It is getting close to the time of year when people think about bunnies, chicks and ducks as Easter gifts. Many feed stores and pet stores have them available right now.

But these creatures are not always a great choice as a present for children. They all require specialized care, especially as babies.

Rabbits are adorable, but are not always fond of being held. Keeping them in an outdoor hutch exposes them to danger from wild animals and to problems with extreme heat and cold. They are very smart animals and need attention and activity to keep them mentally and physically healthy.

Ducklings and chicks are very cute as babies, but they grow fast. And they are messy and sometimes noisy. They require a very secure area to be safe from predators, and daily cleaning, feeding and attention.

If you do a lot of research on these animals, you will find that caring for them takes quite a bit more than many people expect. So do your homework before bringing home an icon of Easter and spring.

Better still, adopt from a reputable animal shelter. Petfinder.com has any type of animal you can imagine available for adoption. And the shelters will advise you on any care question you may have.

Every year after Easter, shelters are inundated with throwaway pets that people tire of. So please make your decisions carefully, and, if at all possible, opt to adopt.

Phyllis Flint

Hollis Center