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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Rabbits, although cute and cuddly creatures, are known for being extremely good at procreating. So, it’s not a surprise that both female and male rabbits have a thing for humping. Although when male rabbits do it it’s pretty self-explanatory, it may seem odd when females do it.
So what’s really the reason behind female rabbits and their humping habits? It might not be as obvious an answer as you’d expect.
1 – Establishing Dominance
Animals can communicate with one another in their own way, through different physical behaviors. One of which is humping. Rabbits are incredibly social creatures and thus are always trying to communicate with one another.
However, they’re not communicating to share bunny gossip with one another – they’re doing it to establish dominance.
Rabbits function in hierarchies. As a result, there must always be an alpha. Rabbits aren’t so quick to give this up, and thus a fight to be at the top ensues. A rabbit, whether male or female, will hump another rabbit to try and assert dominance over it. It may also nip or lick the rabbit that it’s trying to dominate.
Putting two female rabbits together may result in incessant humping. This is because they are both trying to dominate one another.
This could happen especially if a new rabbit is introduced to a community where an alpha already exists. The new rabbit will likely try to take over as alpha, while the current one will try to protect its position.
Typically, the humping will stop once a rabbit has earned dominance. However, if it continues it could lead to more serious activities such as biting. If this does happen, make sure to separate your rabbits as soon as possible to prevent further injury.
2 – Change in Environment
There may be other reasons why your female rabbits are still humping despite the established dominance. If you’ve recently moved them from one cage to another, they may be humping simply to mark their new territory.
Rabbits that are moved into a new cage may want to hump to make themselves at home. It’s nothing to be concerned about and once they’ve marked their new cage, the humping should stop.
Rabbits may also hump each other if one of them has picked up a foreign scent. By humping, they are simply trying to regain their scent back.
3 – Sexual Maturity
Another, more obvious reason for a humping rabbit is that it has reached its sexual maturity. Humping is their way of courting one another.
Although traditionally it is the male rabbits who initiate, females are also known to do it too. Even rabbits that have already been neutered tend to hump, it’s simply in their nature.
Researchers have discovered that rabbits tend to be ready to breed the most during spring. This is because the weather is ideal to have kits. Rabbits still have the instinct to want to breed despite being neutered, and the instinct is at an all-time high during spring.
Unlike other animals though, rabbits can breed year-round and don’t have a specific season in which they do it. That’s why rabbits are known to have so many kits. In fact, a rabbit can have several litters within the same year.
4 – Grooming and Affection
As mentioned earlier, rabbits are social creatures and like to communicate with one another. Although your rabbit may seem like it’s humping, it may actually just be trying to groom its fellow friend. Grooming is also another way to show affection toward one another.
By humping, rabbits may also just want to play or may simply be looking for attention from the other rabbit.
5 – A Process of Bonding
Rabbits are typically very affectionate creatures and are known to bond with one another by grooming and yes, even humping. This will happen especially when you’re dealing with two brand new bunnies or are introducing a new one.
As mentioned earlier, rabbits that have been separated may have lost the scent of the other rabbit. They will try to hump to reacquaint themselves with one another.
The mounting shouldn’t be an issue unless it gets aggressive and the rabbits start to fight one another. In this case, the best thing to do would be to separate them into different cages. Try not to separate them too often, however, as each time you do you will have to reintroduce them to each other once again.
Neutered Rabbits Will Still Hump
You can neuter your rabbits all you want, but they’ll still have the urge to hump. But the earlier you neuter them, the sooner they will outgrow their humping habits.
Neutering has been proven to have several benefits for rabbits, aside from the fact that they won’t constantly be reproducing. Rabbits that are neutered tend to be healthier and happier since they can be around other rabbits without you having to worry about a new litter.
The more social rabbits are, the happier they are.
Should I Stop My Rabbit’s Mounting Habits?
Many people may grow concerned if their rabbit is humping excessively. After all, it isn’t exactly something you want to see when you first wake up in the morning. If excessive humping is becoming a problem to the point where it’s injuring the other rabbit, you should definitely stop it.
Neutering usually helps curb a rabbit’s hormones and may help with the humping. But typically, a rabbit will grow out of it over time.
While we’re used to seeing male animals initiate humping on the female, rabbits are a little different. Their social hierarchy is a complicated but fascinating thing, and as pet owners we must learn to respect it.
It’s important to understand that a rabbit may simply be trying to establish dominance if it’s humping another one, and not necessarily be trying to mate. As long as there are no tufts of fur flying around and no blood to be seen, your rabbits should be okay with a little humping here and there.