Animal sanctuaries in the Midlands are being overwhelmed by a boom in abandoned rabbits.
The Small Animal Advisory Service (SAAS), RSPCA and Rabbit Rescue Centres throughout the country are reporting a surge in the number of rabbits being abandoned this winter.
Tracy Wadsworth, of Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue in Rugby, said she was alarmed by the rapid increase in numbers after taking in 22 baby bunnies in the last week alone.
She said: "Everyone in the Midlands is full to the gills. We usually see an influx around the start of December when the weather starts to change, but this year has seen an incredible increase in numbers."
Nick Thomas, pet health and care expert at the SAAS, said there were two major factors contributing to the unusual seasonal increase in abandoned rabbits.
"With increased numbers of rabbits being purchased and re-homed during the Easter period, the novelty often wears off as the year progresses.
"The large majority of shop-brought rabbits, and occasionally rescued rabbits, are not neutered and therefore unexpected litters often result," he said.
"It's also the time of year that owners like to be warm and cosy indoors. Making the trek out into the back garden to feed, clean and play with the pet rabbit is not as fun as it was in the summer."
The SAAS works to educate people on keeping rabbits suitably. It encourages people to think about the commitment before offering a home and to avoid rabbits becoming unwanted or neglected.