Can you find a home for 'small furries'?
PUBLISHED: 11:30 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:42 22 October 2019
The RSPCA is appealing for new homes for "small furries" - and warning animal lovers not to regard these as "starter pets".
The charity says it is rescuing hundreds of rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other small pets nationally every month. As part of its Adoptober campaign, it is asking more owners to offer these pets a fur-ever home.
Rabbits David Hasselhop, Lucy and Layla at the RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich branch's Martlesham centre and gerbils Greg, Gina, Gloria and Goldie in north Suffolk are among the pets who need a loving new owner.
Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA's rabbit and rodent welfare expert, said: "Small furries can make great pets but they are often very misunderstood. One of the biggest issues we see is people taking them on with little or no research, often buying them on impulse because their children have asked for them.
"This can lead to families struggling to cope once they realise the large amount of time, money and care these animals actually need."
Across England and Wales last year, the RSPCA rescued 4,081 rabbits and other "small furries" from cases of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment. This included 36 from Suffolk, and the charity also dealt with 197 incidents in the county involving smaller pets in 2018.
The charity's Martlesham centre is looking for new homes for David Hasselhop, a male rabbit who was found as a stray, and bunny friends Lucy and Layla, whose previous owner could no longer keep them.
Other small pets at Martlesham seeking homes include ferrets Poppy and Belle, who have been waiting for a home since January 2018, and Basmati and Paella. Both these pairs need to be rehomed together, and landed up at the centre after their owners couldn't keep them.
The RSPCA's Mid Norfolk and North Suffolk branch had 32 gerbils brought in after their owner couldn't cope. Some of them have been rehomed, but the branch still needs homes for others, including Greg and three females who get on well together, Gina, Gloria and Goldie.
The RSPCA stresses there is no such thing as a "starter pet". Dr Tyson added: "It used to be a common sight to see a lone rabbit in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden, or a hamster in a tiny cage in the corner of a child's bedroom, but hopefully these images are consigned to the past and people realise that these complex animals need so much more than that."
Last year, the RSPCA rehomed 66 rabbits in Suffolk, along with many other smaller animals.
If you are interested in rehoming a pet, you can contact the RSPCA at Martlesham on 0300 9997321, or the Mid Norfolk and North Suffolk branch on 0303 0401565.