Why Do Rabbits Get Mean?

Pet rabbits are supposed to be kind and gentle. Their soft white fur and big paunch belly would re-enforce this notion. However, rabbits have sometimes been known to get quite aggressive for seemingly no reason. But don't be fooled. There is a rhyme and reason for everything, including your rabbit's anger.


Reasons for Rabbit Anger
Every rabbit is a little different, so it's hard to say why one rabbit may be feeling angry at any given time. Luckily though, anger usually stems from a few very basic problems. Some of these include:
Similar to teenagers, rabbits are raging with hormones. Their transition into sexual maturity can happen anywhere from 3 to 8 months of age. These hormones can make a rabbit extremely aggressive and irritable, causing them to box, bite, and engage in other destructive behaviors. Also, rabbits may display unusual behaviors like spraying urine, abandoning litter box habits, and even growling.


Oftentimes, a rabbit attacks because he is afraid.
According to Dr. Dana Krempels of the University of Miami, there is an answer; she says, "Rabbits who are spayed (females) or neutered (males) are much less likely to display objectionable sex-hormone induced behaviors such as aggression, mounting, and urine spraying." A rabbit's rampant sexual energy should not be underestimated. There is a reason that people always joke about it. If you don't believe me look at the statistics. Some rabbits get pregnant multiple times per year, producing upwards of 100 baby bunnies! Between the sexual frustration and the potential for pregnancy, pet owners may want to consider making an appointment with the local vet because it may just save you and your children a lot of hassle.


Rabbits are famous for their fear and their nervous behavior. Like with all animals (including humans), fear can lead to lashing out and aggressive behavior. Some of the most common fears amongst rabbits are: quick movements, loud sounds (like thunder and pots and pans slamming), and BEING PICKED UP. Many rabbits hate being picked up. It's not that they don't like the affection; it's that they don't like being held up so high, and they don't like not being in control when they are out of their cage. Instead, pet owners should get on the same plane as their rabbit if they want to play.

Build Trust
In order to deflect the aggression that stems from fear, pet owners need to be sensitive and aware of what bothers their pet. At that point, you can start to develop trust and love with your rabbit. Pet owners should never hit or spank their rabbits. Because rabbits are so skittish and need to trust their owners, hitting will only damage the relationship beyond repair. If your rabbit does something inappropriate (like bite or scratch) make a loud screeching sound instead. These loud screeches are how rabbits communicate and are the best way for you to get through to your pet, so you can develop a strong relationship.

By: Tim Snyder