Why Does My Rabbit Runs Away From Me?

More often than not, your pet rabbit will run away from you if it’s afraid.

Now, it could be afraid of you or something that it expects you to do. For example, your rabbit may feel unsafe being returned to the cage.

This will typically occur if there’s something uncomfortable about where it’s staying.

There are many reasons why your rabbit may run away from you. So, this article addresses that so that you can form a healthier relationship with your pet.

Moreover, you can ensure it feels safe and happy at home.

Reasons Why a Pet Rabbit May Run Away from You

It’s best to evaluate every possible reason why your rabbit may run away from you whenever you approach it.

This is because some reasons can be more serious than others. So, here’s what you must know.

Your Rabbit Wants to Play

A common but not worrying reason is that your bunny wants to play.

In some cases, your rabbit may want to be chased by you as a form of play.

Look for Signs That Your Rabbit is Playing or Not

There are some common signs to check if this is a form of play or not. The first is that your rabbit will likely approach you before running away.

In addition to that, your rabbit will have a confident posture throughout the chase. It may also look back to check if you’re still after it or not.

Your rabbit may also wag its tail to indicate a playful mood.

It’s important to note, however, that this won’t be likely if you don’t have a good relationship with your rabbit.

If your rabbit doesn’t typically like being held, then it may not be asking you to chase it for fun.  

Your Rabbit Does Not Like Being Handled

Even though rabbits have started to become domesticated, many still don’t like being handled by humans.

This means that they may get stressed or squirm when you try to pick them or touch them.

If you always pick up your rabbit or handle it, it will be afraid every time you get near it.

So, avoid handling it without first developing a strong bond of trust between you and your pet.

Also read: How to Get Your Rabbit to Like Being Held?

Your Rabbit Is Uncomfortable with Returning to Its Enclosure

Your rabbit may not like returning to its enclosure after playtime. So, if you usually try to pick it up to return it there, it will associate that whenever you approach it.

If your rabbit seems unhappy with its enclosure, it’s best to monitor your pet when it’s inside it.

Perhaps the space is too small. Possibly your rabbit feels alone within the enclosure. It may also be getting bored there.

So, you could make some changes. Rabbits are social animals and often are happy when they live in pairs. You could consider getting another one.

Other than that, you could increase the number of toys in the enclosure if it seems bored.

Your Rabbit Is Angry with You

While this may be a rare cause, it’s possible that your rabbit is staying away because it’s angry with you.

In that case, it helps to think back about some way you may have offended your rabbit.

Your rabbit may not like it if you refuse it a treat. In addition to that, it may also be angry if you don’t provide adequate attention.

You can rectify this by showing it some love or giving it a treat.

Also read: How to Discipline a Rabbit?

What You Should Not Do When Your Rabbit Runs Away from You

If your rabbit runs away from you because it’s scared or angry, the last thing you should do is attempt to chase it.

You will only add to your pet’s stress and fear.

Why Continuing to Chase It Is a Bad Idea

Rabbits get stressed fairly easily. What’s more, is that stress can be disastrous to the animal’s health.

It can cause various health problems and even fatalities in extreme cases.

You could Injure Your Pet by Picking It Up

At the same time, it’s also best not to grab your pet rabbit if it runs away from you.

This is because it will most likely squirm and try to escape your grasp. In doing so, it could severely injure itself.

Rabbits have relatively fragile backs. So, they could break their backs by moving around a lot.

Also read: Why Does My Rabbit Pee on Me?

What You Should Consider Doing When Your Rabbit Runs Away from You

What you should do instead is be patient and allow your pet to come to you.

Sit down or lie on the floor in front of your rabbit and call to it.

Consider Offering a Treat to Make It Feel Relaxed

It could also help to offer a treat to get its attention. It may also reduce any fear it’s experiencing at the time.

In addition to that, you could consider petting it if it’s comfortable with that.

It’s best to pet your rabbit on its head, neck, and at the top of its body. Typically, rabbits don’t like being touched along their belly area.

Only when your rabbit seems relaxed, consider picking it up. So, avoid picking it up without first preparing it for that.

You could also help lead it to the enclosure instead of lifting it there.

Improve Your Bond with Your Pet for the Long Term

In addition to short-term steps, you should also make an active effort at improving your bond with your pet for the long term.

This is a slow process, so you’ll have to be patient.

It’s always a good idea to start while your rabbit is still young. This way, it will be comfortable with being held or pet when it’s an adult.

You can develop your bond and get your pet to trust you by the following.

  • Giving it attention
  • Offering it treats
  • Petting it without trying to pick it up
  • Lie down on the floor or sit there to avoid looking like a threatening figure to it
  • Stay calm and avoid making fast movements or loud sounds

Rabbits typically require a lot of attention to stay happy and survive. So, if you have a busy schedule, you could consider hiring a pet sitter.

If not, you could get a second rabbit to give it company when you’re not around.

What to Look Out for If Your Rabbit Started Running Away for the First Time

In some cases, rabbits may start to run away from you even if they’ve never done that before.

Typically, some radical changes could cause this problem. Let’s get into them.

Changes in the Environment

Rabbits get accustomed to specific environments and may not react well to a sudden change.

So, changes in your home or your pet’s enclosure could cause it to run away from you unexpectedly.

If you’re changing the environment, make sure the process is gradual. So, keep familiar elements within a new enclosure.

Change certain bits of the enclosure one by one, giving your pet enough time to adjust.

The Addition of a New Family Member

It’s important to remember that rabbits are prey animals.

So, they often fear larger animals.

The Addition of a Pet Cat or Dog

If you get a pet cat or dog, there’s a good chance that your rabbit will be afraid of them.

That fear may also translate to you if the pet cat or dog chases your bunny. It’s best to keep the pets apart or monitor every interaction.

Also, it can help to wash your hands after handling a pet cat or dog before approaching your rabbit.

Rabbits have a strong sense of smell. So, it may feel threatened if it can smell another large pet off you.

The Addition of a Child

At the same time, the addition of a baby or small child that can walk may make your rabbit feel threatened.

This is more likely if your child chases your rabbit.

It’s in your pet’s best interest to limit the interaction between your child and your rabbit.  

Last Few Words

Other than when your rabbit is playing, you should never chase it when it runs away.

You’ll only feed its fear that away. Be patient and allow your rabbit to feel comfortable.

Taking small steps can show significant improvement over time. So, focus on keeping your pet safe, happy, and comfortable by being attentive to its needs.

Other articles you may also like: