Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbits

There are many things that someone who has a rabbit or is planning on getting one has to know. Rabbits are delicate animals, particularly when they are still very young, and so they require care by someone with the right knowledge. Below are some frequently asked questions about rabbits.

Can I Kiss My Rabbit?

It is common and natural to want to kiss a pet for whom you have an affection, especially an adorable bunny. It is certainly okay and safe for you to kiss your rabbit, and many rabbits love being kissed by owners that they love. However, there are some precautions that you should take if you want to kiss your rabbit for the animal’s safety.

Rabbits are very prone to getting ill or seriously sick if someone with an illness kisses them. You should especially avoid kissing your rabbit if you have a cold sore. The Herpes Simplex virus [1] that causes cold sore in humans may cause inflammation in the animal’s brain, which could prove fatal.


It is unlikely that you will catch a disease or an illness from your pet, especially if you are healthy and do not have a weak immune system. However, if you are prone to having allergies, the hay that your rabbit consumes, or its fur, could trigger an allergy for you if you kiss the animal.

As with every pet, you should not kiss a bunny that is nervous or scared. The animal may become aggressive and may end up scratching or biting you if you kiss it against its wish.

You can kiss your rabbit without any problems to you or the animal, provided that you are healthy. While your rabbit will not kiss you back as its sign of affection, it will lick you instead. Licking is a rabbit’s way of showing love and affection to people.

Do Rabbits Like Cuddling?

Pets like dogs enjoy being cuddled a lot. If you own a rabbit, the chances are that you have wondered if rabbits love to be cuddled. Rabbits are skittish animals, and so, they are generally not keen on being cuddled or held by instinct.

However, every rabbit is different from the other, and so, while some rabbits love cuddling with their owners, and will enjoy it a lot, some others do not like it in the least. Different factors can make a rabbit resist cuddling. Most times, it is because of the animal’s past experiences, its age (young bunnies are usually scared of cuddling), or it might just be due to its personality.

How Can I Make My Rabbit Want To Cuddle?

If your rabbit is the type that gets scared when you want to cuddle it, there are ways in which you can try to make it receptive to cuddling when you approach it.


First, you need to approach the animal slowly and purposefully. You do not want to startle it and awaken its flight instinct. Secondly, gently pet and stroke the animal instead of attempting to pick it up immediately. Once your rabbit is relaxed, allow it to come into your lap, where you will be able to cuddle it.

You can easily tell if a rabbit wants to be cuddled or not. It will climb your lap, even without you prompting it. It is best to leave the animal alone if it resists your attempts to cuddle it so that you do not scare it, and you can avoid scratches. With enough patience and time, your rabbit should be relaxed enough to allow you to hold or cuddle it.

 


Why Do Rabbits Flop On Their Sides?

Rabbits have different ways of expressing themselves and showing what or how they feel. If you own a rabbit, you may sometimes notice the animal throw itself on its side and act like it is dead. This behavior is called a flop, and many rabbits do it. You may get nervous when you notice your rabbit do this, but you can rest assured. Flopping in rabbits is no cause for alarm.

Rabbits tend to flop on their sides when they are happy and content. Rabbits also flop when they are in a relaxed state, or they are with someone they trust. It is easy enough to know when your rabbit flops. The animal may be sitting up in a relaxed state, to begin with, and then it will throw itself to its side or roll unto its side. The animal may also close its eyes, and will keep its legs still.

What Other Behavior Do Rabbits Exhibit When They Are Happy?

If you own a rabbit, you will always want your pet to be happy and content. A rabbit is almost always happy when it is time for it to eat or play. If you give your rabbit food or treat, it will click its teeth to show that it is happy.
A happy rabbit will also circle its owner’s feet. Rabbits carry out this action as a way of saying they are excited to see their owners or as a way of welcoming them.

How Do You Tell If A Rabbit Is Stressed?

Every rabbit owner wants the best for their pet. Rabbits are animals that are easily prone to stress since they are prey animals, and they have to be cautious and alert at all times. Stress is not good for rabbits, and it should be a source of concern for every rabbit parent. Luckily enough, there are ways in which you can tell if your pet is stressed. You can tell if your rabbit is stressed when it exhibits the following signs.

  •  It is jumpy and exhibits nervous behaviour. Rabbits that tend to jump at the slightest sound are most likely stressed.
  •  It holds its ears backward and tightly against its head.
  •  It displays aggressive behaviour. You will usually notice such behaviour when you try to handle the animal.
  • It displays abnormal feeding habits and abnormal excretion.
  • It carries out repetitive movements for no reason.
  •  It lacks appetite and interest in anything at all.
  •  It displays lethargic behaviour and inactivity.
  •  It carries out unusual grooming behaviour such as not grooming and over-grooming.
  •  Its eyes protrude.
  •  Its breathing is rapid.


Stress is very bad for rabbits and can affect their health adversely. Your rabbit may exhibit strange and destructive behavior if it is stressed. Try to improve conditions around your home to favour the animal and get rid of anything that might be discomforting your pet.
A stressed rabbit is not going to be a happy one. Therefore, it is best that if your pet is suffering from stress, you take it to the veterinarian to decide how to help the animal.

 How Do Rabbits Say Sorry?

It is easy for you to communicate with your rabbit or know what it is trying to tell you once you are familiar with rabbits’ body language. Rabbits can be stubborn animals, and if you have more than one, they may get angry at each other on occasion, as long as a few days.
Rabbits say sorry to each other by touching their heads together.

After touching their heads together, they may also groom each other, in which case the apology has been accepted. Even bonded rabbits may get angry and fight with each other, although they rarely do so. A rabbit that wants to apologize to its mate will go to its mate and rub its head against the other rabbit’s head. If the other rabbit is not interested in this apology, it will walk away.

On the other hand, if both rabbits hold their heads together for some seconds and then carry on as though nothing happened before, they are back on good terms. Usually, after apologizing, the submissive rabbit will groom the dominant one, an action that effectively marks the end of the quarrel.

You may offend your rabbit sometimes, even if you do not intentionally do so. Rabbits can be stubborn, and so, the animal may hold a grudge against you for your actions. A rabbit holding a grudge will turn its back on you, hold down its ears, and ignore you. You can say sorry to the animal by offering it a treat.

How Do You Calm A Rabbit Down?

Bunnies are small and timid animals, plus they are also prey animals. For this reason, they can easily get scared if they sense or think that predators are around. Aside from the fear of predators, things like loud sounds, sudden movements, and boisterous play can make your rabbit become easily agitated. If your pet becomes scared for any reason, you should comfort the animal for its peace of mind.

To calm your rabbit, you should pet it by stroking its head gently and reassuringly. If it is a noise that is scaring the animal, cover its ears with your hands while stroking its head. Some rabbits can be calmed when their eyes are covered, and so you may also cover your rabbit’s eyes, but if it doesn’t seem to like your covering its eyes, you should stop.

Rabbits require a safe and quiet environment if they are to stay calm. Therefore, if you have other pets like dogs and cats that may be scaring your rabbit, you should separate them from each other. If possible, place your rabbit’s cage in another room where the other pets will not be able to access it. Apart from that, keep the rabbit’s space free from too much noise and light, if that is frightening the animal.


Another great way in which you can calm your rabbit down is by offering the animal a treat. Rabbits love treats, but you shouldn’t give your pet too many of them at once so that it does not become obese. Toys are also a great way of calming rabbits down. These animals love to play; therefore, a toy will keep your pet occupied and distract it from what is scaring it.

Do Rabbits Get Attached To Their Owners?

 



Every rabbit owner would want their pets to love and adore them, in the same way, that they love the animal. Luckily enough, rabbits are sociable and friendly animals, and so they serve as wonderful and loving companions to people who want a friend in their pets.

Rabbits can get attached to their owners, just as pets like dogs can do. While it may take some time for a rabbit that you just got to love you, you should exercise patience. Rabbits can be shy and timid animals, especially if they have been through a traumatic past. Once your pet grows to trust you, it will love and adore you very much.

