Rabbits getting "meaner"

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Jul 22, 2021
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idk what to title but here's my problem, these days they've been kind of a mean where when i try to pick them up they'll bite me or scratch me just to jump back to their cage. It's sad because their first days in my house they loved my cuddles plus they would always jump on me every time for treats or to sleep but now they're just kinda distant. Can you guys please give me tips? I'm only 14 and i'm trying to be responsible so i'm the only one taking care of them without my parents :))


Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Sep 10, 2012
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Utah, , USA
You need to stop trying to pick up your rabbit. Picking up a rabbit that dislikes being picked up, will damage your relationship with your rabbit, which is what is happening. Rabbits are a prey animal. Picking up a rabbit stimulates a prey response of them reacting to a predator grabbing them to eat them. Most rabbits dislike being picked up, this is normal rabbit behavior.

If you continue to try and pick up your rabbit, your rabbit will continue learning not to trust you. So you need to do things differently now. You will need to build a trusting relationship with your rabbit if you don't want your rabbit to be scared of you anymore. This involves spending time with your rabbit and no longer trying to pick up your rabbit, to allow your rabbit time to learn to trust you again. If you need to move your rabbit or do grooming, there are other ways to accomplish this.

Also, if your rabbits were babies when they liked you picking them up and cuddling, and now they're adults, that can also explain why they no longer like being picked up. It's normal for babies to not mind it, but it all changes when they become fully mature rabbits. Plus you also have hormones causing issues when they become fully mature.

If you have more than one rabbit and they aren't spayed/neutered, make sure to keep them separated or you could end up with either a pregnant rabbit(if you have a male and female) or you could end up with rabbits having a vicious fight, particularly if you have two male rabbits.


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Dec 8, 2006
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Kindness Matters - Waukesha, WI, ,
Are there noises in your house that would scare them? Other pets? Noises they can hear through the windows? Scents on your hands that would cause a defense reaction? Environment in general? What changed besides the youngsters reaching puberty?

(p.s. one of our spayed street babies gouged my skin each time I smelled pretty or differently from shower gel scent, hand soap, sanitizer, etc. This behavior occurred for 13 years.)

Hormones can cause aggressive behavior. I agree with JBun that a rabbit may not like being handled or picked up. // Although shelter experiences and our rescue transitions have shown that numerous rabbits, when they feel safe and secure, will not react and be "mean."

Our experiences with shelter-transitioned rabbits and the 19 that arrived in our home (3 adults whom hub captured after they were dumped outdoors, and soon after 16 babies the 2 unspayed girls gave birth to) provided different reactions to being held and picked up.

Building a trusting relationship, so true, as JBun typed. And separate QUICKLY before more enter this world that may never find a loving forever home.


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