Rabbits are very calm and adorable creatures. But sometimes, their sudden biting and attacking behavior can worry their owners. So, the question arises are rabbits aggressive? What makes a rabbit aggressive? How can we deal with them? Let’s find it out.
Rabbits are not aggressive by nature. However, stress, pain, or sudden environmental changes can make your rabbit aggressive. Grunting, growling and flattened ears are signs of aggression in your rabbit. Provide a stress-free environment and develop a bond with rabbits to prevent such issues..
This article will discuss the causes and signs of rabbit aggression. Also, how can we prevent this behavior in rabbits? Let’s find it out.
- 1 Aggression in rabbits.
- 2 What makes a rabbit aggressive?
- 3 How to know that my rabbit is aggressive?
- 4 How to prevent aggression in your rabbit?
- 4.1 Stop giving stress
- 4.2 Health checkup
- 4.3 Neutral or spayed
- 4.4 Housing
- 4.5 Proper diet
- 4.6 Wash off your hands and change clothes before interacting with your rabbit
- 4.7 Approach your rabbit when they are active
- 4.8 The right way to pick
- 4.9 Learn to approach your rabbit
- 4.10 Build a bond with your rabbit
- 5 Conclusion:
Aggression in rabbits.
Rabbits are non-territorial animals. They are not born with an aggressive attitude. However, 99% of rabbits’ aggression is behavioral issues, which can be chance by giving a chance to them.
Your rabbit can suddenly become aggressive because of stress or boredom and may result in attacking and biting you.
Usually, healthy and happy rabbits do not show aggression. However, they are prey animals by nature. Therefore, even a friendly rabbit can attack by biting, lunging, or sharp nipping if they feel threatened.
Many members of the domestic rabbit society believe that aggressive rabbits are much more intelligent to express themselves. Also, aggression in rabbits can be a sign of help.
Rabbits usually don’t express pain and suffer in silence, which is a cause for concern. If your friendly and happy rabbit suddenly becomes unfriendly, then there is a sign of some serious problem. There can be a possibility that they are suffering from severe health issues like legs, teeth, and gastrointestinal stasis.
Staying in the cage for hours can also make a rabbit aggressive. Therefore, allowing them to roam freely in safe areas of the house is essential.
What makes a rabbit aggressive?
Rabbits don’t spontaneously become aggressive. Additionally, your rabbit might not enjoy certain circumstances or environmental factors.
Rabbit’s aggression stems from a place of fear. Therefore, they defend themselves and may have past trauma. In addition, they may have experienced living in a cage their whole life, depending on where you rescued or adopted them.
Also, here are some other reasons behind the aggressive behavior of your rabbit.
Stress can be the primary cause of aggressive behavior in rabbits. Suddenly changes in the environment can stress your rabbit and lead to aggressive behavior.
Stress can be caused by introducing something new or altering a rabbit’s environment, such as moving to a new home or cage, going to the veterinarian, or taking a car ride.
Bringing a new baby or another household pet can also cause stress for rabbits.
If your rabbit appears nervous by raising with ears flat against its body, being jumpy, and bulging out its ears, it indicates that they are stressed.
Rabbits’ aggressive behavior may also be a signal for assistance. You should think about taking your rabbit to the veterinarian for a health checkup if it was previously friendly but suddenly becomes unfriendly.
Prey animals include rabbits. They experience silence and an inability to express their emotions. They typically make an attempt to hide their pain, whether it be back, leg, or gastrointestinal pain.
Additionally, signs of illness, severe infection, or disease in your rabbit may include a lack of appetite, low energy, or small stools.
Rabbits are prey animals. They might perceive you as a threat and attempt to run when you try to pet or pick them up.
Aggression can also result from fear. For instance, if you suddenly approach your rabbit, it might become frightened and attack you to protect its territory.
Because rabbits have nowhere to escape when kept in a cage, they tend to act aggressively in those conditions.
Because rabbits have a blind spot directly in front of their noses, they may become startled and bite you if you try to make sudden movements in that area.
