THE RSPCA is urging for people in Dorset to consider adopting small pets which have been left behind and need special care and attention, after the demand for animals skyrocketed during lockdown.

The charity saw a 101 per cent increase in searches for small companion animals - rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters - on its website’s ‘FindAPet’ search following the first year of the pandemic (March 2020 number 43,758 compared to their January 2021 number 87,974.)

This increase in demand has meant 2,080 rabbits were found new homes by the RSPCA in 2020, including 59 in Dorset, however the charity says some are still waiting to find their perfect home.

For example, some of the many small pets currently waiting to be adopted are Viennetta and Magnum (pictured) who are being cared for by the team from the RSPCA Dorset branch at Taylor’s Rehoming Centre near Dorchester.

Viennetta is a brown silver fox adult female and Magnum a brown lop-eared young adult.

The pair of rabbits have recently bonded and the branch say they will need an experienced owner who is confident with handling them as they can both wriggle a lot.

RSPCA rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “Rabbits and small furries are very misunderstood, they have complex needs and need a lot of care and attention. However, they are also very rewarding pets and given the right housing, socialising, diet and care they can become much loved members of the family.

“Adopting may take more time than just buying but it is more rewarding as often you are rescuing that animal from a history of mistreatment of neglect. It also means we are freeing up space in our centres so more needy animals can move in to receive the care they need.

“We have lots of information on our website to help support new owners and we also have the newly created The Good Practice Code for the Welfare of Rabbits.

“It’s really positive to see so many people are now searching for rescue animals as they become more aware this is an option and hopefully we can help find those less popular animals in our care the right home too.”

For more information on rehoming and rescuing animals visit the RSPCA's website or call 0300 123 8181.