Rabbit Aggression


Rabbits are relatively calm creatures. As animals of prey, it is in your best interest not to draw too much attention to themselves. That said, they have a unique way of communicating, from dancing to speed starts and going around. Let's study the behavior of a rabbit here.

Dances and jumps

Many people who are not familiar with rabbits as pets may not know that rabbits have a very dramatic way of expressing emotion and joy. They dance! Jumping in the air, twisting and turning their bodies, and kicking their feet out, a spectacle. It's really fun, because they create a great acrobatic display. I argue that anyone who thinks that rabbits are bored has not seen a rabbit dancing.

Speed ​​starts

When rabbits run around the room with blur, they are performing this behavior. Their speed starts are sometimes accompanied by fantastic stunts and show extreme emotion. Count on a speed start every time you're about to give your bunny a treat.

A bunny often rolls on himself in satisfaction.

Rabbits show affection licking (grooming). You will often see the pairs of rabbits that are preparing, which shows that they have a strong bond.

An excited rabbit can hum while circling. This means happiness, or when it is around another rabbit, it could also mean sexual arousal.

Purring / grinding teeth

Bunnies sometimes show their enjoyment if you are stroking them by grinding their teeth. This is the form of a rabbit purring. But grinding of the teeth can also mean discomfort or pain. The sound due to pain is often louder and more frequent than when it is made due to joy. You will be able to see the difference by observing other behaviors, next to the grinding of teeth. For example, if the rabbit is lying with its feet stretched out, in a relaxed way, it is showing joy. But if the rabbit is hunched over and tense, and shows no interest in moving or eating, or shows aggression, then it means pain.

Rabbits in general, only scream at death or from extreme pain. Request veterinary assistance immediately if this happens.

An angry rabbit can deliberately kick with his feet. In a wild environment, this translates to kicking dirt on the face of the other animal. Expect to get this "imaginary dirt" after a nail cutting session.

Rubbing is a rabbit's way of saying, "It's mine!" When he rubs his chin, where he has special aroma glands, he's marking his territory.

Sniffing and pushing

Rabbits explore their environment through inhalation and pushing. A push can also indicate a level of authoritarianism. Your rabbit might be saying, "You are on my way." They may also be trying to get your attention, because you are ignoring it.

Digging in the legs or feet is another way rabbits try to get your attention.

Rabbits often pinch in order to get attention. In this case, they don't want to cause harm. To discourage this behavior, shout (as if it hurt a lot) every time it happens. The pinches will become softer and less frequent, and eventually the behavior will be completely discontinued.

Sometimes rabbits pinch aggressively. Maybe you've put your hand in your rabbit's space. Aggressive behavior can be reduced by spaying or neutering your bunny.

Rabbits strike with their hind legs when they feel danger. It serves as a warning signal for others in the area.

Rabbit Aggression

Aggressive rabbits can be frightening. These animals bite hard, kick hard, and move fast> feel intimidated. So before approaching a rabbit that shows aggression, you must understand the following principles:

1) Rabbits are not born bad.

Ninety-nine percent of aggressive rabbits have a behavioral problem, not a genetic one. The behavior can be changed, so give your bunny a chance> sterilization .

There is very little chance of having a calm rabbit after 4 months of age if they are not sterilized. Think of the human teenager. Your rabbit is growing, hormones are in control, and your rabbit is changing.

4) You should never hit a rabbit.

Some people try to "teach" to his rabbits not to bite by hitting the nose or even hitting them with newspapers. This will only aggravate the problem ten times.. Your hands should be seen only as a source of affection, com> NEVER hit your rabbit because it bites you. He / she will never forget, and this will do things much worse.

You need to make your rabbit understand that his environment is safe and that you are there to help. If you can learn not to react when he jumps or attacks, that will teach your rabbit, "Hey, this doesn't work."Use a son> stroking your rabbit from the top of the head back, slowly.

