Aggression in Rabbits
Biting is a rabbit's
way of communicating a variety of messages including
fear, bossiness, irritation, curiosity and even
lust. Rabbits frequently tell each other to get
out of the way with a nip. Hands near a rabbit's
face can be seen as a threat or intrusion. Do not
greet a rabbit by offering your hand to be sniffed.
Put your rabbit's cage on the floor so he can come
out on his own. Make sure he is out of his cage
when you reach in to fill his bowl or litter-box.
If you must reach into an occupied cage, gently
push your rabbit's head to the cage floor and cover
his eyes with one hand so he cannot see you reach
into his home with your other hand.
Use a high pitched
"EEEEEK!", followed by a firm, but non-aggressive
"nooooo" to let your rabbit know that his bite hurts.
Placing your hand on his head and pressing down
gently will help him understand that you are the
boss. Never push his head down in a violent or punishing
way. Rabbits do not understand punishment. Unspayed/unneutered
rabbits tend to be much more aggressive. Unspayed
females are particularly territorial, if they are
going through a real or false pregnancy. Territorial
behavior may include lunging, grunting, boxing,
scratching, kicking and biting. If your rabbit is
not spayed or neutered, the surgery is recommended.
If your rabbit is spayed
or neutered and you've tried the above steps but
your rabbit is still acting agressively to you,
please call (414) 431-6173. A behavior expert may
be able to help you with your rabbit's aggression.