Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here


Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Our Chocolate Rabbit Habit

Most people eat this part of the bunny first

spinner image Chocolate bunnies
More than 28,000 Americans participated in the survey.
Getty Images

It happens every spring, researchers say: A disturbing epidemic of rabbit auricular amputations.

Or, in layman’s terms, biting off the ears of our chocolate Easter bunnies.

As it turns out, a new study — by an ear, nose and throat doctor, naturally — looks at our preferences for deforming the chocolatey critters. It notes that an online survey of more than 28,000 Americans reveals that 59 percent of us eat the ears first. About 4 percent start at the other end with the feet or tail, while 33 percent are indiscriminate nibblers — meaning, they have no preference where they start, as long as their teeth meet chocolate.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

The research was led by. Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D., chairman of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who said the topic was a natural. “In the end, we’re talking about ears,” she told the New York Daily News. The study was published in The Laryngoscope.

Yaremchuk and her colleagues used Google online search data from 2012 to 2017 and found evidence of increased reports of “confectionary rabbit auricular amputation” (aka biting off chocolate bunny ears) in late March through mid-April for each of the years studied.

They also used mapping techniques to determine that these amputations peaked around Easter and that — shocker — adults and children seemed to be wholly responsible for the missing appendages.

Yaremchuk acknowledged the research was tongue-in-cheek, but said the researchers did note one interesting anomaly: Few other holiday confections, such as Santa, undergo the same type of specific anatomical amputations like chocolate bunnies do.

Or as Yaremchuk put it, “People don’t report eating Santa’s face.”

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

Join AARP today for $16 per year. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.