The most common misconception about rabbits is that they are always sweet, shy, and cuddly, but it’s important to recognize that rabbits can also exhibit aggression. Whether a rabbit becomes aggressive towards its owner, a stranger, or a mate, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent escalation into fighting and injury from biting.
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund reports that some owners neglect their rabbits when they exhibit aggressive behavior, but it’s essential to understand that rabbits don’t become angry without reason.
By learning to recognize your rabbit’s moods, you can prevent negative outcomes and ensure a peaceful home environment. Read on to learn more about this topic.
The Basics of Aggression
Aggression refers to a characteristic that shows hostile behaviors. Aggression centers on a strong physical or emotional feeling. They also added that it could harm others and themselves if not controlled.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), aggression is common in animals. The wild has tough competition, so they must be strong and fearless.
It can also be seen in humans. They get angry if their pride is hurt, so they will try to defend themselves. It’s a form of counterattack to avoid losing the battle.
It goes the same way for rabbits. Occasionally, you can see them become aggressive for several reasons. It’s not ideal to say they are aggressive because they growl at you. Aggression can mean a lot of things, especially in the animal world.
In fact, the House Rabbit Society stated that aggressiveness is 90% due to behavioral problems and not innate to rabbits. So before you think of surrendering or neglecting your pet just because they are aggressive, you must first learn why they do so.
Read More about Rabbit Facts: Rabbits Facts: The Common Question About Your Rabbits
Reasons Why Rabbits Get Angry
The Rabbit is Fearful
When your rabbit becomes fearful, it can lead to aggression. They act like that because they can perceive danger in their surroundings. The feeling that they need to defend themselves can escalate into aggression. For example, if you suddenly pick them up, it can make your pet anxious, and they may try to bite you to escape from your arms.
Moreover, you can often see a fearful rabbit in an adoption center. That is because most rabbits there are surrendered by their owners. They are neither neglected, abused, nor have experienced trauma from their previous owners.
It’s important that when your pet is fearful, you don’t respond with the same energy. Instead, be a source of confidence for your rabbit. Approach them calmly and reassure them that everything is going to be alright.
The Rabbit is In Pain
Rabbits cannot talk, unlike humans. Therefore, when they are uncomfortable, such as experiencing pain from an injury, they express their discomfort through changes in their behavior.
According to Oxbow Animal Health, rabbits are adept at hiding their feelings when anxious. Hence, when your pet suddenly becomes angry, it is an indication that something is wrong with them.
Thoroughly check their body, including under their thick fur and paws, for possible injuries. If you find any, schedule a visit to their veterinarian immediately to prevent further infection.
The Rabbit is Stress
Yes, rabbits can also become stressed. You see, your pet is a sensitive animal. A small change in their environment, food, and lifestyle can distress them. This can contribute to their behavioral changes, such as they become more grumpy. Always introduce your pet properly to new things to prevent them from exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Rabbits Assert Dominance
Fighting between rabbits is commonly seen among males. This behavior can also be observed in other animals. In the animal kingdom, roles and ranking are essential. This social structure defines the position of each animal in the group.
Every group of animals needs a leader who is strong enough to defend the group from threats. To maintain this ranking, rabbits must assert dominance, which is why they can become aggressive.
This behavior can also be observed in domesticated rabbits because of their hormones. If you own more than three rabbits and they share the same cage, it’s crucial to train them to become familiar with one another to prevent fighting.
The Rabbit Has a Litter
Another reason why rabbits can get angry is that they have litters to care for. A mother rabbit is very protective of her babies. You must keep a distance when nursing because they will try to bite you. But occasionally, some rabbits let their owner touch the babies. The key point here is to observe your pet to see if it will let you go near them. If not, respect them and let your rabbit handle the babies unless emergency intervention is needed.
How To Tell The Rabbit Is Aggressive
Stiff Body Position
When a rabbit is angry, their body will suddenly become stiff, and they may start to shake. This indicates that they are fearful of something in their environment. If you notice this behavior, try to identify the root cause. Check for possible intruding animals or injuries.
Charging Body Position
If a rabbit is leaning back and appears ready to jump at any moment, it is a charging position. This is a sign that the rabbit is getting ready to fight to defend itself.
Rabbits are not typically vocal animals, but they may produce a low growl as a warning sign when they are angry. They may show this behavior if they perceive a threat from you or another animal.
Biting or Nipping
An angry rabbit is likely agitated and may bite or nip at things around them to relieve stress. For example, they may bite the railings of their cage. If you try to touch them while they are in a tense state, they may also bite you. To avoid this, make sure they are calm before approaching them.
Dealing With Angry Rabbits
The most important thing to remember when dealing with an angry rabbit is not to panic. According to National Geographic, animals can sense human emotions. When they are angry and you are panicking, it’s not a good combination. Your rabbit will just continue to be aggressive.
Ensure that your rabbit is calm first. Try calling their name if they will respond, and if they do, calmly walk toward your pet. You can offer them their favorite treat to divert their attention.
When your rabbit is sensitive, you must start training them in socialization. It’s a good approach to help your pet become familiar with different surroundings and animals. That way, you can prevent them from becoming aggressive whenever they sense new things.
- Rabbits can get angry due to a lot of reasons. You must prevent this from happening because it can lead to serious problems like rabbit fighting and biting other species.
- Aggression is not genetics. According to House Rabbit of Society, 90% of aggression cases are due to behavioral issues. It’s not ideal for dictating that a rabbit is aggressive just because of one bite.
- Some owners neglect their rabbits once they show aggressiveness. But you need to remember that you can always prevent this form from happening. Be informed and research everything about your pet.
- Aggression can also be seen in other animals. It is how they defend their group and territory, especially in the wild.
- Here are the reasons rabbits become aggressive; they are fearful, in pain, feeling stress, asserting dominance, or have a litter they need to take care of.
- General signs of an angry rabbit include; stiff body position, charging body position, growling, and biting or nipping.
- Do not approach your angry rabbit because they will try to bite you. Ensure that you are calm first. Or you can offer treats to divert their attention from escalating aggressiveness more.