Settle your rabbit down and dress your wound right away.
In case the bunny is not letting go of your skin, use an object to distract it, such as a piece of clothing- dangle it for the rabbit to see and leap on it. Once your pet has set you free, treat your wound.
Treating a rabbit bite may not be something most rabbit owners need to worry about often; however, there is always a chance of a bunny becoming aggressive.
When that happens, naturally, the immediate course of action would be to detach the angry bunny from your skin.
Put a barrier between yourself and your pet, like, for instance, going to another room. Next, wash your bite site.
All that said, it’s important to know the difference between bunny biting and nibbling in order to determine what to do next.
Apart from that, a rabbit owner needs to understand why their pet would resort to biting.
In this guide, we will go over all the possible scenarios in which a bunny might bite its owner and how to deal with the issue.
Biting and Nibbling: What’s the Difference?
Often misconstrued as the same actions, biting and nibbling are two different behaviors, having separate causes.
Nibbling can be understood as harmless biting/ low-impact biting where a rabbit doesn’t shove its bunny teeth into a person’s skin.
Simply put, when a bunny slightly grazes the owner’s skin with its teeth, its behavior is categorized as nibbling.
On the contrary, biting refers to chomping down on the skin forcefully, piercing the skin in the process.
One simple way to figure out if your fur fellow is biting or nibbling you is by assessing the pressure they apply and how soon they let go.
If your little one lets go immediately only to repeat the action on another point on your skin, that’s more likely playfully nibbling.
This act is typically carried out to get attention; however, there can be other reasons at play (more on this later in the article).
When your bunny’s intention is to bite, it will apply immense force and will not let go that easily.
In fact, in many cases, the owner has to distract their pet in order to free their hand, or whichever organ is under attack.
As mentioned earlier, the two bunny behaviors have different causes, knowing which can help a pet owner distinguish between the acts and take necessary measures accordingly.
What To Do When Your Bunny Bites You?
Once you know that your furry family member is trying to bite you or already has their bunny fangs on your skin, don’t panic and follow this guide.
If they aren’t relenting, don’t get violent yourself and try to get them off forcefully. Use a toy or any random object to distract your pet.
Let’s say you are wearing a tie at the moment; take it off and dangle it in front of your bunny.
It will catch your buddy’s attention. If not, look for some other aid to help you break free from your bunny’s grasp.
You can also pet your little one and gently talk to them as doing so might calm them down.
Once they are off, put them in their hatch. Next, tend to your wound.
Since rabbits are herbivores, their fangs aren’t meant to cut through muscles, so a rabbit bite isn’t likely to leave a deep wound.
However, if an artery is pierced or the attack site is a relatively fragile part of the body, you might bleed profusely.
In any case, if you begin to bleed too much, use a clean cloth to press on the wound and go to the er to get stitches.
That said, first rinse the damaged skin with water and wait a bit to see if the blood starts to gush again. Repeat this practice twice before running to the er.
If your bleeding stops at home, use an antiseptic to disinfect the wound site and apply an antibiotic ointment before putting a bandage on.
How to Treat Rabbit Bite?
At least every rabbit owner is bitten by their rabbits at some point. No matter how calm your rabbit is, they can be easily stressed.
Rabbits are more prone to panic or frustrated and can be easily stressed for any reason.
Because of this reason, it’s important to know how you could handle it if your pet rabbit bites you. Thus, several steps to follow; you will feel fine from biting.
Assess the Condition
Some of the rabbit bites are severe than the others. This depends on the condition how hard does your rabbit bites you. Does the rabbit have sharp and long teeth? Is it aggressive?
Most of the rabbit bites can be easily treated at home and do not require any other help.
But some of the bites are deep enough that they require the help of a medical professional.
As you move away from the rabbit, assess the condition caused by the bite.
Apply pressure on the wound with the help of a cloth for about 7-10 minutes to stop bleeding then inspect the wound.
If your wound is deep or if the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure of 10 minutes or if it bites at the sensitive area like the face, then stitches may be required.
You have to visit the emergency, if the wound is not deep then treat it yourself.
Wash the Wound
By continuously applying pressure for 10 minutes, if bleeding does not stop due to rabbit bite. Then stop applying pressure on the wound.
Now, wash the wound under cold and clean water. You can use tap water or chilled bottled water to wash.
This would help get rid of bacteria that may be present in the wound. Most probably rabbits’ bite is not clean and germs can be present which could be transferred in the cut.
As you flush the wound, but it starts bleeding again. You can use an antibacterial soap to wash the wound neatly.
If the infection gets into the incision, then the use of antibacterial treatment would be suggested.
Apply Antibiotic Cream
As you washed your wound, apply an antibiotic cream to the cleaned wound and cover the area with the bandage.
