an upset stomach.
Before the Easter bunny came along, we had the March Hare. You may have heard of the old saying ‘Mad as a March hare.’ This is likely associated with the aggressive—and sometimes unusual—behavior that hares may exhibit during their mating season. At this time of year, wild hares will punch each other, randomly jump for no apparent reason, or just generally act a bit silly.
We really can’t discuss the Easter Bunny without at least touching on the issue of bunny adoption and subsequent rehoming. This is a big topic at this time of year. It’s still common for people to adopt rabbits as Easter gifts for children. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that bunnies need lots of attention, and are little chewing machines. They often then get upset when Floppy gnaws on their things. This, sadly, ends up in scores of adorable rabbits being rehomed a few weeks or months after Easter. Adopt responsibly! Never adopt a rabbit—or any other pet—unless you’re committed to offering it great care–and lots of love–for the rest of its life.
Happy Easter! Contact us, your veterinary clinic, anytime!