Yikes! Suddenly aggressive bunny!

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by sofie.fatale, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Oct 1, 2013 #1

    sofie.fatale

    sofie.fatale

    sofie.fatale

    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    I have a 11 week old female Holland Lop named Caramel. We’ve had her for a month now and she has always been a little timid since day one. I take her out of her cage every other day and let her sit on my lap while I watch TV. She seems to enjoy this and often times licks my hand.

    Up until a few days ago, she has always allowed me to reach in and clean her cage while she eats. We are still working on litter training and it has been hit and miss so far. She tends to urinate and poop just outside the box. A few days ago, I reached in to clean up and she lunged and bit me! I yelped and she ran into her corner. When I reached to pet and calm her, she growled and lunged at me again! I thought maybe I had startled her but she behaved like this again today. What is going on with my bunny?
     
  2. Oct 1, 2013 #2

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Messages:
    6,559
    Likes Received:
    1,212
    Location:
    Utah, , USA
    Most likely it's hormones and territorial behavior kicking in. She's the right age. Getting her spayed will help if it is a hormonal issue(will probably help with the litter box training too), but may not if it is behavioral. I would suggest using a THICK glove until you can get her spayed, so that she doesn't learn that your hand goes away when she bites. When she does go after your hand, make sure not to withdraw it. When I've had that happen, I will usually stick my gloved hand right near them and when they don't bite I give head rubs(if that is something she likes) or a treat will work too, so that you are rewarding the good behavior. It will probably be easier to clean while you let her out to play, at least until you can get her spayed.

    For the litter training, try putting her hay in a corner of the litter box or in a hay bin over the box. That sometimes helps as they like to eat and poop. Some other things, if you are using a small litter box(especially the corner ones), try a bigger cat litter box or plastic bin. Some buns don't like feeling cramped when they pee. Also the type of litter can sometimes make a difference. Some buns don't like the feel of the coarse pelleted litter on their feet, so using a softer litter like aspen bedding or carefresh may help, or what I do is just put a soft layer of hay over the pelleted litter.
     
  3. Oct 1, 2013 #3

    sofie.fatale

    sofie.fatale

    sofie.fatale

    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Thanks for your reply. I've got a large corner litter pan, large enough for her to completely stretch out in with room to spare, and it has a plastic guard and elevated wire floor panel. I put Carefresh, hay, and shredded paper in the box.

    She has only recently begun pooping everywhere. For the first couple of weeks, it was contained to one area of the cage, but not in the litter box.

    I will try the glove idea. I did pull my hand away when she bit/lunged. Not that it hurt, I was more shocked that my sweet, cuddly bun could be so aggressive.
     
  4. Oct 1, 2013 #4

    ams1786

    ams1786

    ams1786

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    It sounds like it's just standard cage aggression as she's still a bit young for hormones to kick in that strongly. Many rabbits are very territorial about their homes - imagine if a giant shoved their hand in through your window when you were trying to sleep or relax. I have a girl with cage aggression but she's perfectly fine otherwise. Just try to do cleanup when she's out playing. If you have to put your hand in when she's in there, gently cover her eyes and pet her head while you're working.

    Rabbits are just like human babies - when they're tiny they don't really object to anything (such as being held). Sounds like she's growing up and learning her version of the word "no."

    It also could be that she's not feeling well, as uncomfortable buns can get aggressive, but if she otherwise seems fine then I wouldn't worry.
     
  5. Nov 7, 2016 #5

    Shayechique

    Shayechique

    Shayechique

    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Can anyone help I adopted two French lop bunnies they were a bonded pair and the animal shelter spayed them before we brought them home. Everything was fine first 3 weeks they did everything together then all of a sudden they began humping each other fighting until clumps of fur was everywhere. What do I do? They have a big enough cage 72x30. I but two of everything water bottles hay rack pellet bowls. I let them out twice a day for 2-3 hours at a time. Does anyone know what is going on? I feed both fresh veggies and that is the only tray they share. We are in a war zone and now today our gray lop started growling and lunged at me. I had to spray her with water to make her back down
     