If you are noticing the wound is swelling, and there is pain/redness, it could be a warning sign of infection.
Immediately call your doctor or to go the emergency and seek treatment to get rid of the infection.
If there is any other sign of infection, that the rabbit has like, rabies or any other disease then within no time go to the emergency for treatment.
It is recommended that you can get the tetanus booster if it has been more than 5 years if the wound is deep and dirty.
You may need a tetanus booster shot.
What to Do if Your Wound Becomes Infected?
Although rabbit bites rarely turn into something too serious requiring standardized medical treatment, they can become infected.
If that happens with you, you need to see a specialist to treat your wound right.
Signs of infection
- Swelling and redness
- Pus, or discharge from the wound
- Lack of healing- if your wound seems to stay as it was on day one and is not showing any signs of recovery, you should consult an expert.
Take your bunny to the vet.
If you have not been keeping up with your fur buddy’s vaccinations, you need to take them to the vet if they have bitten you.
Rabbits are carriers of many viruses and bacteria, so it’s essential to ensure that your pet doesn’t have an illness that it might pass on to you.
Although rabbit ailments don’t usually affect humans as they do rabbits, they can trigger a reaction in the body. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Get your pet tested for all the possible infections. When you have the results, ask the vet if you need to worry about anything.
Lastly, get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in ages. Doing so is a must even if your pet has tested positive for any disease.
How to Stop an Aggressive Rabbit From Biting?
Aggressive rabbits could be dangerous they need to be calm down properly.
Firstly, they need to be spayed or neutered. Basically, they need to be neutered around 4 months of age, before the hormonal aggression has a chance to start.
If you become late in doing this, then ask your vet how to stop this, if it could possibly treat the aggression.
Secondly, aggressive rabbits must be learned to be gentle and to trust. This could solve a lot of problems.
This could take from weeks to months, and it is worth time taking and needs effort.
Your bunny fears and mistrust you, you have to find out why it fears you, and how you can come across its fear and make it trust.
Start to manage your aggressive rabbit with caution and a soft voice. Reach slowly. Do not try to pick your aggressive rabbit.
Do not try to pet an aggressive rabbit. Read different body languages of rabbits.
Offer treats to rabbit in their bowl, not with the hand as they might bite or attack you.
Make sure your rabbit feels safe. Try to avoid things that may cause the aggression of rabbit-like noise, environment other pets, etc.
As this process takes time but you have to be patient with your rabbit, otherwise, it will be difficult to deal.
Calm the Aggressive Rabbit
The first thing to calm the angry rabbit is to make sure why your pet rabbit is upset. Which thing is making him behave weirdly.
It can be noise or environment. Check its cage. Is it too hot? Is it cold or drafty? Is there no water? Is there a food present?
Check its cage condition. Is the cage clean or not? Look there is dirt or smell present in the cage?
Then examine the environment around the cage. Is there is anything that is causing the rabbit to get scared? It could be any toy or thing that could feel like a predator.
This can be like a dog, cat, or bird which the rabbits are fear of. These can cause the rabbits to get scared and upset them.
You also have to find is there another thing that causes the rabbit to scare. It could be noise. It can be a neighbor’s dog barking. It can be of loud music or television voice.
Once you figure out, all the things that are making the rabbit get angry and scared, calm it well.
You can offer it different treats, speak to the rabbit gently and softly. If a rabbit is responding to you, then pet it with gentle strokes on its head or where it wants to be petted.
If the rabbit is not responding to your gentle voice and soft touches and does not want you to come close, it is better to leave it alone in the room.
Before leaving the room, dim the lights and make sure there is no extra thing that could scare the rabbit, and remove all such sort of things carefully.
Give your rabbit to calm down alone in that room, where it feels safe and protected.
Discipline your Rabbit
Discipline a rabbit, it is not in that way what you are thinking of. Rabbits are not trained animals. You have to discipline them without getting panicked.
You do not have to hit the rabbit to discipline them. Physical discipline does not work.
This will cause the rabbit to fear you, as a result, which causes the rabbit to bite or attack you.
The better way to discipline the rabbit is to remove rewards.
For example; when you are playing with the rabbit and it bites you, make a loud squeal and stop playing, this will let the rabbit know that it hurts you.
Stop giving it a treat, so it will know if it does this again then you will not play with it.
If your rabbit is playing nicely, then give him the treat, that’s how a rabbit will know that if it plays like this, then you offer him the treat, and do not bite again.
Why do Rabbits Nibble?
Nibbling, also sometimes referred to as nipping, can be a show of affection.
However, mostly, bunnies nibble because they want something.
9 out of 10 times a pet bunny turns to the act of nipping when they want attention.
Like most living creatures, rabbits need constant love and care, and in some cases, they might require more affection than most others, especially when young.
