Meet Cocoa Puff, the Giant Rabbit Who Is as Big as His Toddler Owner

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He's a very gentle giant — a continental giant rabbit, to be exact.

Cocoa Puff has been part of Lindsay Smith's Washington family for the past year and a half. Cocoa Puff doesn't live in a cage, she said, instead hopping around the house with 3-year-old Macy and 6-year-old Hunter.  

"We could not believe from day one how tolerant and how calm he was with my kids," Smith told InsideEdition.com.

Cocoa Puff has developed an especially strong bond with Macy, she said. 

"From day one, Macy and Cocoa Puff had a really special relationship. She would follow him around everywhere and he would let her cuddle with him and use him as a pillow. It brightened our home because everywhere Macy was, Cocoa Puff had to be."

Cocoa Puff is almost as big as Macy, which makes him "more of a playmate than a pet," Smith said. Continental rabbits can weigh between 16 and 25 pounds and be more than 3 feet long, with some getting even bigger than that, according to the pet site Rabbitpedia.

Cocoa Puff has taught the kids how to be gentle, too.

"I think she has become more of a caring and loving person because of him," Smith said of Macy.

But Smith wants families who are thinking of getting a pet rabbit to do their research. Rabbits are the third most popular pets in America after dogs and cats, but also the third most abandoned, according to the Humane Society of the United States and the House Rabbit Society, a nonprofit dedicated to rabbits.

People abandoning their pet rabbits is a year-round problem, but particularly around Easter, when some families are tempted to buy baby rabbits as presents for their kids without realizing how much care they require. Few families seem to know that a well-cared-for rabbit can live 10 years or more, and contrary to popular belief, rabbits should not be kept in small cages or hutches, according to the Humane Society.

Smith said her own family was surprised by how much care Cocoa Puff needs; they spend more than $200 per month on his food, and he can chew carpets and furniture. He also needs a lot of TLC. 

"I think a lot of people think of rabbits like hamsters: you take them out for 30 minutes a day and you feed them and that's it, but that is the exact opposite. Rabbits take more care than a dog or cat and they require so much attention," Smith said. "Especially with Easter coming up, I can't emphasize enough to do your research, to really make sure your lifestyle is in accordance with what a rabbit needs."

"They are not 'starter pets.' If you're thinking of getting a rabbit think twice, because they take a lot, a lot of work," she added.

The Humane Society recommends that families who want to have rabbits as pets adopt rather than shop for them, and have plenty of fresh veggies, a large enclosure and safe things to chew on. They need patience, socialization and affection, but can be skittish and shy, which may make them a difficult pet for young children to care for.

But even with all the work Cocoa Puff requires, Smith said her family can't imagine life without him.

"The love and interaction I see between Cocoa Puff and my kids is just priceless and you can't take that away. He's a part of our family," she said.

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