Why Is My Rabbit Not Moving? 8 Possible Reasons!

Rabbits are active animals that will keep running about all day long. You’ll be amazed to see the speed at which they can run when they sense a threat.

If you’ve kept a rabbit as a pet, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

Considering how active rabbits are, if they aren’t moving, it’s sure something you should be worried about.

Why Is Your Rabbit Not Moving?

If your rabbit is breathing but not moving, you should first take a sigh of relief because it means your rabbit is very much alive.

The first possibility that comes to our mind when we see a limp rabbit is that it’s seriously ill. But illness isn’t the only reason why a rabbit becomes limp and immobile.

There are many possible reasons for it. Some of them are:

  • Trauma
  • Heat stroke
  • Hypothermia
  • Age
  • Paralysis
  • Stress
  • Pathological anorexia

If your rabbit isn’t moving, you should immediately take them to the veterinarian.

You need to act fast because your precious little money may lose the battle of life if you don’t take prompt action!


One of the first reasons why rabbits may stop moving is a severe illness.

Your rabbit may be suffering from an illness like intestinal parasite infection or any other physical illness.

Rabbits are sensitive creatures that have low pain tolerance. If they’re severely ill, they won’t have the energy to move or even respond to your callings.


Sometimes, you may not realize that some activities of your pet rabbits can put them at the risk of getting hurt.

You may not find anything wrong in having your rabbit jump about your home, but falling from heights can lead to serious external and internal injuries.

If your rabbit has undergone an accident like falling from a height, has been attacked by another animal, or has gone through trauma, it might stop moving.

If your rabbit isn’t moving and you don’t see any physical wounds that may indicate that your rabbit is hurt, it might indicate an internal injury that needs immediate medical attention.

Your rabbit may even have a broken bone that has made them immobile. But you won’t know unless you take them to a vet.

Heat Stroke

Rabbits are highly susceptible to heat stroke. Extremely hot temperatures can increase the rabbit’s body temperature, which can lead to heat stroke.

Rabbits can’t bear temperatures higher than 28 degrees Celsius. High ambient temperatures can cause the rabbits to stay static, stretched out, lethargic, and dehydrated.

Apart from the obvious symptoms of heat stroke mentioned above, a rabbit may also present some other symptoms that you must look out for if your rabbit has stopped moving.

  • Hypersalivation
  • Panting
  • Red ears
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Shock

If your rabbit is showing any of these symptoms, you’ve got to make it to the vet fast because you’re rabbit is dying!

If the weather has gotten hot and you think it might affect your rabbit, you must ensure that your rabbit stays indoors where the temperature is cooler than outdoors.


Just like rabbits can’t survive in extremely hot weather, they can’t live through extremely cold weather too.

If they’re exposed to extremely low temperatures, their body may go into a state of hypothermia. The body temperature drops so much that their body functions cease, and they die.

A rabbit’s body will go into hypothermia if the temperature falls below 36 degrees Celsius.

If your rabbit shows any of the following signs, it’s a clear indication that it has been exposed to a temperature lower than what it can bear and that they need to be taken to a vet right away!

  • Lethargy
  • Cold ears
  • Dry skin
  • Disorientation
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Widened pupils (mydriasis)
  • Fainting
  • Shock
  • Collapse


The average lifespan of domesticated rabbits is about 8 to 12 years. One of the many reasons why your rabbit may not be as active now as it once was is its age.

The energy and vitality of rabbits decrease with time, just like it’s with other living beings.

Rabbits’ bodies go through wear and tear, and they may even suffer from age-related diseases like osteoarthritis.

They’ll get less active with time, and they’ll prefer to remain static most of the time. And that’s absolutely normal.

However, if your aged rabbit stops moving altogether suddenly, you must understand that something’s not right and your rabbit needs immediate medical attention.


Rabbits can get paralyzed, pretty much the same way as humans. When a rabbit suffers from paralysis, it can breathe but can’t move.

There are 3 types of paralysis in rabbits:

Nutritional Paralysis

If your rabbit doesn’t receive proper nutrition, it’ll develop nutritional deficiencies that can result in various health problems.

If you’ve got a pet rabbit, you’ve got to ensure that they receive a balanced and varied diet to meet all their nutritional requirements adequately.

If your rabbit suffers from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, its body may shut down. This condition, which is due to inadequate nutrition, is known as nutritional paralysis.

