Why Do Pet Rabbits Bite & How To Stop Rabbits From Biting?

If you are thinking about getting a new pet rabbit then you may be wondering if Pet Rabbits can bite you or your children.

Rabbits are the most adorable and fluffy pets! They are playful, they have lots of energy and they love to cuddle. But Pet rabbits are also fragile prey animals. That means we have to make sure that we don’t mishandle them.

Handling or interacting with rabbits the wrong way can easily scare or hurt them. In such cases, a pet rabbit may bite you. But that may not be the only reason why a rabbit may bite somebody, Read on to find out more..

So Why Do Pet Rabbits Bite?

Although pet rabbits are generally very docile and harmless they may sometimes bite humans or other animals. Unlike us humans, rabbits do not have the luxury of opposing thumbs. That means, just like most animals they depend on their mouths and teeth to grab things, move things, and even communicate.

Where we can just raise our hand and gesture somebody to move away or call them, rabbits have no such option. So what do they do?

Well, they have developed a unique way to convey to other rabbits what they want by Nipping them!

Some Common Reasons Why A Pet Rabbit May Bite
  • Rabbit Not Bonded With Its Owners Or Other Rabbits Near It
  • Bunny Is Not Spayed Or Neutered (Desexed)
  • Rabbit Housing Does Not Provide Enough Freedom Of Movement
  • It Is Being Mishandled or Has Been Mishandled In The Past

How To Tell Nipping From Actual Biting?

Nipping is a small bite like action, pet rabbits bite softly as a way of communication. This is often done in a playful manner with humans as well as other rabbits. But sometime a nip may be too hard or may scratch the skin. This makes a playful behavior in rabbits quite intimidating to first-time rabbit owners or small children.

Even if your rabbit’s Nipping may not hurt you but it is a behavior that may cause problems for the people around you.

Does a Rabbit Bite hurt?

rabbit bite cut

Well that depends on you and the rabbit. But just so that you know, rabbit’s front teeth are really sharp. After all they chop through a ton of hay every day. So yeah, if the rabbit intends, it’s bite can cut you.

Yet, most of the time that would simply not be the case. Most rabbits bite softly as a warning and unlike dog or cat bites, they hardly bite and grab on. Rabbits tend to bit and then run away in a flash.

This makes rabbit bites hurt much less than dog or cat bites!

Are Pet Rabbit Bites Dangerous?

Not to adults but any animal bite can be painful to children. The good news is that rabbit bites do not cause any infectious diseases. Unlike dog or cat bites where you may have to get painful rabies shots.

Plus in most cases rabbit bites may not scratch the skin, which mean even basic first aid may not be needed.

In case you get cut from a rabbit bit then basic first aid like disinfecting the cut and putting a band-aid on it works absolutely fine.

How To Stop Pet Rabbit From Biting?

If you find that your rabbit keeps biting you and you do not know how to stop it then definitely try all of the ways mentioned below. Biting is a behavior mostly by fear and a lack of bonding between rabbit owner and rabbit.

In case you want to learn more about bonding with your rabbit then check out How To Bond With A Pet Rabbit.

If you want to have your rabbit stop biting and take your time with them so that they can change their behavior then read on!

Here is what you need to do..

Create A Bond With Your Rabbit

Just like any other pet, when you bring a new rabbit home they may be very anxious and in fear. The journey from the shelter or pet store to a brand new environment can be really stressful to your rabbit.

In the first few days its best to not touch or pick up your rabbit too much. Let the rabbit come to you if it wants.

Hand feed new bunnies as much as you can and do not do anything that spooks them.

This way the rabbit will have no reason to fear you and will prevent them from biting you.

Learn more about what to do when you are thinking about getting a new rabbit in our article 10 Things To Keep In Mind Before Getting A Pet Rabbit

Get Your Rabbit Spayed Or Neutered

Pet rabbits are hormonally  driven animals. When they say “breed like rabbits” they are right. A lot of Rabbit Behavior is influenced by their hormones. This means that some amount of rabbit biting or agressiveness is also attributed to their raging hormones.

The most effective way to prevent this is by getting your pet rabbit spayed and neutered.

This will correct most of their hormonal drives like biting, marking etc and the result will be a more docile version of your bunny.

Provide Your Rabbit With A Lots Of Free Space & Enrichment

Pet rabbits are active creatures. They love to run and hop around. For this reason it is recommended that you provide them with a lot of play space.

Having ample space to play around usually helps them to relieve stress and keeps them happy.

Other than this you should always provide lots of toys or things your bunny can play with. If a rabbit feels satisfied with its environment and feels safe in it, then the rabbit is less like to show any destructive behavior like biting.

Treat Them With Love, Care & Respect

Even though rabbits look incredibly cute and cuddly but that does not mean that we can handle them as we please.

Remember that pet rabbits like any other pet deserve gentle love, care and respect. From understanding your rabbit’s mood to knowing when your rabbits wants your attention, learning about your pet rabbit’s body language is very important rabbit owners.

picking up rabbit

Some things you need to careful about while interacting with your bunny are

  • Picking up your rabbit
  • Putting your hand in their cage
  • Hugging them to tightly
  • Trying to scare them

All of your actions will influence the behavior of your bunny. So be as kind as you can with your bunny.

Discipline Nipping & Biting Behavior

pet rabbit biting hand

If your rabbit is still nippng or biting you there are a couple of ways you can change their behavior. Even if it takes some time, nippng and biting can be stopped.

Shout 'No' When They Nip At You

This one always works for me. Every time your rabbit bites or nips you just shout the word NO at them. Usually the bunny gets scared and runs away after this.

In time most rabbits will learn that if they bite then you will shout and scare them.

So they simply stop biting.

Leave the room or put them in their cage

Most rabbits bite to get your attention but if you just leave the room or put the bunny in a cage then eventually they will realize that biting is the reason why they are being punished so they will stop biting.

Conclusion

If you have a rabbit or two that bite or nip then do share your thoughts on how to stop rabbit from biting in comment below. Remember to share this article with other rabbit parents as well.

If you would like to learn a bit more about pet rabbits then check out one of our featured articles.

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