Are rabbits aggressive?

If you were thinking about adopting a rabbit and have heard about the aggressiveness in these, you may want to back down. However, you can be calm, because Rabbits are not aggressive as a rule. On the contrary, they are very affectionate animals and very fit as pets.

In addition to his Tender character, they are easily trainable and quite cleanWell, they have a habit, like cats, of cleaning several areas of their body. They will only need you to clean their cage every day and give them lots of pampering, which seems even easier than having a dog and a cat.

Why aggressiveness may appear in rabbits

So, if rabbits have a friendly and tender character, what causes the dreaded aggressiveness in them? One of the main causes of this is territorial behavior.

Rabbits are territorial animals as in the case of dogs and cats. Therefore, when we try to invade what they consider their territory, aggressive behaviors can arise. So, while the rabbit is in its cage we must respect its space and not want to force it out or touch its things like its feeder or its water.

The best cages for rabbits and prevent this from happening, they are those that They have a front door that can be opened and allow the rabbit to leave only when he wants to. If you try to put your hand in its territory, that is, its cage, most likely it will try to attack you. To you or another person to try.

More causes of aggressiveness in rabbits

In addition to the aforementioned, there are other main causes why aggressiveness can appear in rabbits. These are:

    Little contact with humans. Every animal that is adopted as a pet must be socialized so that in the future it has a good behavior with other pets and also with people. If a rabbit, since he was little he hasn't had>

What to do if your rabbit is aggressive?

Once we have identified the causes, you should know What can you do so that your rabbit feels less aggressive. These are some of the things that concern you:

  • Analyze your space. A rabbit, like any other pet needs its space, as we have said before: they need a place that they consider their territory. This should be in optimal conditions, both space, and place and temperature. Make sure your rabbit feels comfortable in the place where he is, and that he has everything he needs to feel at home.
  • Crush it. One of the main reasons for aggressiveness is sexual desires, so if you castrate your rabbit it is very likely that the problem ends.
  • Treat it with love. If aggression has been born as a result of abuse, there is only one antidote: love. Talk with love to your new pet, pet it, treat it with love and you will see how little by little you gain their trust.
  • Give it your space. We already know that you would love to snatch your rabbit all day, but, as you have seen, he does not like to feel invaded, so it is best that you give him his space and let him be the one who approaches you when he is ready .

If you think your rabbit is aggressive, analyze the causes and try to do your part to help him with the advice we have given you. If they don't work, go to the vet to determine other causes, which might be more serious.

The nature of the wild rabbit

The rabbit we currently have as a pet is descendant of the common rabbit or European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, and was not tamed until the 16th century A.D.

Both the anatomy of the rabbit and its physiology are designed to avoid predation, because the rabbit is at the beginning of the food chain, after the primary producers or plants. The areas of your brain destined to the perception of smells, sounds and images are highly developed: both your eyes and your ears are placed on both sides of the head, to be able to be attentive to all around while practicing other behaviors, such as food.

Its smell is so developed that it competes with that of the dog, in addition, they spend most of their time sniffing the air to detect odors. They also have a vomeronasal organ which serves to detect pheromones and thus detect their peers and relatives. This is very important if we have two litters of rabbits with different mothers, because if we put them together it could occur infanticide, a very common type of fatal aggressiveness among rabbits.

The strong legs of the rabbits are prepared to help them escape quickly if necessary or to fight and establish the hierarchy within the group. Adult females tend to be more territorial and aggressive with their peers.

He aggressive behavior It has been widely studied among wild European rabbits. There is a hierarchy of domination between females and, separately, among males. When the dominance hierarchy is established, especially in the spring, at the beginning of the breeding season, the fights are very intense. However, during the breeding season or heat its intensity decreases. After delivery, they stay near their burrows and are intolerant of other rabbits. According to some studies, the average distance between two wild rabbits in a large seminatural enclosure is 20.7 meters.

Well-positioned rabbits in the hierarchy of their group are more fruitful, since they have lower stress levels. The immune system of rabbits is closely related to the social position.

In nature, wild rabbits can be lonely or gregarious, cooperate or not in the surveillance of the group, live on the surface or under the ground, they can also select an open area to live or more bushy. Therefore a wild rabbit can change your behavior according to the risk of predation and, if they wish, choose a new habitat to live.

In addition, the dispersion or abandonment of the group by new born individuals is a natural event in rabbit groups. Half of the rabbits they will leave the group when they reach five months of age.

How to present two rabbits?

Ideally, it is better to introduce two rabbits than have not yet reached sexual maturity, since most behavioral problems related to aggression appear just after puberty.

There are several methods to present, for the first time, two rabbits. In this article we present the method safer and less stressful both for rabbits and for humans who experience the situation.

We will start this procedure in a neutral room, where the rabbits have not been before, we will place the two cages, one next to the other. In this way, little by little, the rabbits get to know their respective smells. After a few days, we will begin to exchange the rabbits in their cages, so that each one leaves its smell in the other's cage.

When we have done this several times and no symptoms of stress are shown, we will begin to let the rabbits out of their cages in turns, first one and then the other. After several days, we can open both cages and let the rabbits interact freely. It is important to take into account the size of the room or enclosure, because, if it is not large enough, animals can be stressed by not having an escape route.

Also, at this time, we must separate the cages and that they are each in a place in the room. If each cage has two holes, one entry and one exit, we will prevent one rabbit from cornering the other. Although both rabbits are male, one of the behaviors we can observe is that they ride, although they are not yet adults. This serves to mark the hierarchy, practice adult behaviors or play.

We must observe the behavior carefully of both rabbits and let them solve the hierarchy among themselves, stopping the process if one of the two becomes excessively aggressive and one of the rabbits bites and attacks the other.

It is important to remember that all animal presentation processes should be carried out gradually, always without forcing the animals and knowing that they take a long time.

It is not advisable to have rabbits in pairs, of the same or different sex, in the same cage. If the rabbits are adults without sterilization, we must postpone the presentation until one month after the sterilization of both individuals. If we do not take this fact into account, it will be very difficult or impossible to put them together later, especially if we want to have male rabbits together.

Rabbits as pets

We are talking about rabbits here as pets. As rabbits in the wild are generally too shy to approach humans, it is very unlikely that you will encounter an aggressive wild rabbit. Rabbits need space to run for exercise, but they must also be happy enough to live in a cage when they are not supervised. Rabbits are also usually big pets for the children While they may provide an unpleasant pinch, whether aggressive or not, they are unlikely to cause damage.

In saying this, very young children should not be allowed to be near rabbits. Young children should never be left near rabbits without supervision. This is for the sake of the rabbit as much as the child is. While they are often unintentional, children can disturb the rabbits If they are not handled correctly. This can lead to aggressive behavior in a rabbit.

Rabbits are intelligent and most will be relatively docile, especially if they are educated and trained from an early age. They are also crepuscular. This means that they are more active during sunrise and sunset. They can fall asleep throughout the day, but they usually sleep at night. This can make them good pets, as it means that their owners share a lot of time together.

A fact about rabbits related to aggression is the fact that their teeth and claws They never stop growing. If your rabbit does not have proper care and access to teeth sharpening materials, they will not only become aggressive, but can also cause an unpleasant wound if they bite.

What causes aggression in rabbits?

The care of rabbits It's like any other pet care, even when you think you're doing the right thing, you can end up antagonizing the creature. Knowing the causes of aggression in rabbits along with a strict dose of time and patience will help calm the bunny. This will improve the quality of life of both the pet and the owner, fostering a loving relationship that will be mutually appreciated. Here are some general causes for rabbits to become aggressive:

    No human contact : Some rabbits may not have had> Treating aggression in rabbits.

