SINGAPORE - A video showing a quartet of fluffy baby rabbits chilling out in drinking glasses has gone viral and sparked an online debate over their owner's actions.
The 1 min 19 sec clip, posted by their Singaporean owner who goes by the online moniker Ekdikisis, shows the four adorable 2.5 weeks-old blue eyed white bunnies either snoozing or peeking out from the glasses.
It was originally uploaded to Ekdikisis' YouTube account, which documents her experiences as a rabbit owner, on Dec 12.
US-based humour website Break subsequently put up the video on its Facebook page on Dec 19, with the caption: "Well, if you were looking for the most adorable thing on the internet today you just found it..."
The Facebook video has since been viewed close to 99 million times, with the post attracting nearly 1.2 million likes and more than 324,000 comments as of Sunday (Dec 27) afternoon.
But not all the comments were complimentary at first, with many condemning the act of putting the bunnies in glasses as tantamount to animal cruelty.
"Putting baby bunnies in a glass is not adorable," wrote Facebook user Arlene Stead-Halley, while Lynn Rabins described the video as "sick" and speculated that they were exhausted from trying to escape.
In the video, two of the bunnies are sleeping soundly, while a third dozes off towards the end. The fourth bunny is seen scrabbling around in its glass - which many claimed was "struggling" - and sticks its head out on several occasions.
The negative comments, however, were quickly drowned out by netizens who slammed them for overreacting. Several experienced rabbit owners also spoke out in defence of the video.
The top comment on Break's Facebook post, which has nearly 12,000 likes, read: "Because suddenly everyone on Facebook is an expert in animal cruelty right? Lmao stop your whining and enjoy the cute video, babies. If the animals didn't enjoy being in the glasses they would be trying to get out, they can easily poke their heads out but they quickly put it back down."
User Ashley Mia Peppas also pointed out that it was obvious most of the naysayers had never owned rabbits. "Anyone who thinks these little guys aren't capable of jumping out is purely stupid. Rabbits can get into and out of just about anything," she added.
Speaking to The Straits Times via e-mail, Ekdikisis, who declined to reveal her full name, also defended her actions.
She stressed that all her rabbits - she also owns four adult Holland Lops which she features regularly on her Instagram account - are "extremely well taken care of".
"What people who don't own rabbits or keep rabbits, especially babies, don't realise is that rabbits are prey animals," she said.
"So no matter what position you try to place them in, whether it's on their backs or in cups, if the rabbit is not comfortable you can never make or force them to feel at ease or even sleep as seen in the videos."
She told The Straits Times that one of the bunnies did jump out of the cup on its own, but she had not kept a recording of that.
Even so, Edikiksis cautioned other rabbit owners from trying to replicate what she did "as not every bunny will appreciate it".
"The bunnies in the video are well behaved, they don't struggle and are used to constant attention," she explained.
"As adorable as the pictures and videos of my bunnies are, I don't encourage anyone to copy it or go out and get one just because they look cute," she said.