(Photo by Waltraud Grubitzsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

It’s that time of year again when people might be tempted to gift their little one with an adorable little chick or fuzzy bunny, but as they do every Easter, animal experts are saying, “Don’t.” That’s the word from vets like Dr. Jane Kelly, the president of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association. “Chicks, ducklings and rabbits make for bad Easter presents,” she says for openers.  “As adorable as they are, these animals are often returned or abandoned quickly when children lose interest in caring for them,” Dr. Kelly continues. She adds, “Small animals can also be injured when handled by children who don’t understand how to safely hold them properly or who may be startled by an animal moving or scratching them.” What’s more, she wants to remind people that the idea of having a full-grown chicken, or duck, a la Friends, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  “Remember, they do need a pond or other water source to be happy,” the doctor notes. “And those ponds tend to get messy and muddy. They’re not ideal for people with pristine lawns and lovely flower beds.” What’s more, they can be noisy for your nosy neighbors.

Even if you don’t actually buy your own live Easter animals, you should take care if your kids are spending any time with them. “Biting and scratching can also be issues, especially in the uncomfortable grip of a young child,” the vet reminds readers, and chicks and chickens can carry salmonella.

In short, play it safe: You can’t go wrong with Reese’s eggs and Marshmallow Peeps.

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