Easter is a happy holiday to celebrate with your family. It’s also the time baby chicks, ducklings and bunnies are born. These animals are precious to look at and adorable to hold, and many people rush out and purchase or adopt these cute creatures, thinking that they’ll make great pets. Unfortunately, these little animals don’t stay little forever, and many new pet owners are disappointed when their tiny bundles grow up into big, often-messy, time-consuming burdens. So if you are considering getting a bunny, chick or duckling this Easter, think twice. You may want to stick with the chocolate versions of these animals and appreciate them instead by learning these fun facts.

Baby chicks and ducklings each have an egg tooth — a small protuberance at the tip of the upper beak — to help them break out of their eggshells at hatching, since their beaks and claws aren’t developed enough to penetrate the shell. This egg tooth falls off a few days after hatching.

Baby bunnies nurse from their mothers only once a day for about five minutes for about three to four weeks. They start to eat small amounts of solid food after about one to two weeks of age.

Newborn ducklings (and geese and turkeys) undergo the phenomenon of imprinting, in which they form a bond with their mother (or anyone they see as their mother, including humans) instantly after hatching when they start to walk. Studies suggest that this imprinting period lasts about 24 to 48 hours after hatching.

Chickens may live as long as eight to 12 years (with some reported to live as long as 20 years!) but are able to lay eggs for only five to seven years.

Ducklings should be kept warm and dry for the first three to four weeks of life until they have feathers. Ironically, they shouldn’t be placed in water, or they can drown. This is because ducks and other waterfowl have a preen gland at the base of their tails that spreads waterproofing oil over their feathers. Ducklings, however, aren’t born with a functioning preen gland and depend on the mother duck to spread oil from her gland onto their feathers. Ducklings without a mother will not have this waterproofing and will be unable to swim safely, even in a shallow dish of water, for anywhere from four to 12 weeks.

Bunnies’ teeth grow continuously throughout life. They should be given wooden toys and blocks to chew on to help wear their teeth down. If they don’t properly wear down their teeth, they can develop dental problems.

Rabbits don’t see well at night, as their retinas lack a structure called a tapetum, which in other animals’ eyes amplifies light that enters the eye.
If, after reading this, you still think one of these pets is right for you, talk with your veterinarian first and educate yourself on how to care for, house, feed and interact with these adorable creatures to ensure that they will be a happy, healthy and long-term member of your household.

More on Vetstreet: