Rabbits are sensitive creatures. Most owners believe that when they try to approach their pet, the rabbit runs away and hides, making their owners think my rabbits are scared of me. So, is my rabbit scared off me? What are the reasons behind this type of behavior? How to build trust with rabbits? Let’s find out all your answers in this article.
Rabbits can get scared because of their traumatized past, sudden movements, or loud noises. Running, hiding, shaking, or freezing are the signs of scared rabbits. Consider providing a safe and secure environment to a rabbit to prevent stress and anxiety and to ensure their well-being.
This article will discuss why rabbits get afraid of their owners, how to calm down a scared rabbit, and how to build trust. So, let’s find it out.
- 1 Is my rabbit scared off me?
- 2 How to know if my rabbit is scared of me?
- 3 Reasons why a rabbit is afraid of you?
- 4 How do you get a scared rabbit to trust you?
- 5 How to calm down a scared rabbit?
- 6 Conclusion:
Is my rabbit scared off me?
Some rabbits are skittish. They usually get scared of small things in their surroundings. By nature, they are prey animals. So they always have tension in their minds about their predators. Even a mild noise or movement can scare them off.
As a means of ensuring their survival in the wild, rabbits have an innate tendency to be a little hesitant and wary. Domestic rabbits, however, can develop close relationships with their owners.
Numerous factors can cause a rabbit to be overly skittish or extra sensitive. For example, it could be because their past background is traumatic. Maybe you adopted a rabbit before conducting adequate research, and as a result, they failed to form an early bond with you and are now afraid of you.
Also, every rabbit has a different personality. For example, some rabbits are anxious. And because of that, they become scared to come near you.
Not only of owners, but a rabbit can also be afraid of giant creatures like dogs and cats or even from the smell of strong chemicals and predators.
How to know if my rabbit is scared of me?
Rabbits are prey creatures. They are not vocalists like dogs and cats. They can’t converse verbally, but they have their unique body language style through which they communicate with each other and their owners.
The same instincts that help wild rabbits avoid predators also help your domestic rabbits survive. But unfortunately, they usually get scared of their predators, including their owners.
To know something is wrong with your rabbit, here are some signs that indicate your rabbit responds when they are scared:
Although rabbits are not vocalists and aren’t known for making noise, a scared one may grunt, growl or squeal as a warning to back off.
Grunting is one of the few vocalizations a rabbit will use to express annoyance or stress. However, lunging may occasionally follow grunting if your rabbit feels threatened. If your rabbit starts grunting, you must stop whatever you are doing. Assure them by making soft voices that you will not harm them. You can also try to pet them if they allow you to.
Just like human beings, rabbits also shake out of fear. When they fear something, their heartbeats increase, they breathe faster, and they twitch their muscles.
Naturally, a scared rabbit will begin to shiver or shake. Chronically stressed rabbits are also more likely to twitch, tremble, or shake. Rabbits under great stress often sway to the side and shake their heads. According to some experts, shaking may serve as a self-soothing mechanism for stressed rabbits.
Fearful rabbits may bite, kick, or scratch. Whereas rabbits that haven’t been neutered or spayed are more likely to bite. Although rabbits are not naturally aggressive, they can become aggressive when threatened.
Causes of aggression can be hormonal, going deaf or blind, or feeling threatened. If your friendly rabbit suddenly becomes aggressive, it is essential to find out why. It could be because of you, the environment, or even some underlying health issue that needs to be consulted by your vet.
Also, read: Are Rabbits Aggressive?
Rabbits can avoid predators’ detection by remaining motionless. They usually stay still as they closely observe, listen, and smell potential threats.
Also, If your rabbit appears tense with ears pressed firmly against the body, hunched, bulging eyes, and jumpy, your rabbit is terrified of something.
Rabbits’ pupils may enlarge if they are overly attentive, overstimulated, or fearful. In addition, the rabbit pupils can pop out because of some instances that include the barking dog, sudden pitch noise, a car ride, or a new environment.
Running and hiding:
Running and hiding rabbits indicates that they have sensed, smelled, or seen something dangerous. They usually run and hide when they feel or are assured something or someone is a predator.
If your rabbit won’t leave the hidden place despite being offered a treat and stays in the same hunched position all day, they are afraid or may not be feeling well and need to go to the vet.
Chances in grooming and not eating:
A rabbit may begin over- or under-grooming if they experience anxiety for an extended period. Take the rabbit to the veterinarian if you observe any behavior caused by stress.
Eating is one of the rabbit’s favorite activities; if they could, they would do it continuously. Therefore, there is a problem if your rabbit hasn’t touched their food or refuses their favorite foods or treats all day.
Gas or dental pain are two common causes of lack of appetite. So, determine whether they are sick and require veterinary care by observing their stools and any impulsive behavior.
Also, read: Why Is My Rabbit Not Eating?
When rabbits sense danger, they thud their back feet on the ground in the wild. In addition, to warn the predator, the noise alerts nearby rabbits that they are in trouble. Your pet rabbit may exhibit the same behavior.
Most rabbits, including domestic ones, can start thumping their back feet if they sense any danger near their surrounding. However, thumping may occur only once or repeatedly. Your rabbit may thump because of two reasons. First, either your rabbit is distressed or feels threatened.
Reasons why a rabbit is afraid of you?
Most of the owners frequently believe that their rabbits despise them. It could be because of two reasons: either the rabbit is scared of them, or the rabbit is acting aggressively.
So, here are some reasons why rabbit is scared of you:
1) The smell of another animal from you
Your rabbit may get scared by the smell of other animals or predators from your clothes.
Your rabbit might become scared or aggressive if you interact with other animals, like cats or dogs. For instance, the smell of other animals, including other rabbits, can alert your rabbit.
Therefore, washing your hands and changing clothes is crucial if you’ve been around other animals before interacting with your rabbit.
2) Too loud in front of your rabbit
Being too loud in front of your rabbit can scare them off, especially for skittish rabbits. Your rabbit might become scared and try to avoid you if you talk too loudly, for example.
In addition, your rabbit can be afraid of loud noises that come from their surrounding, for example, too loud tv, computer, or phone volume in high, or even shutting the doors.
It could happen when you try to come in or out, and the door you shut can be too loud for your rabbit, which scares them off. Therefore it is vital to pay attention to your daily activities so that you are not making loud noises. Otherwise, your rabbit will get scared of you.
3) The rabbit is shy
A shy rabbit usually runs and hides whenever you try to play with them. However, if you try to force them to come outside, you are giving a lot of unwanted attention to your rabbit.
It is natural when a new rabbit is brought home, and you want to pay attention to it, but you should give it some time to adjust to its surroundings to feel safe.
Give some time to your rabbit so that they learn to trust you slowly. In addition, you can sit on the ground and wait for your rabbit to come towards you. Be patient, and try not to give them much attention.
4) Holding your rabbit often
Most of the owners like to cuddle their rabbits frequently. However, most of the rabbits don’t want to be held.
A rabbit being held feels trapped because it can’t keep its feet on the ground, run or hide somewhere if something happens.
Therefore, if you approach your rabbit and hold them every time you interact with them, they will be afraid of you because they feel trapped in your arms.
5) Territorial rabbit
Territorial behavior of rabbits may happen when you try to enter their territory, for example, by taking your hand in its pen or enclosure, which may result in biting, grunting, or attacking.
This behavior can occur when they want to protect their territory. Therefore, you must be careful when interacting with your rabbit. Ensure not to disturb your rabbit in its territory. For example, let your rabbit come out by itself from the enclosure if you want to change its food or clean it.
6) Past of a rabbit
Your rabbit may be afraid of you because of its past traumatic experience. Adopted rabbits may have awful past situations where they had been abused or neglected and come to you with their past trauma.
