ESRREC Adoption Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the adoption fee and what does it cover?

A: The adoption fee is $75 for a single rabbit and $100 for a bonded pair.  The fee partially defrays ESRREC’s costs for the rabbit such as food, hay, bedding, and medical attention. Most rabbits that we rescue are spayed or neutered while in our care, an expense that is not completely covered by the fee. We rely on donations and fundraisers.

Q: How long does the adoption process take?

A: We do not do “same day” adoptions.  The process generally takes three stages:

  • Initial Meeting: The family meets and interacts with the rabbit at the ESRREC outreach building or an adoption event. Families can fill out and submit the application form before or after the meeting.
  • Screening: Be willing to have a home visit (in person or virtual), mainly for advisory purposes.
  • If approved: Pick up the rabbit (must have all supplies ready, and bring a carrier), pay the adoption fee and digitally sign the adoption contract.  We now accept credit cards for the adoption fee.

Typically the preparation of supplies and scheduling of home visit requires about a week. If the adopting family has submitted an application and indicates they definitely want to adopt, we will put a hold on the rabbit(s).

Since the habitat can vary according to the rabbit’s needs, we recommend you hold off any major purchases until after the adoption meeting. An ESRREC volunteer can advise on suitable habitat, as well as the type of carrier.

The contract is signed digitally, but you can preview it here.

Q: Do I have to keep the rabbit indoors?

A: Our rabbits are socialized to be indoor pets, and therefore we will not adopt out a rabbit to anyone who intends to keep it in an outdoor hutch.  Please also refer to resources at concerning living requirements and advice for keeping a rabbit indoors. Limited and supervised outdoor time is acceptable.

Q: Can I adopt a rabbit as a birthday or Christmas present for someone else?

A: There are no “surprise gifts.” If the rabbit will be cared for by someone else (e.g., a younger family member), that person has to come to the first adoption appointment so that we can be sure they are ready for the commitment and that the rabbit is a good fit for them. And of course, it is an opportunity to make sure there is no allergic reaction. Adopters must be 18 years old minimum. If the parents adopt a rabbit for their son or daughter who does not meet the age requirements, they must be prepared to take responsibility and/or oversee the rabbit’s care.

Q: I have another rabbit, can I adopt a friend for him/her?

A: Rabbits that are bonded to others tend to live longer and healthier lives, so it is recommended and encouraged.  Bonded rabbits share the same space, including litter boxes, food bowls, water bowls, etc. However, not all rabbits get along and a bonding process is usually necessary even if they are compatible. You can bring the rabbit to the ESRREC shelter for an initial meeting with a potential friend.  If it goes well, we will bond the rabbits at no extra charge.

We have successfully bonded many rabbits, but it requires at least a week.  Even for experienced rabbit owners, bonding is more likely to succeed in a neutral location away from your rabbit’s “territory.” As we wish to ensure the safety of our rabbits, we do the bonding rather than allow adopters to take the rabbit home and bond themselves. However, after the rabbits return home with the adopter, some additional supervision will usually be needed.

We only allow attempts to bond ESRREC rabbits with those that are already spayed or neutered.  No exceptions.

To begin the process, please fill out an adoption application and email it to An ESRREC volunteer will follow up to discuss next steps.

Q: I don’t live on the eastern shore.  Can I adopt a rabbit from you?

A:  Since we do not do “same day adoptions,” adopters who come from long distances (e.g. two hours or more) must be prepared to visit first and then return a week or so later for the adoption.  Also, we usually would prefer to conduct a home visit in person.  However, we also conduct home visits virtually via FaceTime and Zoom.

Q: I want to adopt a rabbit from you that is less than 6 months old.

A: We do not adopt out rabbits until they have been spayed or neutered.

Please contact us at if you have any further questions.