Rabbits are gentle and adorable social creatures and can be great indoor pets. Also, they are very active animals and can bond closely with their owner and other rabbits. But, sometimes, their sudden behaviors can confuse their owners, such as munching, biting, etc.
So, the question arises why does my rabbit start biting? What are the reasons behind this type of behavior? How can we fix this problem? Let’s find it out.
Fear and stress is the common reason behind your rabbit biting. However, other factors like boredom, food aggression, dominance, and sexual maturity can also make your rabbit bite you. Consider approaching them openly and getting them desexed to prevent such issues in your rabbit.
This article will discuss the reason behind rabbit biting and how we can prevent such behavior. So, let us get into it.
- 1 The natural behavior of rabbit
- 2 Reasons behind why my rabbit is biting
- 3 Is it a bad sign if my rabbit bites me?
- 4 How dangerous are rabbit bites?
- 5 How to stop your rabbit from biting?
- 6 Conclusion
The natural behavior of rabbit
A rabbit has different types of unique behaviors and body language. This behavior shows affection, aggression, dominance, etc.
A rabbit communicates with their owner and other rabbits with the help of its nose, ears, tail, body position, and occasional vocalizations.
Thumping feet, biting, grooming, rubbing their chin, etc., are rabbit’s natural behavior that we see most of the time.
Reasons behind why my rabbit is biting
It is natural if your rabbit bites you. But there can be various causes behind their behavior.
They can be territorial in certain circumstances, and mostly, female rabbits are aggressive.
However, the general cause behind your rabbit’s biting is its growing teeth. Their teeth grow about a centimeter monthly and up to 12cm yearly.
If rabbits’ teeth are overgrown, they will not be able to eat or drink, which is quite irritating. So, they trim their teeth by chewing and gnawing.
There can be other reasons behind rabbit biting, which are listed below:
- Sexual maturity
- Food aggression
Rabbits are social creatures. They always look for attention and affection, and when they don’t get it, they become depressed and aggressive. This type of behavior allows them to bite others.
Rabbits are prey animals and can get frightened easily. A sudden sound or movement in their surroundings makes them scared.
Because of this fear, they become very stressed. And this stress causes them to attack others.
As prey creature, most of the time, rabbits defend themselves from predators and protect their food.
They show their territory when they are not desexing and are kept in their cage for a long time.
You will notice the dominance in your rabbit if it nips your hands or feet or starts biting when you try to touch them.
And at that moment, moving away from their territorial radius is better because giving space to your dominant rabbit is essential.
Sexual maturity causes aggression in rabbits which results in biting. They contain the heat inside their body that reflects a high level of aggressiveness.
Because of this behavior, they start scratching or biting others without any particular reason.
However, if they bite your toes or fingers softly, this behavior is affection. These soft bites are the love bites they give to each other and humans.
Food is an essential thing for a rabbit in their whole world. Rabbits can eat food every time whenever you offer them.
Food is the only thing that they will not refuse, even in their dreams. They can fight for their food with others.
Usually, rabbits defend their food and could become aggressive at that moment if they don’t get their required portion.
Also read: Are Rabbits Aggressive?
As we all know, rabbits are prey animals, and self-defense is crucial. Whenever they feel the danger, they try to defend themselves from predators.
When your rabbit can’t find a safe place to escape, then it can show the behavior of biting, grunting and thrusting at others.
Is it a bad sign if my rabbit bites me?
Rabbits are social animals. They are not naturally aggressive creatures.
Biting is not uncommon in their behavior. But, whenever the rabbit bites because of sudden aggression, sometimes there is doubt in the owner’s mind about whether their pet starts disliking them or not. This behavior can hurt the owner both physically and emotionally.
That’s why it is essential to find the reason behind your rabbit’s changing behavior. The logic behind your pet’s changing attitude could be:
- They want dominance
- They are bored
- They protect their territory or babies
Grinding or biting is the only communication that rabbits do with humans. So if they bite you, don’t show your aggression to them; instead, give them some space and calm down by providing treats.
How dangerous are rabbit bites?
Rabbits are the most adorable pets, but their sudden aggression can cause trouble. A bite of a rabbit can cause severe injuries. Therefore, rabbit bites are dangerous for us.
When they get frightened due to their unwanted environmental changes, they probably scratch, bite and flee anything. And unfortunately, a rabbit bite can break your skin, make it bleed, and causes infection around your wound area.
