The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Bringing a rabbit into your house is a big decision, and one that you must take after considerable care. They might be small creatures, but rabbits often need a considerable amount of care. If you are thinking that you are going to bring a rabbit home and just leave it in your house unattended, this might not be a suitable choice for you.
Understanding the signs and behavior of your rabbit is very important, and it will help you determine how to deal with the animal. Rabbits are incredibly cute creatures, but like any other animal, there is a vast difference between the domesticated breeds and the wild ones.
In some cases, it might seem a bit difficult for the average person to determine if their rabbit loves them, but you should know that these animals have a different way of showing their emotions and their feelings. For instance, many people just think that their rabbit is trying to nibble them or bite them, whereas the animal might simply be showing a bit of love.
Rabbits are generally cuddly and cute creatures, and there may come a time when you might start to think that the animal hates you. Obviously, that’s not true, and it’s important for you to understand that these creatures are generally quite understanding. There are many cases where rabbits will try to nuzzle up to your leg.
Then again, there’s always the risk that the animal will just start humping your leg. If you are going to bring a rabbit home, you need to do your homework and figure out all of the important elements associated with the animal before you bring one in.
They might seem cute at first, but all of that is going to go away when you realize that the animal is turning aggressive. It is important for you to take appropriate steps to make sure that the animal does not adopt destructive habits.
First and foremost, you need to understand rabbit aggression. Biting and clawing are both common ways used by rabbits to show their aggression. Understanding their levels of aggression during different stages of the animal’s growth is important. Here’s what you should know.
The most significant changes in the animal’s behavior are going to appear when the animal is in its early adolescence, so roughly around three to four months.
This is also the time when the animal’s hormones are going to kick in and the rabbit will reach sexual maturity. The rabbit is probably going to start kicking and biting around this time, and if you have a male, it is also going to start spraying urine to court others.
Female rabbits, on the other hand, usually become territorial around this time, and this bad behavior is going to continue until you decide to neuter or spay your rabbit. This is the time when the animal is marking its territory and making things worse, so you have to be a bit particular about it.
Then, when the animal hits its teenage years, which is roughly around the six-month mark, the rabbit is going to get properly mature. It is going to reach its adult weight and size, and the animal might decide that socializing isn’t its forte. Around this time, the rabbit is simply trying to figure out its maturity and establish an identity.
This is also around the time when dental issues tend to arise in the rabbit. You have to keep an eye on the animal and make sure that you take it to the vet on a regular basis, otherwise these problems are only going to get worse with time.
You also need to make sure that the animal gets a healthy diet of fruit, herbs, and lots of grass. Almost 80% of their diet should be made of hay.
Why Is My Rabbit Biting?
There are quite a few reasons why your rabbit may decide to bite you. Let’s explore these reasons one by one.
1 – It’s Showing You Love
Many people mistake nibbling as an active mistake, whereas you should know that many animals just tend to nibble because they are showing you love.
Instead of just pulling your hand away quickly, you might want to consider waiting it out a bit. If your rabbit is just affectionately nibbling on your fingers or toes, there’s no reason for you to jump away.
Rabbits are very gentle nibblers, so it’s not like this is going to hurt you in any way. Furthermore, you should know that this is often the way that rabbits tend to show their love for their owners. Usually, rabbits are going to lick you right after they are done with the nibbling or the affectionate biting.
This is just the rabbit’s way of grooming you. The important thing to note here is that rabbits only groom those that they love, so if your animal is doing that, it’s a good thing!
2 – Your Rabbit Might Be in Pain
One of thereasons why any animal usually lashes out is because it is in pain. You should know that when the animal is in pain, it will usually bite. If the rabbit bites you in a rather aggressive manner, it’s probably the animal trying to show you that it is in pain or that something is hurting the animal.
For instance, if you are touching the animal in a particular spot or holding it too tightly, you should know that the animal might bite you. It might just be reacting to a particularly sensitive region that you might be touching. If the animal has sustained an injury, it is important for you to rush it to the vet quickly.
The vet will be able to give you a better idea about the pain that your rabbit is going through, and how to care for it. Many animals that harbor injuries often try to hide them and don’t show it at all. That is why it’s important for you to make sure that you take them to the vet for a routine inspection.
