All rabbits are gentle and affectionate creatures. Sure, not every rabbit will like cuddling with you. But they are generally non-aggressive and rarely bite.
Rabbits are emotional animals. Gentle and docile by nature, they can get aggressive if provoked. They can also get stressed or scared for many different reasons. This can often cause your furry friend to bite or scratch you.
A bite or nibble might not be painful. But you should treat it as a sign that your rabbit needs help. We are here to tell you why do rabbits bite and how you can prevent them from biting you.
What Makes a Rabbit Bite?
Rabbits can get aggressive for many different reasons. Identifying the cause is important to stop them from biting you. Most behavioral experts agree stress leads to aggression. You can learn more from one such expert in from this article.
Let us look at what might cause your fluffy friend to bite.
A rabbit can be a moody pet. They like a bit of space to move around. Not all rabbits are the same, so they won’t all be comfortable in the same environment.
Certain rabbits can live in small spaces and still be happy. Others prefer to stretch their legs and will stress out in cramped spaces. These animals can tend to scratch and bite at the walls or gates of the enclosure. They might also bite you when you go into feeding them.
Furthermore, a smelly or dirty enclosure can stress your rabbit out. Rabbits are odorless and keep themselves clean. Smelly rabbits can bite, especially if kept in a dirty cage. A smell can be a cause of concern, and to know more details about a smelly rabbit.
Rabbits that are picky eaters will get upset if you don’t give them their favorite food. Your first indication should be your pet, not eating a new type of food. Trying to force them to eat will cause them to get aggressive and bite you.
If your pet is not fed consistently, they will get stressed out as well. If your rabbit is obese and put on a diet, it might get stressed out. During this phase, they can potentially bite you too. Taking away their food is also an easy way to get bitten.
A healthy rabbit is a happy rabbit. And happy rabbits don’t bite. Like humans, rabbits can fall ill, and this can be painful or uncomfortable for them. They often nibble or bite at their owners to communicate their uneasiness.
Rabbits that aren’t maintained or cared for can fall ill. They can start avoiding social contact and get agitated if you try to force it. In these circumstances, they will most certainly bite and even scratch you.
Rabbits are timid and are easily scared. This is the most common cause of stress in rabbits. And there are lots of things that can scare your furry pet.
Bringing a new rabbit home can stress it out. Being in a new environment would stress anyone out, let alone a humble rabbit. Moving homes have the same effect.
The same is true for rabbits and new relationships. Being with a new owner can be scary. We are much larger than our furry friends, and it can be intimidating. Trying to touch your pet when it isn’t fully comfortable is the quickest way to get bitten.
If you ever wondered, ‘why does my rabbit bite my dog’? It is for the same reason. Dogs are often gentle and caring, but their size can scare your tiny rabbit. Even when they just want to play.
Rabbits kept outside can bite you if they sense predators nearby. Frantic movement, scurrying, or digging at the ground is another indication of this.
Rabbits have strong reproductive needs. If your animal can’t meet these needs, they will get very stressed. Rabbits in heat can suddenly get aggressive and start biting.
Look at your rabbit’s age and habits. If it has no mate and no signs of illness, it’s probably in heat.
These rabbits will stop biting once the heat subsides. But they will go back to being aggressive once the feeling returns.
Are Rabbit Bites Dangerous?
As you can tell, your rabbit can bite you for many reasons. Now you might be wondering, is it dangerous? The short answer is no.
Rabbit bites are not dangerous and carry no risk of infection or disease. They are not rabid animals, and thus do not need vaccination. Even if they bite other pets, like your dog, it is perfectly safe.
They do not bite too deep, but it can be a little painful. Often, it’s no more than a gentle nibble, but some can cause you to bleed. Even then, it should require no medical intervention. But you can choose to consult a vet.
How to Stop Your Rabbit from Biting?
We have already mentioned how to know what might be stressing your rabbit. Now let’s look at how to stop them from biting.
If your rabbit seems unhappy with its surroundings, it will certainly let you know. You should make sure the cage or hutch is big enough. This means letting your rabbit have enough space to walk around. Check out our list of the best rabbit cages [How to choose the best cage for your rabbit] if you can’t decide which enclosure to pick.
Certain rabbits can live in small cages, but they need to be regularly taken out. If they get to roam around before going back to the cage, they will stop biting. If the biting persists, get a bigger enclosure!
Lacking social space can cause stress too. This might require getting enclosures with private rooms for de-stressing. You can also close off certain parts of an open enclosure to give your furry friend some space.
Finally, keep their living space clean. Rabbits are clean animals and like staying that way. Make sure their litter is properly disposed of. If you wish to know how to litter train your rabbit, here is the details.
Controlling a rabbit’s diet might be difficult. If your pet refuses to eat anything but a certain type of food, you have a problem. It won’t be getting a lot of nutrients that it needs.
To remedy this, do feed them their favorite foods. Mix it up with other types of food to balance out their diet. They might bite you and be resistant at first. But they will soon start to eat different foods.
If your rabbit stops eating altogether, it might be sick. If you are new to owning rabbits, consult your nearest vet as soon as possible. Always be patient and never try to force-feed your rabbit. When they get back to eating regularly, the biting will stop.
As already mentioned, sick rabbits can bite. Biting, social distancing, and not eating are all signs of illness. However, other factors can cause these symptoms too. If you feel your pet is sick, do not hesitate to take it to the vet. Once recovered, the rabbit will no longer bite you.
If your rabbit is in a new environment, give it some time to adjust itself. It should open up to you on its own. Once it gets more comfortable, you can attempt to get closer and touch it without fearing a bite.
Forming a relationship with your pet is essential. Regular interaction is critical, so it feels safe in your presence. Some rabbits will never like cuddling or lifting. If your rabbit bites you when you try to cuddle or lift it, it probably doesn’t like it!
If kept outside, your furry friend might be afraid of predators. Even in a fully protected enclosure, they can still feel scared. Bring your rabbits inside if this happens, or give them treats to calm down.
And if it’s your dog the rabbit is afraid of, just give it some time. Rabbits biting dogs are okay; the dog will learn not to aggravate the rabbit. Some dogs might need encouragement from their owners. If you monitor and promote a friendly relationship, the biting will soon stop.
Finally, if you think your rabbit might be in heat, you should not ignore it. Find a suitable mate for your lovable pet, and it won’t bite you anymore. But, that might not always be an option.
If you don’t want your rabbits mating, de-sexing is a good choice. Neuter male rabbits and spay the females. This will stop them from going into heat and biting you as well.
Rabbits are cute and adorable but can be complex and needy pets. If your furry friend is biting you, it is essential you know why do rabbits bite. Once you understand them better, you can stop the biting altogether. We hope you now have an answer to do rabbits bite, and how to prevent them.