Your rabbit will be able to recognize you once you have spent enough time together. It is quite easy for you to get your rabbit to recognize you. Play with it often, giving it enough cuddles if it is the type that likes cuddles.
Additionally, your rabbit will be able to recognize your voice and your scent if it becomes attached to you. For this to happen, you will need to talk to the animal often so that it can get used to the sound of your voice.

You can tell that your rabbit loves you when it runs in circles around your feet and nibbles or licks you. Other signs of affection that rabbits display include seeking head rubs and tooth clicking. Once your rabbit recognizes and gets attached to you, you will be gratified to see it welcome you happily anytime it sees you.

Why Does My Rabbit Nudge Me With His Nose?

Nose nudging is one of the common ways in which many rabbits try to communicate with their owners. There are various reasons why your rabbit will use its nose to nudge you. Depending on the circumstances involved, you should be able to tell why your pet performs this action.

Nose nudging in rabbits can be used to tell their owners to pet them. If your rabbit wants you to pet it, the animal will nudge you with its nose, usually on your arm or hand, and then it will wait for you to do the needful. If you fail to pet the animal, it may repeat the action, or to drive home its point, your rabbit will nip you.

Another reason why your rabbit will nudge you with its nose is if it wants your attention. If the animal begins to feel a little neglected, it will nudge you so that you can play with it. If your rabbit notices you with treats, it will nudge you to beg for some. It may also nudge you with its nose as a way of greeting you or saying hello.

Surprisingly enough, in addition to the reasons above, your rabbit will also perform this action if it wants you to leave it alone. You should be able to distinguish this type of nudging from the ones demanding attention because it is usually more forceful. You should always try to keep your pet happy by granting its wish whenever it communicates with you in this manner.

Where Do Rabbits Like To Be Touched?

Rabbits can be very friendly and affectionate animals, especially to their owners. You can also show your affection for your rabbit by petting the animal.
The major places where rabbits like to be touched include their cheeks, ears, noses, and their faces in general. Petting your rabbit is a way of showing your affection and love for the animal, and it has the added advantage of helping you groom your pet lightly.

Each rabbit is an individual, so what is okay for one rabbit will not be fine for another. You should experiment with your pet to know where it wants to be touched and where it doesn’t want you to touch. Some rabbits detest being touched, probably due to their past experiences or because they are not yet familiar with their owners.

Even rabbits that do not mind being petted do not like to be touched in some parts of their bodies. Such places include their bellies, feet, and butt, but then again, it depends on the individual rabbit. The butt, especially, is a no-go area for most, if not all, rabbits.


While petting your rabbit, you will need to be gentle with the animal. Remember to start petting it slowly so that you can know if the animal is not interested in being touched. It is best to leave your rabbit alone if it does not want to be petted so that it does not scratch or nip you.


How Long Do Rabbits Live?

There are different species of both wild and domestic rabbits. The number of years that rabbits live varies, depending on the breed of the rabbits and the conditions in which they are reared. Rabbits that are brought up properly would live longer than those that are not, and they may even live well past their lifespan.

The average lifespan of domestic rabbits is between 8 years to 12 years. This life span is vastly different from that of wild rabbits, which live for just between 1 to 2 years. The reason for this difference in lifespan is obvious. Wild rabbits do not leave a sheltered life as their domestic counterparts do. Thus, they are exposed to predators, diseases, unfavourable weather conditions, and such factors that reduce their lifespan.

Depending on the breed of domestic rabbits, some rabbits live longer than others. Mixed breeds tend to have a longer lifespan than purebred rabbits. Large-sized breeds also tend to have a shorter lifespan than smaller sized breeds. If you want your rabbit to live long, you should also consider spaying or neutering the animal, as doing this will increase its lifespan.

Every rabbit requires a clean environment, good food, and lots of love and companionship if it is to thrive. Domestic rabbits also require a lot of space in which they can exercise and play around. Also, you should fortify the animal against diseases by getting it vaccinations at the right times.

With the right amount of care, good hygiene, adequate housing, and love, your domestic rabbits will live for a long time.

Glossary

  1. World Health Organization [Link]

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