Rabbits are some of the most fun pets out there.
They are exceptionally smart and love to hop around all day. However, sometimes owners complain about aggressive behavior in their bunnies.
There are many reasons why your pet rabbit could be displaying aggression. Let’s find out what they are and how you can effectively deal with them.
Why Is My Pet Rabbit Aggressive?
Aggression in pet rabbits mostly stems from uncertainty and fear.
Hormonal shifts could also be making your rabbit more aggressive than usual.
Here are the most common causes of aggression in a pet rabbit.
It Is Unneutered
Unneutered pet rabbits are highly susceptible to hormonal changes which make them aggressive.
As soon as your pet bunny hits sexual puberty, it will start behaving completely differently.
You will no longer notice the cute playfulness in your pet. Instead, it will be assertive and protective around you.
That is why it is best to neuter pet rabbits at an appropriate age. This prevents their bodies from being overwhelmed by sexual changes and expressing it as aggressive behavior.
It Is Afraid
Pet owners love to cuddle with their rabbits and pick them up randomly.
They often don’t realize that they could be stressing out their pet and causing them unnecessary fear.
Rabbits generally do not like being handled or picked up. This causes them to view their owners as a threat.
You might even notice your bunny freezing and attempting to run away when you come by.
If your bunny is being aggressive, it is best to stop handling it. You should also make sure not to meddle with its hutch too much and use positive reinforcement to drive out its fear.
Also read: Do Rabbits Get Scared of Thunder?
It Is in Pain
If your otherwise friendly and fun bunny is being aggressive all of a sudden, it could be in pain.
Rabbits generally tend to hide their pain and become reserved. They often become aggressive as a result of pains or aches as well.
Have you noticed your bunny baring its teeth or hissing as you play with it? It could be because of a sore leg, a mouth injury, or an internal health problem!
You should get it diagnosed and treated ASAP to ensure your pet’s best health.
It Is Living in Improper Accommodation
Rabbits are agile and athletic animals that require mental and physical stimulation.
Without it, they can end up bored and frustrated, which will be displayed as aggression towards their owners.
Being confined to a small, restricted space without anything to do is a rabbit’s worst nightmare. They need to be able to hop around, dig, jump and forage.
Lack of proper accommodation can also lead to health problems in your bunny. It won’t be able to move and stretch, which can cause spinal deformities and extreme aggression.
It Is Protecting
There are two things that rabbits naturally protect; their territory and food.
Territory aggression is more common in females, especially if they have recently given birth or they are nesting. On the other hand, food aggression is common in male rabbits.
If you regularly meddle with your rabbit’s hutch, it can cause it to protect its territory from you. Therefore, always try to let it leave the hutch by itself before cleaning it or filling the food bowl.
You should also work on removing the focus from food anytime you notice food aggression in your bunny.
A great way to do this is by spreading out its pellets in the hay or hiding it in corners. Let your bunny hunt for its food instead of serving it in a bowl.
This will encourage your bunny to work for its food. It also offers a great way to allow mental and physical stimulation for your pet, leaving them happier, fulfilled, and less likely to be aggressive.
How to Deal With Aggressive Pet Rabbits?
Below are some of the ways you can try to deal with your aggressive bunny
Rabbits are stubborn and extremely clever. They also have a tendency to stick to their patterns and behaviors.
So, it can take quite a lot of time and effort to stop your pet from being aggressive.
As a rabbit owner, it is your responsibility to stay calm when handling your rabbit. No matter how frustrating it may get, you have to deal with your bunny patiently and with kindness.
Your job here is to show your pet an alternate reality where it doesn’t have to be scared or stressed. The best way to do this is with your own behavior and body language.
Offer your pet affection on its terms, give it plenty of treats, and prove to it that there is nothing to be fearful of.
Soon enough, your pet will settle down and grow out of its aggression.
Rule Out Any Health Problems
Aggression in rabbits is usually a call for help. If your pet is being unusually aggressive, it could be in pain or suffering from an illness.
The best way to handle this is by making an appointment with your vet ASAP. Your vet should have experience in handling aggressive bunnies and will be able to tell you what’s wrong.
Ask them to run tests and rule out all possibilities of a health problem.
It could be something small like a sore mouth due to overgrown teeth or a serious condition that threatens their wellbeing.
Also, make sure your vet checks their eyesight and hearing. Bunnies with red eyes are highly prone to developing vision problems as they get older.
Get It Neutered
The most common cause of aggressive behavior in rabbits is hormonal changes. This arises when your bunny hasn’t been neutered or spayed at an appropriate age.
As soon as they hit sexual maturity, your pet will start experiencing these hormonal changes. Think of it reaching its grumpy teenager phase, only it will come out as aggression.
For the best health of your rabbit, you should get it neutered.
Male rabbits can be neutered by the time they turn 12 to 16 weeks old. Female rabbits can be spayed once they turn 3 to 4 months old.
Neutering or spaying your rabbit makes them significantly less aggressive towards you and other rabbits.
They will enjoy better health and be safe from numerous diseases through this procedure.
Establish a Relationship of Trust
If your rabbit is being overly aggressive towards you, the first to remember is that physical punishment never works. Instead, you need to put in the effort to establish trust in your bunny.
The way you can do this is by not picking it up anymore. Stop forcing your rabbit to interact with you and let it come to you by itself.
You may wish to snuggle your adorable little bunny, but this could be making it afraid and stressed out. Naturally, it will start being aggressive out of fear.
Most rabbits do not enjoy being picked up anyways. So, it is better to sit on the floor with your pet and let it come to you. You should sit quietly and allow it to explore the space.
Once your rabbit feels comfortable enough, its curious nature will lead it to you. Let your pet do this on its own terms and reward them with treats for positive reinforcement.
Create a Safe Environment
Rabbits are some of the smartest pets you can own.
They are agile, extremely active, and need plenty of physical and mental stimulation daily to be healthy and remain well-adjusted.
A great way to reduce aggression in your rabbit is by creating the perfect environment for them to reside.
This environment, usually a hutch, should be sized in accordance with how big your rabbit is. Also, remember to get a bigger hutch if you decide to get more bunnies in the same space.
Moreover, keep in mind that a small space with no mental enrichment can cause your rabbit to feel frustrated or bored. It will likely express both of these emotions in the form of aggression.
So it is best to ensure that the hutch is highly stimulating and allows them plenty of space and mental enrichment.
Also, try not to meddle too much with your rabbit’s space, so they don’t act out as a result of their territorial nature.
Review Its Diet
Lastly, you should ensure that your pet rabbit is fed an appropriate diet to lead a happy and healthy life.
A healthy and well-balanced diet is essential for all pet animals, especially smaller herbivores like rabbits.
Their unique physiology requires them to have a constant intake of fiber. This keeps their digestive tract running smoothly and ensures that their ever-growing teeth are worn down properly.
Therefore, you should make sure that your bunny has access to an endless supply of hay.
They should also be given fresh vegetables and a controlled amount of rabbit pellets each day.
An appropriate diet will allow your rabbit to feel comfortable under your care.
It can help eliminate the development of numerous diseases and allow your pet to be happy and unaggressive with you.
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- Rabbit Running Around Really Fast – What it Means?
- Why Do Rabbits Wiggle Their Tails?
- Why is My Rabbit Grunting At Me?