Rabbits are not born aggressive. Even if they are wild, they are almost always more defensive than antagonistic. Even if they are charging and pinching your ankles, it is more common to be due to a hormonal or environmental change. Rabbits have cyclic behavior patterns, which means they repeat certain actions. The more you learn these bad behaviors, the harder it will be to reduce aggressive attitudes.

The good news is that, in fact, they can change their aggressive patterns , but the sooner you solve the problem, the better. Just like welcoming any pet to your family, it is very important to do your research first. Some of these methods for dealing with aggressive rabbits will be best performed as preventive measures instead of waiting until a problem arises.

It is important to remember that your rabbit's aggressive behavior will not change on its own. The responsibility lies with the pet owner to address these behavioral problems and return it to its happy state.

Spaying or neutralizing your rabbit

The first method to cure aggressive rabbits It is one that should be standard for the care of rabbits pets (unless you are a breeder, of course). The territorial behavior of the rabbit is a common symptom of sexual frustration and can bite when it feels threatened. Your hormones can cause them to behave in a way that you may find surprising. They can even growl and try to attack you.

Sterilization (for female rabbits) and castration (for male rabbits) is their first port of call if a rabbit enters sexual maturity . Both are a simple routine operation that removes all or some of the sexual reproductive organs. While this may seem cruel on the surface, these are functions that are required to live in nature. With domesticated animals, they will not need these functions and will only lead to problematic behaviors such as aggression.

There are other positive aspects to sterilize or castrate your rabbit . It can increase its lifespan, which means that you and your rabbit can have a longer and happier life together. Neutralization also reduces the risk of certain diseases such as ovarian cancer. It can make males more confident with other rabbits, which promotes social interaction with other rabbits.

Stroking your rabbit properly

While we have been discussing the sometimes problematic relationship that rabbits have with their owners, a happy rabbit will enjoy being petted and cared for by you. They are social creatures and they can become very loving in the right circumstances.

If your rabbit's aggressive behavior is because he is stroked incorrectly, then you will have to rethink how you do it. One of the most tense moments for a rabbit is when you open the cage or the cabin door to interact with them. If you don't do it correctly, you could end up scaring the creature. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Wear long sleeves To protect his arms.
  • When you open the door, do not put your hand immediately, but wait a minute for the rabbit to recognize its presence.
  • Extend your hand slowly, making sure it is slightly to the right or left of the rabbit so you know it is approaching . Don't do it so slowly that it will make the rabbit tense.
  • Gently touch the rabbit (don't hit it) on the top of the head and then remove your hand.
  • Repeat this a few times so that the rabbit knows that you are not attacking him.
  • After a few touches like this, place your hand in front of the rabbit.
  • If the rabbit does not attack, start stroking it normally.

You are likely to take some attempts if your rabbit is particularly aggressive. He can even try to bite you, so make sure you have time and patience on your side. It may not happen the first time, but if you consider the other factors in this article and take time, you should see the results. It is also important pet your rabbit from above.

Keep odors away.

Even if we keep a good hygiene There are often odors in our hands that we can't even register, but sensitive noses can't stand. This is particularly the case when it comes to other animals. If you have other pets or have been near another animal, your rabbit might think it is in danger. This is particularly the case if the animal is a rabbit predator.

Not all rabbits will have a problem with these odors, but if your rabbit is aggressive and you can't understand why, it's a possibility. Be sure to clean your hands properly between petting another animal and petting your rabbit.

Rabbits don't like them either strong odors , so if you are prone to use perfume or spicy cologne, you should consider using less when interacting with your rabbit. If there is something near the rabbit hutch or cage that emits a strong smell, you should also consider this. Maybe you have a barbecue or compost pit nearby. You should consider moving your rabbit to an area that is more accommodating.