Younger bunnies are scared, incapable of fending for themselves, and need their moms to function.
But when you adopt such a tiny baby, they can feel as though they are left to their own devices, which is something they can’t do.
The thought of being alone and in danger can make a bunny baby much more afraid than other bigger bunnies.
You need to shower such a pet with extra love and care to help them get used to the new settings.
Once a fur bud becomes familiar with the environment and seems comfortable, many bunny parents withdraw some of the TLC they have been giving their pet.
This withdrawal of affection can trigger a bunny’s need for attention, forcing it to nip on anything it can get its teeth on, preferably the owner.
If your fur baby seems to be doing that, you should assess your behavior with them. Ask yourself, have you been ignoring them inadvertently?
Can they be feeling abandoned? Surely if you have reduced the time you spend with them, you’d realize it right away.
In extreme cases, when an owner fails to recognize their pet’s call for attention, they might find themselves at the receiving end of an attack, aka an act of biting.
Therefore, pay close attention to your bunny’s behavior to stop any bad habits from getting worse.
A Display Of Affection
Many times a bunny nips to show affection. Typically nipping to show appreciation doesn’t last too long.
Your bunny is more likely to stop doing that once you start to stroke it.
Unlike humans who can use their words to express their hunger, rabbits use their teeth to do that.
When your baby is hungry because you forgot to feed them, they’ll ask for food by slightly pinching you with their teeth.
Sometimes differentiating between biting and nipping can be tricky, especially if a bunny is young and cannot exert much force with its teeth.
For such scenarios, keep your ears peeled for certain grumpy sounds that rabbits tend to make when upset.
If you hear fur bunny grunt or grind its teeth, know that any attempt to ram teeth is most likely a biting endeavor.
Why A Rabbit Bites?
Typically, a rabbit resorts to biting when it feels threatened or in danger. However, there are other reasons as well.
Here are all the triggers that prompt a bunny to bite
Like humans, bunnies can get angry, but they don’t usually know how to channel their negative emotions.
As a result, they act on instinct and, like most animals, bite the person/thing making them upset.
Aggression due to anger occurs typically due to hormonal imbalance.
When a rabbit is not neutered or spayed, it might react violently because of the hormonal surges in the body.
If you haven’t de-sexed your adorable little baby yet, you might want to do that to reduce aggression in your pet.
Even if they haven’t shown any signs of hostility till now, you should get them neutered to avoid the problem completely.
Fear is perhaps the most common and powerful driving force behind a bunny attack. Bunnies are naturally on-edge most of the time.
This means they are alarmed easily, which more often than not triggers their attacking response.
A rabbit is more likely to get scared in the early days after becoming a pet when it is in the process of adjusting to a new environment.
If your furry bud is a new addition to your family, give them time to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
Don’t introduce them to unfamiliar faces until absolutely necessary. Let them trust you and form a bond with you.
When acclimatizing your new hopping child to their new home, try not to force them to mingle.
Don’t pick them up unnecessarily and try to stay on the ground while interacting with them because if you tower over them, they’ll be frightened.
A relatively rare possibility, biting out of boredom can happen in some cases.
Because animals don’t know how to communicate their feelings, they can get restless and frustrated, which results in them getting aggressive.
This means that your rabbit might turn to the practice of chomping down on your hand or foot if it cannot convey their boredom to you otherwise.
If you are lucky enough (read: observant), you will pick up on the signs of your bunny’s boredom and make arrangements accordingly.
The best way to engage an idle bunny is by giving it multiple avenues for entertainment. You should give your new family members lots of toys and leave plenty of space in their hutch so that they can frolic in the sand.
Most pets are territorial or tend to get so when they sense possible infringement of their home by someone else.
Rabbits are no different in that regard. If they feel as though their turf is at risk, they can get aggressive.
Such an incident is more likely to happen if you bring a new pet into the house.
Naturally, when your fur friend sees you merrymaking with some other creature, they will feel jealous and react violently.
To prevent your pet from getting insecure, be very thoughtful when getting another pet.
Make sure the two animals do not run into one another until you want them to meet.
And when you think that it’s time to introduce the two fellows from the animal kingdom, proceed with caution.
Let them see one another for a short amount of time at first, then gradually increase the duration.
A gradual increase in the period of exposure between the two pets will give them both space to adjust.
Bunnies are adorable little creatures that seem too cute to bite anyone, let alone their owner. But under some circumstances, as mentioned above, they can get hostile.
If that happens with you, don’t get mad at your little friend and give them up for adoption.
Instead, patiently work with them and try to figure out what’s making them so irritable that they feel the need to bite you.
Give them attention and all the possible toys and accessories they might need to feel comfortable.
Involve an expert, like your vet, if need be- that is, if you cannot understand your pet’s behavior.
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