A RISE in interest of ‘starter pets’ during lockdown could lead to an increase in neglect due to their complex needs, says the RSPCA.
The message comes as the RSPCA reveals it dealt with 365 incidents involving small furry pets – including rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters – in the West Midlands last year.
Nationally, figures for people searching on Google for small pets to buy during lockdown soared compared to the year before, with searches for ‘rabbits for sale’ more than tripling from 18,000 in July 2019 to 65, 0000 in July 2020.
Searches for ‘hamsters for sale’ tripled from 10,000 in July 2019 to 30,000 in July 2020 and ‘guinea pigs for sale’ doubled from 19,000 to 40,000.
Dr Jane Tyson, from the RSPCA’s Companion Animals Department, said: “Small furries can be fantastic pets to have, however they have a reputation as a good ‘starter pet’ for children as there is a misconception that they are easy to look after, but they actually have quite complex needs.
“For example, rabbits need to live in pairs as they are sociable animals – and need a much bigger space to explore and exercise in than just a hutch.
“Adopting small furries from the RSPCA, either from our national centres or any of our branches, will mean you will have all the information and advice you need to ensure your new pets are happy and healthy.”