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Hire a Rabbit in 2023

30 January 2023

It’s not just dogs and cats that we work with here at Urban Paws. In fact, we can source almost any animal that you may need for your creative brief, whether it’s a fish, a bird, or any other animal!

It may be a surprise to learn that one of the more popular animals used in media productions is rabbits. Whether it’s an advert for television, a photoshoot, or a film set, many producers and directors opt for rabbits as part of their creative briefs – and for good reason.

Rabbits are very versatile animals and are easy to work with on set, especially when you hire a professionally trained animal.

2023 offers many opportunities for brands to hire rabbits for their productions, even more so than every other year. Want to find out more about what it’s like to work with rabbits, what they symbolise, and why you should hire one? Carry on reading!

Handling rabbits on set

Rabbits can be really good to work with on media sets, but it does depend on the specific rabbit and the conditions of the set. We work with rabbits that have been trained for use on a variety of sets and that are used to being handled by people, so you can expect our rabbits to be consummate professionals!

Rabbits are generally gentle and adaptable animals and this can make them easy to work with on a film or TV set. They can also be trained with positive reinforcement to perform a variety of tricks and behaviours, such as hopping through obstacles or retrieving objects, that can add an extra touch of charm to any production.

However, there are certain challenges that come with working with rabbits on a film or TV set. Some inexperienced rabbits can be skittish and easily frightened, which can make them difficult to work with.

It’s also important to ensure that the rabbit is comfortable and safe on the set, and for this reason we stipulate that rabbits can only be handled by experienced handlers or people who are comfortable and confident handling small animals.

When to hire rabbits

There are many events over the course of the year where a brand tie-in with rabbits makes sense. And in 2023, there are actually more events and opportunities than in most years!

Here are some examples of the periods in 2023 that have themes that link with rabbits. But remember, brands can utilise rabbits at any time of the year and they don’t need to just wait for tie-in events.

Lunar New Year of the Rabbit

22nd January 2023 marked the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit in the Lunar New Year which lasts until February 5th 2024. Rabbits symbolise prosperity and good luck in the lunar calendar – a perfect excuse to hire one for your production set!

There are other benefits to hiring rabbits for your set too, aside from their performance abilities and what they symbolise in the lunar calendar. Rabbits are gentle animals and are known for their adorable, cuddly appearance, making them excellent companions on set.

Combine their looks with their calming presence and you have the makings for a very pleasant experience for all involved when working – provided you are using an experienced rabbit with a knowledgeable handler.

So as we welcome the Year of the Rabbit, we would like to invite, bookers, producers and directors to consider hiring a rabbit performer in their next project.

Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day has long held an association with rabbits thanks to their reputation as symbols of fertility and love. They can be used in a variety of settings, such as romantic photo shoots or Valentine’s Day-themed advertisements.

Rabbits have a natural charm that makes them the perfect addition to any Valentine’s Day celebration, and they can also be trained to perform a variety of tricks and behaviours for a touch of magic to your Valentine’s Day celebration.

We have examples on our website of productions that we have supplied rabbits for in the past, including one production for the well-known British adult brand Ann Summers.

This production just happened to be for Christmas, but a Valentine’s Day shoot would also have been suitable with the brand’s associations with ‘rabbits’, playing into both the animal and the brand’s themes while also suggesting symbols of sensuality and pleasure.

Easter

Is there any time of the year more associated with rabbits than Easter?

The Easter bunny has been a character in western cultures for hundreds of years, bringing joy to children with adorable bunnies and their gifts of chocolate and Easter egg hunts.

But rabbits also offer a very traditional representation of Easter at the same time, which can be created when brands use realistic and conventional rabbits as opposed to extraordinarily fluffy breeds like lionhead or angora rabbits.

Ever wonder why rabbits have an association with Easter in the first place? It actually comes from Germany and Paganism, where rabbits would be symbols of rebirth and fertility for the spring season. This eventually combined with Christianity and Easter and the associations have stuck around to this very day.

Significance of rabbits

Rabbits can signify many different themes depending on the cultural context. This even applies to different colours of the animals themselves, which some cultures believe have special significance.

White rabbits, for example, are associated with innocence and discovery. You can thank the white rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland for that!

And there’s also the association with luck that white rabbits have too. This association with good fortune comes from Celtic mythology and carrying lucky rabbit’s feet, and the superstition has remained prevalent in many different ways – one of which is that people say ‘white rabbit’ three times on the first day of the month for good luck!

Other coloured rabbits have different associations. Black rabbits represent mystery and magic, and blue/grey rabbits represent hope and guidance.

In terms of working with talents, the difference between different coloured rabbits is purely superficial and so you can expect any experienced working rabbit to behave regularly regardless of its colour.

Rabbits in films and other media

Rabbits have been used in a variety of media sets, including films, television, and advertisements. And then we also have major cultural milestones in British media with rabbit characters that include Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, and Watership Down.

Here are a few examples of media sets and campaigns that have utilised real-life rabbits:

  • “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk” – This chocolate brand often uses images of real rabbits as part of their marketing campaigns, tying in with their Easter chocolate bars/eggs.
  • “Alice in Wonderland” – the 1951 animated film may have used cartoon rabbits, but the designers had real-life rabbits on hand to reference their movements and appearance when drawing them.
  • “Us” – This Jordan Peele hit horror film utilised a whopping 110 rabbits on set! They had multiple animal wranglers on hand to help keep them all in line, and they were very pleased with their performance!

There are thousands of examples that we could give, but we hope that each of these examples showcases something different and proves that animals can be exceptionally versatile creatures on different sets.

Rabbit hire at Urban Paws

Our team at Urban Paws can provide a selection of trained and experienced rabbit performers that are sure to bring a touch of charm and class to any production.

And finally, from all of us at Urban Paws, we wish you a happy lunar new year and a successful Year of the Rabbit!

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