  6. Nov 7, 2016 #6

    Shayechique

    Shayechique

    Shayechique

    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NULL
    Can anyone help I adopted two French lop bunnies they were a bonded pair and the animal shelter spayed them before we brought them home. Everything was fine first 3 weeks they did everything together then all of a sudden they began humping each other fighting until clumps of fur was everywhere. What do I do? They have a big enough cage 72x30. I but two of everything water bottles hay rack pellet bowls. I let them out twice a day for 2-3 hours at a time. Does anyone know what is going on? I feed both fresh veggies and that is the only tray they share. We are in a war zone and now today our gray lop started growling and lunged at me. I had to spray her with water to make her back down
    BTW this pair was abandoned in a park month before we adopted
     
  7. Nov 9, 2016 #7

    Aki

    Aki

    Aki

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,186
    Likes Received:
    231
    Location:
    France
    That's a weird way to behave for a spayed doe. Are your rabbits both does? Same sex pairing can be unstable and scuffles are not that rare with that configuration, especially if the does both have a bit of a queen complex. You can try to remove them from their place, wash everything with vinegar to remove the smells and reintroduce them from scratch in a neutral place (like a bathroom) before putting them back in their set-up at the same time. Sometimes, pushing the "reset" button helps. Anyway, as long as it's only fur, you can leave them (supervized!) settle their problems between themselves. At one point, one of them will come out on top... until there is a coup. I've known bonded rabbits whose hierarchy was really unstable and with alternating top rabbits. Having always taken great care to keep male / female pairings myself, I've never had that problem (in my experience, the female is top rabbit, always). Agression towards you is another problem. What were you doing when your doe growled and lunged? Some rabbits are very territorial and can't stand people touching their stuffs. Something might be unsettling her (your clothes, a particular hairstyle...). Some rabbits can't stand being touched in certain ways (I've once had a rabbit who was the nicest cuddliest rabbit ever... until you touched The Tail - if you touched his tail, you had a warning growl and if you did it again, your hand was ground meat ^^).
     
  8. Nov 9, 2016 #8

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Messages:
    6,559
    Likes Received:
    1,212
    Location:
    Utah, , USA
    It's possible they need more space and are too confined, and that is causing the issue. Try adding a permanent run area around their cage and see if that helps. If indoors you can use a puppy pen. Or rabbit proof the room they are in and allow permanent free roam in that room.

    However, if it's not just a bit of minor chasing and nipping that is going on, but that they are actually fighting, you will need to separate them for several days to weeks, then attempt to rebond them in a neutral area. Their fighting can also explain the aggression towards you. It's called referred aggression and should calm down once they are separated. If you have a female/female match, that is the most difficult one, so in the end it is possible the bond might not work out.
    https://www.thebunnychick.com/2013/11/19/7-ways-hurting-rabbits-chances-bonding/
    http://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/
     
  9. Nov 13, 2016 #9

    katiecrna

    katiecrna

    katiecrna

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    63
    Baby rabbits are sometimes too scared and timid to be aggressive. So what happens is they may not like what your doing and they are unhappy but they let you touch and handle them anyway because they are scared. But once they get a little older and the hormones come in they get more confident and more brave and they start to stick up for themselves and defend their selves, aka be aggressive.
    Do some research on how to PREVENT your rabbit from growing into a aggressive bun. This includes bonding. It's important to bond now with the rabbit so she starts to like and trust you now. If there is no bond and the rabbit doesn't trust you she will get more aggressive as she gets older.

    Tips: spend time with her everyday. Don't just pick her up and put her on your lap. Buns hate to be picked up and you are forcing and controlling her to do something. Let her be in control and read her body language. Sit in a pen with her and just let her explore you and don't touch her yet. She needs to get comfortable with you and she needs to make the first move if that makes sense. Also like others said, don't reach in her cage. Her cage is her safety place. Open the cage and if she wants to come out she will if not than just leave her alone. And again, getting her spayed will help with her hormones but you still need to work on bonding. :)
     
  10. Nov 13, 2016 #10

    katiecrna

    katiecrna

    katiecrna

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    63
    Shayechique separate them ASAP. Keep them in 2 separate cages and give them time apart. Your going to have to start the whole bonding process over. Rabbit can really hurt each other and even kill each other. Research how to start the rabbit bonding process to help you :)
    Keep us updated and let us know how it's going.
     

Share This Page