3 – The Rabbit Might Be Scared
There is also a strong chance that the rabbit is going to bite you when it is fearful. If the rabbit just gets spooked or if it is scared, there is a reason that the animal might bite you. There are a few indicators that you need to look out for that indicate a problem. The rabbit may start stomping the ground loudly, and there is also a chance that the animal will puff out its fur.
The eyes might get wider, indicating a bit of anxiety. You might want to take a look at the animal’s surroundings to determine what exactly might have spooked it all of a sudden. Remember, domestic rabbits need a calm and controlled environment at all times.
These are prey animals and will get spooked at loud noises or sudden movements. Make sure that the place where the animal is kept is nice and easy with little to no sudden movements or loud noises.
4 – Aggression Issues
Then, you have to consider the possibility that the rabbit might suffer from aggression issues. This is a very real problem that usually arises over time. You need to make sure that the animal is socialized from an early age and you also need to make sure that you provide a safe and sound environment for the pet.
You should know that if the animal is thumping or stomping it is likely to occur when the animal is in a different mood. For instance, the rabbit might begin to stomp or thump when it is quite excited, or when it feels that you are ignoring the animal.
How Do I Stop the Biting?
There are a number of different things that you can do if your rabbit begins to bite you. First of all, a common mistake that many people make is that they tend to hit the rabbit as soon as they get bitten.
This is simply going to cause the animal to become afraid of you, and as mentioned above, it’s probably going to bite you purely out of fear.
You don’t want that to happen, so it’s imperative that you never hit the animal. Just move your hand away and make a stern face and tell the animal loudly that it’s doing wrong. Rabbits will pick up that what they have done is wrong, and as a result, will eventually stop doing it over and over again.
Furthermore, you should never yell at the rabbit. Many people start shouting at the rabbit when they are bit, and that’s a terrible thing to do. Remember, rabbits are unable to understand why you might be yelling. You should just talk to them in a firm tone.
The animal is only going to flinch and get scared, and this isn’t going to help with the biting at all. A common mistake that many people make is that they tend to hit the rabbit with another object, or something soft such as a newspaper.
Hitting the rabbit with anything is only going to make things worse, and it’s just going to increase your distance with the rabbit. You don’t want that.
Remember, rabbits are loving creatures and they do not understand the concept of punishment. It is recommended that you always avoid hitting the rabbit or shouting at the animal in any way.
You have to make yourself into a safe figure for your rabbit. The animal looks at you when it wants safe harbor and food, and it looks to you for affection. It’s important that you simply say something firm to the rabbit and then tell it to stay away. When the rabbit doesn’t bite you, you should always give it praise and use positive reinforcement.
If your rabbit is busy trying to bite you, one of the things that you can do to attract its attention is to clap your hands or make a noise with your mouth. Anything that is novel is going to get noticed, and the rabbit is going to immediately stop and divert its attention.
This is a great way to change things up so that the rabbit doesn’t bite you. You have to understand that these animals do not understand the concept of punishment, so it is important that you never hit them or yell at them. You might want to consider putting a few pennies in a can of soda, and shaking it loudly whenever the rabbit tries to bite you.
It’s a surefire way to attract attention and the rabbit is definitely going to look the other way and focus on something else when you do something like this. These are very cute and impressionable creatures, so it’s important that you think outside of the box when looking at ways on how to discipline the animal.
The key is to always be consistent when it comes to stopping the animal from biting. If you are not consistent in your approach and the rabbit gets mixed signals, it’s just not going to help train the animal.
For instance, if you are going to make a sound whenever the rabbit tries to bite, you should make sure that it is the same sound every time. The rabbit will simply get confused if you make a different noise every time.
At the end of the day, you should know that rabbits are going to nibble whenever they want to show affection, or whenever the animal is in a playful mood. It is of the utmost importance that you look at various ways to deal with this problem and come up with strategies to keep the animal engaged. If the rabbit is bored throughout the day, it is also likely to turn destructive.
Give the animal a few toys to play around with and make sure that the environment is conducive for the animal to have fun and play around!