Additionally, avoid attempting to pick your rabbit by its behind. Rabbits frequently become frightened or feel threatened, at which point they may bite or nip at your hand violently.
Raging hormones can cause aggression in both male and female rabbits.
Those rabbits who are not spayed or neutered can become much more territorial.
Since only females defend their young in the wild, female rabbits are the most aggressive in defending their territories.
Your rabbit will show aggression due to hormonal changes if they are pregnant or just pretending to be pregnant (false pregnancy).
False pregnancy occurs when your rabbit becomes moody and shows nesting behavior. This behavior can make your rabbit aggressive.
Some rabbits take great care to protect their living spaces. They prefer always having a fresh, clean environment around them. They may become aggressive if their living space is overcrowded, unclean, or lacks stimulation.
Rabbits dislike being confined to a small space. They don’t have enough room in their hutch or cage. Additionally, they may grow restless and hostile if they do not have enough space to engage in activities like running, digging, jumping, etc.
Additionally, if your rabbit has spent hours in a cage that is too small, it may become irritable and behave aggressively.
Some rabbits can sometimes get overly excited about their food. They accidentally bite you when you put their food bowl in their cage; they are not meant to be aggressive.
To maintain happiness and a long, healthy life, rabbits need a nutritious diet that contains all the essential vitamins and minerals.
A rabbit’s primary dietary requirement is hay. Without regular access to it, your rabbit may experience health issues like ingrown teeth and gastrointestinal stasis.
Similarly, not providing enough green vegetables can result in a number of deficiencies that can cause discomfort and health issues, which causes aggression in rabbits.
Also, read: Can Rabbits Eat Spinach?
Bond with the rabbit
If you two have not properly bonded, your rabbit may also become aggressive.
Your rabbit will feel alone and afraid around you if you don’t build a trusting relationship with it, which could result in aggressive and territorial behavior once more.
Also, if your rabbit bites you whenever you try to give them their food, you can sprinkle their favorite food (like pellets) on the floor near you. You can do this for a few days to build trust and slowly allow them to approach you. Doing this will make them comfortable and even eat from your hand too.
Picking the rabbit in the wrong way
Some rabbits dislike being picked up by their owners because it makes them feel stressed and threatened.
Being prey animals, rabbits can be very stressed. For instance, your rabbit might become frightened and attack you if you attempt to pick it up from behind.
If you believe that aggressive behavior in rabbits is developed because of fear or anxiety, you must try to approach gently towards them so that they do not see you as a threat.
You can also gently pet them when they are eating their treat. However, if your rabbit doesn’t allow you to pet them, you may need to spend more time with them.
How to know that my rabbit is aggressive?
To help us understand how they are feeling, rabbits frequently prefer to demonstrate their feelings through body language.
When others are nearby, domestic rabbits occasionally display overt signs of aggression ( humans or other animals).
A physical attack by biting, scratching, or kicking may occur if you miss or disregard their early warning signs. They typically give warnings.
Before attacking, your rabbit may display some signs of aggression.
- Flattened ears
- Bared teeth
- Intent eye contact ( their pupils become wide)
- Upright, alert posture (sitting up on their backsides or hips)
- Thumping the ground with their back feet
Once you know why your rabbit is acting like that, you may help them to overcome their aggressiveness by working with them.
Also Read: Why Is My Rabbit Biting?
How to prevent aggression in your rabbit?
The essential thing to remember while dealing with a territorial rabbit is to avoid being violent with them. Your rabbit can be stressed or suffering from pain if it shows aggressive behavior. In addition, they can be unhappy because of their current condition, so you must deal with them calmly.
Though it takes patience and some time to make a strong bond with your aggressive rabbit, you can change its behavior by analyzing its overall surroundings as soon as it shows signs of aggressiveness.
Once you determine the cause of your rabbit’s behavior, you can work with them to change it. Here are some strategies to stop your rabbit’s aggression:
Stop giving stress
Ensure that your rabbit lives in a stress-free environment.
