Generally, rabbits are not recommended for young children and are more suited for older children who are able to self-regulate their actions and understand the needs of rabbits. Rabbits are prey animals – most do not like to be picked up or chased around. A young child may find it difficult to respect a rabbit’s needs and boundaries.
When a rabbit feels threatened (e.g. chased around by young children), that is when they can become aggressive and may scratch or even bite as a reaction.
As most rabbits prefer to be left alone and occasionally come for treats and pets, children may lose interest in them quickly. Unsurprisingly, 80% of rabbits surrendered to rescues are gifts purchased for children.
However, many young children can co-exist with rabbits happily as long as the children are educated about the proper handling and interactions with rabbits. Adult supervision is required when children interact with rabbits.
Rabbits can be wonderful family pets if they have a responsible adult as their primary carer.
For more information on this topic:
House Rabbit Society Australian Chapter – Rabbits and Children
House Rabbit Society Australian Chapter – The Right Pet for your Child