Rabbits rule the roost at Brenda Coran's Colonial-style home in Derwood.
From a nylon banner covering the front door and white rabbit stencils on the bathroom walls to figurines sitting atop tables and shelves, and kitchen cabinets full of rabbit plates and glassware, bunnies are everywhere.
Rabbit-themed prints, paintings and needlepoint cover the walls from the living room to the kitchen. Stuffed bunnies of all shapes, sizes and designs perch along the backs of couches in the family room, just above pillows sporting the same theme.
There are bunny lamps and door knobs, rugs and wallpaper, tea cozies and a stool painted with a scene from the popular children's book "Guess How Much I Love You," by Sam McBratney.
Visitors who step into the second-floor master bedroom can even catch a glimpse of the real thing: Coran's two house rabbits, Marmaduke and Midnight, have free rein of the room.
At last count, Coran had about 500 rabbit-related items displayed about her home. That doesn't figure in the things she has given away in the three decades since she began her collection.
"Quite honestly, I'm sure that people think I'm crazy," said Coran, 58, a retired Montgomery County social worker. "I think this house is a grand hoot. I don't take it seriously. When I'm with other people who love rabbits as much as I do, it's a pleasure."
And please don't call her rabbits Easter bunnies. "They're Passover bunnies," said Coran, who is Jewish.
Though she doesn't celebrate Easter, Coran sees the holiday as the perfect time to advocate for her beloved bunnies. It pains her to think of the rabbits that may arrive in children's Easter baskets and end up abandoned at the local animal shelter.
Don't buy a rabbit unless you're willing to take care of it as you would any other pet, Coran warned. "They're serious animals and they have to be taken care of properly. They have to see the vet when they're sick."
Coran, who has kept six rabbits as house pets over the years, always treats hers as family members. Marmaduke and Midnight, lop rabbits that are kitty-litter trained, spend their days munching on dandelion greens, carrots and pellets in a ceramic dish spread near a small basket of hay in the master bedroom.
They hop about the spacious room, preferring to nestle on a bookshelf kept empty for them or under the large bed. The glossy black Midnight has been confined to a small metal cage recently while healing a back sprained after slipping on the floor.
Coran is a member and advocate of the House Rabbit Society, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that rescues rabbits from shelters before they are euthanized and finds them homes. Marmaduke and Midnight were adopted from the society, which has 32 chapters including one covering Maryland, the District and Northern Virginia.
Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet in the United States, following dogs and cats, according to the Web site of the society's local chapter.
"Parents have the best intentions when they purchase bunnies for their children," said Kathleen Wilsbach, of Baltimore, chapter manager. "What they don't realize is that rabbits are an eight- to 12-year commitment for parents, and that rabbits require as much attention and care as a dog or cat."
Coran's love affair with rabbits began 33 years ago when she and her husband, Paul, spotted some for sale as they were passing by a drugstore in Memphis, where the newlyweds were living.
They bought a New Zealand white rabbit, named it Wabbit and kept the bunny as a house pet for 10 years. Wabbit sparked a passion in Coran for all things rabbit; in the upstairs hall hangs a large, black-and-white portrait of the couple on their first wedding anniversary with Wabbit nestled between them.
Over the years, Coran has added to her collection with purchases she has made from stores and catalogues, and during her many travels with her husband, a 61-year-old labor lawyer, to such places as China, London and Santa Fe, N.M. Her two grown sons, friends and relatives also have fed the collection, picking up items they think she might like.
The pieces range from miniature figurines the size of a thimble to an 80-pound jade rabbit purchased during a trip to China three years ago. High-quality items such as Limoges and Waterford crystal figurines reside in the more elegant blue and white living room.
"We travel a lot, and I always buy rabbits. You can never be too rich or too thin or have too many rabbits," Coran said with a smile. "People always give me rabbits, but I don't like cutesy rabbits."
Although there's hardly a spare spot left for another rabbit item, Coran cannot imagine ever getting rid of her collection.
"I love them too much," she said. "They're just a part of life with me."