A rabbit may be afraid of you or every human being because of how they had previously been treated. Due to their negative past experiences with people, which make them run away from people, it is crucial to be patient with your rabbit and give some space to make them learn to trust people.
7) Sudden movement by yourself
Your sudden movement can scare your rabbit, which results in running and hiding from you. Likewise, rabbits can be afraid of you if you try to run behind them or make a sudden moment in front of their nose.
Since rabbits’ eyes are on the side of their heads, they cannot see clearly in front of them. And due to this, if you try to approach one, they will run away because they will see a large shadow coming towards them.
Consequently, whenever you want to pet them, always approach them slowly from the sides so they can see your hand.
8) Your rabbit is not at ease
The fact that they don’t feel safe in their surroundings is another factor that could explain why your rabbit acts like they are terrified of you or despise you in general.
Rabbits may become highly anxious if they are overly stressed out by their daily lives or by loud noises that keep happening, and as a result, they may either run and hide all the time or act out.
Therefore, changing their environment, providing a big enclosure, and reducing daily noise are essential to prevent stress.
How do you get a scared rabbit to trust you?
If you observe that your rabbit is scared of you, then here are some steps that can help to make your frightened or afraid rabbit trust you:
- Allow your rabbit to roam freely: You must allow your nervous rabbit to roam freely in the zone where you spend most of your time if you want to strengthen your bond with it. To free-roam your rabbit, you can allow at least a room that must be rabbit-proof. If you spend most of the time in the same room with your rabbit, they will begin to consider you a part of their surroundings and will not see you as a threat.
- Don’t touch your rabbit: Rabbits are probably adorable creatures, so it could be challenging for you not to touch them. But if you try to reach your hands towards them, they may feel like you are attempting to trap them. They may see you as a predator and run away. Therefore, when building trust between you and your rabbit, try not to touch them; let them come towards you.
- Try to sit on the floor: Instead of sitting on a bed or elevated space, try to sit on the floor where you have allowed your rabbit to roam freely. Even though rabbits are frightened of humans, they are curious, which only encourages them to approach you in a less threatening manner.
- Feed your rabbit: Rabbits love to eat food. Even though they are terrified, their need for food and hunger will eventually overcome their fear of you. Therefore, try placing their food, such as salad, away from you and the pellets close to you to let them eat it peacefully. Also, while they are eating, try not to look at them and carry on with your current tasks.
- Try to feed them out of your hands: It could be challenging for a skittish rabbit to move from its plate to your hands for eating. However, it could make a trust bond between you. Try to move your hand slowly; don’t make sudden movements; hold your hand; don’t nudge them, and wait for them to approach you to take the food.
- Touch your rabbit: Don’t touch your rabbit from the front. A blind spot exists in front of the nose of every rabbit. Thus, they might become frightened and bite if you make a sudden movement in front of their nose. Very slowly approach from the side while rubbing their nose on the top of your rabbit’s head. They find it to be incredibly calming to have their noses rubbed.
How to calm down a scared rabbit?
You can calm down a scared rabbit by sitting with a treat on the floor near them calmly and quietly and letting them come towards you. Try not to hold your rabbit at that moment. Otherwise, they will become more stressed if you keep them in your arms; they may feel they have no place to run and hide. Instead, gently try to pet them if they allow you. Ensure your rabbit they are safe with you.
Also, pairing your rabbit with another rabbit is essential because it prevents stress. Due to rabbits’ social nature, they often feel more secure. In the wild, one bunny will graze or sleep while another is looking for threats. Since a single rabbit is unable to unwind completely, stress levels increase.
- A mild noise or movement can scare the rabbits.
- Due to a traumatic past and sudden actions, a rabbit can become afraid.
- Scared rabbits will run, hide, tremble, or freeze.
- You can prevent the stress of a rabbit by altering their surroundings, offering a large enclosure, and lowering daily noise levels.
- Building trust is essential to overcome the rabbit’s fear.