However, nipping and biting are two different words and have different meanings. Nipping is a soft bite that doesn’t hurt anyone, but biting a rabbit could hurt you badly.
So, it is essential to prevent rabbit bites; otherwise, they can break down the skin and causes severe wounds, which can be problematic.
When they bite another pet
Separate your pets immediately if your rabbit bites another rabbit or other pet. Also, it is essential to find out whether your rabbit has any injuries or not.
If your pet’s skin is injured, treat the wound just like you do when you get a rabbit bite on your own body. And, if the injury is bleeding a lot, you need to seek medical treatment.
After this, keep your pets away from each other until you find the source of the aggressiveness.
When they bite a person
A rabbit’s bite can cause serious injury. And it can be dangerous for a person and other animals.
When your rabbit intentionally or accidentally bites you, the first thing you need to do is to wash your wound with water.
Next, treat your injury with antiseptic cream and bandage if your pet’s teeth break your skin.
If your wound shows swelling, redness, burning, or heavy bleeding and hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past ten years, you need to seek medical attention.
If you have other concerns about rabbit bites, there will be a requirement to meet a doctor.
When they bite themselves
Due to stress and aggression, rabbits can bite themselves while scratching. Scratching is normal behavior, just like in cats and dogs. But when they do it aggressively, this can cause injuries.
When your rabbit bites itself, you need to treat its wound; after that, try to check its body for other bites and treat them, search for irritated or flaking skin, and other skin infection signs, sores, and parasites.
If your rabbit tries to bite itself regularly, it is best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian. After this, find out the reasons behind this type of behavior.
Your rabbit’s lifestyle and environment are the essential things that need to concern. For example, does your rabbit have enough space to hide, exercise, or move around? Do they have enough toys? Are they interacting with other rabbits?
We recommend a foldable exercise pet playpen and some toys like treat balls, tunnel toys, and many more for your rabbit that you can buy from amazon.
How to stop your rabbit from biting?
Every owner wants their pets to be calm and joyful, not the one that attacks and causes harm.
Rabbits usually bite due to their extreme growth of teeth. Therefore, they need to file their teeth by biting the things so they wouldn’t grow larger.
Rabbits have two types of biting, aggressive kind, and another one is body language through which they communicate.
An aggressive rabbit bite can be a warning, territorial, and defensive.
So, to find the cause of aggression, it is essential to know how you interact with your rabbit and pay attention to their behavior.
Here are some ways to prevent your rabbit from biting you:
- Openly approach your rabbit
- Try not to interfere with their nest.
- back off and leave them alone
- prevent them from claiming their territories
Rabbits are prey animals. They can get easily frightened by a little movement or sound, and because of this, they can attempt to attack you with their sharp teeth.
So, it is essential to let your rabbit know that you are near them; you need to let them know your existence before going too close by calling their name softly.
And, when they recognize you in their area, you can slowly approach them.
If your rabbit is pregnant and stressed because of your existence, it is good to leave them and its nest alone; otherwise, it can become aggressive and attack you at that stage.
But, if you’re concerned for the kits’ health, you can wear full sleeves groves on your hands and try to move slowly with a soft voice towards them.
Bites of rabbits are defensive and it is natural. But whenever you see aggressive or territorial behavior in your pet, leave them alone.
When you see your rabbit widens its eyes, start thumping its back foot, and puff out its coat, this indicates that they are frightened and in a position to attack.
At that moment, if you want to protect them from this struggle, you can wrap them in a towel by covering your hands and arms with long sleeves gloves for protection, which you can buy from amazon.
The priority of a rabbit is its space. They don’t like anybody interfering in their territories. Also, they don’t allow others to touch their belongings.
But what if we want to clean their surrounding? How can we do it with their aggressive behavior? Well, here is what you can do.
If you want to clean their cage, you can provide them a treat and let them come toward you.
Also, you can move their water, food, and litterbox to different locations so they can come out of their territory radius.
From this, you can easily clean their area or do anything without challenging their territory.
Rabbits are peaceful animals. They hardly show their terror or aggression.
But there can be a variety of reasons that can make your rabbit aggressive and results in biting.
Stress, boredom, self-defense, food aggression, etc., are the reasons that allow your rabbit to bite you or others.
Rabbit bites can cause serious injuries, But we can prevent them from biting by giving training and interacting calmly with them.
References: NCBI, Sciencedirect