In rabbits, stress increases aggressiveness, leading to other health problems such as gastrointestinal stasis.
Therefore, it is crucial to make sure there are no predators inside the home, no unexpected changes to their environment, or any other animal interactions that might result in stress or anxiety.
Rabbits are prey animals. They usually hide their pain, so they do not appear weak in front of others.
However, if your rabbit is in pain or has underlying health issues, it may exhibit aggressive behavior if something irritates them.
So, regular health checkups are essential for a rabbit’s happy life. Even a healthy rabbit needs a health checkup from the vet once a year.
Neutral or spayed
Your rabbit’s hormonal and territorial behavior can be greatly reduced by spaying or neutering it.
However, don’t expect your rabbit’s behavior to improve overnight. After surgery, it takes roughly a month for the body to establish its raging hormones.
Staying in a cage or hutch is not a natural habitat for rabbits. And it can be the most stressful element for them.
Rabbits need a free space to jump, hop, and roam freely in safe areas.
They dislike spending extended periods of time confined in a tiny cage. So ensure your rabbit has free access to your home so they can do their daily business. You can provide a large cage or pen for your rabbit.
Also read: Can Rabbits Roam Freely In The House?
No health or dental issues may annoy your rabbit. However, they may create aggressiveness if they are fed enough food that they require.
As a result, ensure your rabbit is getting well-balanced food. Providing high-fiber foods like hay, vegetables, and leafy greens is the most significant way to keep them occupied, healthy, and stress-free.
A staple food diet of a rabbit includes 85% hay, 5% pellets, and 5% fruits and vegetables.
Wash off your hands and change clothes before interacting with your rabbit
Your bunny may become aggressive if you have interacted with other animals or rabbits. Some rabbits, for example, can become alert by the smell of other rabbits or animals.
Therefore, changing your clothes and washing your hands before interacting with a rabbit if you have been around them is imperative.
Approach your rabbit when they are active
Rabbits have a different sleeping schedule than humans. Most of the rabbits are fully active in the morning and at night.
They always try to find a dark and cold spot (e.g., under a bed or couch ) to sleep peacefully.
When your rabbit is sleeping, try not to disturb them. They always look for a cool, dark place to sleep, like under a couch or bed. They don’t want anyone to bother them at that time.
The right way to pick
A cage is the safe territory of rabbits. But if you suddenly try to drag or make them out, they may attack you by biting or nipping your hand sharply.
So, it is essential not to pick your rabbit from the cage. Instead, let your rabbit escape by opening the cage door. Always move slowly toward them so that they know your presence.
Learn to approach your rabbit
You may have seen your rabbit’s aggressive behavior whenever you approach them. This happens because rabbits can’t see from the front, and you may appear as a threat to them.
All rabbits have a blind spot in front of their nose. Therefore, they may get frightened if you make a sudden moment in front of their nose, which results in biting.
Since rabbits’ eyes are on the side of their heads, they cannot see clearly in front of them. If you try to approach one, they will run away because they will see a large shadow approaching them.
Consequently, whenever you want to pet them, always approach them slowly from the sides so they can see your hand.
Build a bond with your rabbit
Make an effort to establish a positive relationship with your rabbit. If you spend time with them and play with them, your rabbit will adore you.
Some rabbits can behave aggressively, but it is essential to handle them calmly. If you try to punish your rabbit physically, it will become afraid of you and run away.
Also, please don’t pick up your rabbit forcefully to have a bond or to create trust and make them feel comfortable and secure with you. Instead, sit quietly on the floor and wait for the rabbit to approach you.
- Rabbits are not aggressive by nature.
- Sudden changes in the environment can develop territorial behavior in rabbits.
- Pain and stress are the primary reasons behind aggression in rabbits.
- The body language of rabbits serves as a warning before an attack.
- Proper care is necessary for a rabbit to live a happy and long life.
- Fortunately, we can change the territorial behavior of rabbits.
Reference: NCBI, ResearchGate