Neurological Paralysis

A rabbit may suffer from neurological paralysis if they suffer from an injury to its peripheral nerves or spinal cord.

In cases like these, the rabbits may suffer from muscular weakness (paresis) or paralysis, depending on the severity of the injury.

Neurological paralysis is often accompanied by some other neurological symptoms apart from immobility.

Another cause of neurological paralysis is an infection by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida that causes encephalitis, leading to secondary paralysis.

Parasitic Paralysis

The third type of paralysis in rabbits is parasitic paralysis.

Rabbits can get affected by parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Encephalitozoon cunculi that can result in loss of mobility of hind legs.

Rabbits with a weak immune system are often the ones that get affected by these parasites.

Rabbits that don’t get a proper, balanced diet and aren’t dewormed routinely are also at high risk.

Other than being immobile, parasitized rabbits present symptoms like a hard, bulging, and sore abdomen.

One way you can prevent paralysis in rabbits is to handle them with care so that you don’t drop them that may injure their spinal cord and peripheral nerves and feed them a good diet.


We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again, rabbits are very sensitive creatures, and because of this, they’re high highly susceptible to stress.

You’ve got to avoid any situation that may make your rabbit anxious or stressed.

Most of the time, when a rabbit is breathing but not moving, it’s because they went through an episode of extreme stress.

Other symptoms that indicate that the rabbit isn’t moving because of stress are overgrooming, compulsive movements, aggressively scratching, and self-mutilation.

If you own a pet rabbit, you’ve got to be very careful about maintaining their mental health.

Try to establish a healthy bond with them. Interact with them when they want to. Don’t force yourself on them.

Make sure they feel safe around you. If they suspect a threat, they’ll stress out, and that isn’t good for them.

Pathological Anorexia

If your rabbit has suddenly stopped eating, you’ve to figure out why. Anorexia isn’t as simple as your rabbit not eating.

There could be so much that could be wrong that’s causing anorexia in your pet.

One of the first signs that your rabbit is not eating isn’t just a casual mood swing is your rabbit will start to lose weight.

They’ll appear weak and less energetic. And eventually, they’ll stop moving

You can’t expect them to run around when they haven’t eaten in days, can you?

There could be many reasons why your rabbit has stopped eating all of a sudden. Some of them are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Dental problems
  • Myxomatosis
  • Parasitosis
  • Hemorrhagic disease
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Tumors
  • GI disorders
  • Enterotoxemia
  • Coccidiosis

All of these conditions are serious and require immediate medical attention.

Some symptoms that may indicate that your rabbit isn’t doing well include:

  • Lumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Cough and runny nose
  • Respiratory distress
  • Inflammation
  • Weakness and weight loss

If your rabbit is immobile but breathing or simply appears dull, lethargic, and weak, there has got to be some reason behind it, and only a vet can help you identify it.

How to Keep Your Rabbit Healthy and Happy

The happier your rabbit is, the less stressed out it’ll be and the longer it’ll live. Since rabbits are overly sensitive, you’ve to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s the only way you can have them around for the longest!

Unhappy rabbits won’t eat well and will stay stressed out most of the time, putting them at a high risk of getting sick. But you don’t want that, do you?

Here’s how you can ensure your rabbit is happy and healthy:

  • Make sure you provide them with a healthy environment. The temperature should be just right (neither too hot nor too cold), there shouldn’t be too much noise, and the place shouldn’t be too crowded.
  • Feed your rabbits well. Make sure they’re consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet that meets all their nutritional requirements.
  • Interact with them, but don’t try to interact when they don’t look like in the mood to. If you try to impose interaction, they’ll feel threatened and stressed out, which isn’t good for their health.
  • Don’t let them get bored. Rabbits are highly social. The best way to ensure they don’t get bored is to keep them with other rabbits. Keeping a pair is your best bet!
  • Take them to the vet regularly. Look after their grooming, dental health, and vaccinations.
  • Make sure your rabbit’s cage is big enough to allow them to stretch and relax. Their ears shouldn’t touch the roof of the cage when they’re standing. They shouldn’t feel like they’ve been locked up.
  • Make some toys available for the rabbits in their cage to keep them busy and occupied. Rabbits don’t like to get bored. It isn’t good for their mental health.

Rabbits make great pets. They’ll keep you entertained and busy. However, they’re sensitive and quite high-maintenance in terms of care and attention.

Keep a rabbit as a pet only if you’ve got the temperament for them.

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