DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Easter is coming up in just a few days, and the SPCA of Texas wants to remind DFW parents that rabbits, chicks and ducklings make fantastic presents… if they are made out of chocolate or marshmallow. However, the organization does not recommend buying these cute and cuddly animals as pets for children.

It is a common mistake. The kids are preparing for Easter egg hunts. Parents are buying Easter baskets and bags filled with fake grass. And the kids are wondering what the Easter Bunny is going to bring this year. Many parents get sucked into the hype, and bring home a new Easter pet — rabbits and chicks and ducks may seem festive in the spring, but they are a year-round committment.

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“Pet ownership is not something to be entered into lightly,” the SPCA of Texas explained in a notice, “and it is important that the entire family make the decision to commit to caring for a pet.” The average lifespan for a rabbit, they said, is 7-10 years. Ducks live for about 8-12 years. Some chickens can live to be 25 years old.

Parents often bring these animals home on whim, the organization stated, and eventually turn them back over to shelters less than a year later. Most families are simply not prepared for the long-term responsibilities involved with caring for this type of pet. The SPCA of Texas said, “Rabbits, chicks and ducklings are not ‘low maintenance’ pets and are not a good choice for small children.”

While chicks and ducklings may look cuddly, they do not typically like to be held. They can feel scared when restrained, and they have fragile bodies that could be harmed if handled incorrectly. And rabbits require more rigorous care than a dog or cat. All three animals require special habitats and diets in order to stay healthy.

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Do your research before choosing to adopt a rabbit, chick or duckling. Before committing to one, make sure that they really are the most appropriate pet for your family and your lifestyle. And if it does not work out — which is usually the case — that is okay. Parents can always choose to buy a candy or plush version of these favorite springtime animals.

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