Keep good company

If your rabbit is aggressive because of another rabbit, it should be relatively obvious. They will attack each other, will growl more often and generally they will be at opposite ends of a cage. If one or the other of the rabbits has not been neutered, doing so will help calm them. If they have been sterilized, you should make sure you take the time and be patient.

Two rabbits that live together often take a little time to get used to each other. Animals like rabbits have a social order, so one will want to be dominant . If you have a female and male rabbit together, then the male may seem dominant, especially with repeated assembly. However, it is not uncommon for women to exercise their own domain. Your tolerance for certain male behavior will not always last forever.

Two males together are less likely to get along. This is unless they are from the same litter and have been raised together. Keep the buns from the same litter It is ideal, since they will mature together and have a natural union. Otherwise, two males are likely to be aggressive with each other, unless one is able to maintain dominance. If you have two male rabbits that are not neutered and unrelated, they are very unlikely to get along. You should consider separate cages.

In saying this, you should also ensure that your rabbit behavior is genuine aggression. Some rabbits will be in a bonding process that involves a certain amount of bustling behavior. This may include some grunts and bites, but this is an important part of the union. You will have to detect if they are playing, mooring or fighting . Signs of safe fire are constant attacks, loss of fur and even blood draw.

Take your bunny to the vet

If you have checked all possible causes of aggression in your rabbit, but you are still lost, take your rabbit to vet . Rabbits have some particular needs, so a veterinarian with experience in rabbits is needed. They will be able to check the teeth and claws of their rabbits, as well as diagnose any other underlying condition that may be causing aggression in their rabbit. They will also be able to advise on a neutralization if necessary.

If you now know why your rabbit is aggressive and has treated these causes, you will still need to maintain a high level of rabbit care. Fortunately, this is an easy and pleasant task. While you are being careful not to aggravate the bunny, you will also need to give him a lot of love. Wet them often and give them pampering and attention when necessary, peace when necessary.

Rabbit socialization to understand natural behavior

The correct socialization in domestic rabbits will depend on our ability to understand your natural behavior and inherited from their wild ancestors. Taking this fact into account, we will prevent the appearance of behavioral problems, including aggressiveness, whether towards their peers, other pets or humans. To do this, we show you several tips:

  • The cage must be enough wide and safe.
  • Must be sterilize to rabbits before reaching sexual maturity, this will reduce the likelihood of a rabbit biting another. In addition, we will also prevent them from marking the territory, other pets or us with urine.
  • We must give each rabbit a space Large enough for you to perform all your natural behaviors and exercise several hours a day to stay healthy.
  • It is ideal to have more than one rabbit and to be able to relate to each other, always having made a correct presentation.
  • All rooms in the house where the rabbit can roam freely must be supervised and be prepared so that the rabbit can be sure. For example, do not leave cables within reach and can be electrocuted.
  • Give our rabbits toys so they can gnaw and a place to scratch.
  • All household members must learn how to hold a rabbit, because if they do it wrong, the rabbit can split the spine. They should never be held by the ears.
  • Daily handling is important if we want our rabbits to be comfortable with us, always positive and rewarding good behavior.
  • Always use the positive reinforcement, never hit or punish the rabbit.

The aggressiveness among rabbits It should never be dismissed, much less if it appears suddenly. So, if we observe that our rabbit is aggressive with other rabbits, we must observe their behavior and analyze whether we are offering them the necessary care for their well-being.

Any change in behavior in our pets can be a symptom of stress or pain. If two rabbits that have always got on well start attacking, it is time to visit the vet, it is the one that can best help you discover the problem.

As always, we must take into account the nature of the species. For example, the rabbits become aggressive when it comes time to reproduce, since in nature they must compete with other females for the best nesting place.

If we do not sterilize the rabbits we have as pets, it is more likely that aggressive behaviors will appear and that, finally, we should drastically separate the rabbits. The best is that before adopting To a rabbit, you duly inform yourself of its ethology and physical needs, in this way you will avoid future problems.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why is my rabbit aggressive with other rabbits?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.