By John McDevitt

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Giant rabbits bigger than small dogs or children? They do exist — and they are becoming becoming popular pets.

If you see a picture of these hefty bunnies, you might say it’s been Photoshopped. But it’s true: giant Flemish rabbits and giant German rabbits can grow to be around 30 pounds.

They were first bred in Belgium in the 16th century for fur and meat.  Today, in this country, they are sold mostly as pets.

Elizabeth Yerger, an educator at the Elmwood Park Zoo, in Norristown (Montgomery County), Pa., says the rabbits make great pets.

But, she quickly adds, you need to know what you’re getting into.

“They need a lot of exercise, they need a lot of room to run, and they are very very delicate — their spines are very delicate — so this is not a bunny you are going to carry around,” she said.  “You can see that we have ours on harnesses to run around, kind of like a dog.  But they are very snuggly, and they call them ‘gentle giants.'”

She adds that they can be litter-trained.

Elmwood Park Zoo has three of the giant rabbits that it takes on the road to area school and nursing homes as education ambassadors.

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