When Bunnies Attack: What to Do When Your Rabbit Bites
Yes, bunnies are incredibly cute, playful, and fun little individuals, but they also have some tendencies that may be somewhat surprising to the uninitiated. Though they are prey animals, they can have a somewhat vicious streak at times, and those big incisors can make for a nasty bite if bunny decides that you deserve it.
People are often mystified about what to do when their rabbit starts behaving like a pit bull, but here are a few tips to get you through the hard times.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Bites
- Do not hit the bunny, or toss it across the room whilst screaming wild curses. The desire for this sort of reaction is understandable, but it is generally frowned upon in rabbit keeping literature. Gently encourage the bunny back to its cage, where it can feel safe and will be able to decompress. Think of it as a bunny time out, if that helps.
- Clean and disinfect the bite. You don't want to have any nasty infections to be weakening you next time you have to do battle with the small, fragile, and fuzzy creature.
- Figure out why the bite occurred. Did you scare the bunny? Did you offend the bunny? Did you hurt the bunny? Did the bunny simply decide that you needed to be taught a lesson? All these reasons are valid ones in the mind of a rabbit.
- Take steps to avoid a repeat episode. Once you have determined the reason the bite occurred, take steps to avoid it again. Rabbits that are in pain, or are scared will often bite, and you don't want your pet to become frightened or perpetually hostile towards you. Bunny/human relations can often break down when these incidents occur, and if you don't stop and think about things from the rabbit's perspective, then you may end up with a situation less easily resolved than the conflict in the middle east.
- Make amends. Or, as our Christian friends like to say, turn the other cheek. This doesn't mean you should shove your fingers down the bunny's throat, but you should spend some time interacting with it in a positive way, once you have both had time to calm down. Keep an eye on the bunny in future, and if it shows signs of trying to bite again gently dissuade it. Bonding with your rabbit in a positive way is the best way to reduce future bites.
Should You Squeal If Your Rabbit Bites?
Some sources say that you should emit a high-pitched squeal if the bunny bites you, letting it know it hurt you. This only works if the bunny didn't intend to hurt you, which in some cases, it did. After all, what do you think it was trying to do when it abandoned its herbivorous instincts and got a mouthful of flesh? Squealing may help, or it may not. Try it and see what your bunny does. If it simply gets a pleased and sadistic look in its eye, you can assume that it didn't help.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.