CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Nearly 80 percent of the bunnies and chicks that end up in shelters were given as Easter gifts.
Staff at the Southeast Missouri Humane Society say it happens every year.
People buy these cute babies with good intentions, but these animals have complicated needs of which people are not aware and some end up at the shelter.
People often make an "impulse buy" of an animal that they soon find out is a lot of trouble to care for.
"A lot of times with what we see after Easter is a grown bunny or a grown chicky that we can't readily place," she said. "So, we encourage people to not do it. Some people dye the baby chickens and the baby bunny rabbits and the dye is toxic. Again, I just don't think people are thinking it through."
Animal experts said the vast number of bunnies, chicks and ducks that are given as Easter gifts die within a few weeks, if not days.
Charlotte Craig said that if you are considering making one of these little guys a part of your family to think long-term.
"It's not a peep, it is not the candy that we call peeps. It's a real living being and it can get sick and often they do. They are so frail and often the stress of being handled and the environment are in, a lot of them simply die," Craig said.
She also said it is important to do your research.
Many of these animals require space.
Bunnies can live up to 10 years and the homes they live in should be pet-proofed by covering wires and expensive furniture.
If you do find a rabbit or duckling in your Easter basket this year and decide it's not the right fit, Craig said the best route is to contact your local animal shelter, do not release them into the wild.