When you mention the word “rabbit” many people think of Bugs Bunny. In reality, rabbits are very different from their cartoon counterparts. Rabbits may be cute, fuzzy, and adorable, but that does not mean they enjoy cuddling up to humans or being picked up and carried around.
In fact, improper handling of your new pet can result in harm, so before you pick out your new pet rabbit, make sure you understand all the basics of rabbit animal behavior and care.
How to Handle Rabbits–Should you Pick Up Your Rabbit?
As creatures who walk on all four feet and whose bodies are low to the ground, rabbits tend to feel the most comfortable and safe while sitting or laying on the floor. Therefore, when picked up, rabbits may become nervous, panicked, or even downright terrified. When this happens, they may begin kicking out their hind-legs.
Why is this such a danger? Well, when your pet rabbit thrashes around he risks fracturing his back (remembers, rabbits bones, including spinal cords, are very fragile). If you pick up a rabbit and he starts to get nervous, put him down immediately and carefully, and do not try to physically restrain him.
Above all, never pick up a bunny rabbit by its ears. If you do pick up your rabbit, it should be done by carefully lifting from the scruff of the neck, then supporting the rest of the body with your other hand.
How to Pet a Rabbit
Since rabbits do not like to be picked up as much as other pet animals, you may not be able to pick up your bunny and pet him in your lap as you may want to. Respect your pet bunnies wish to stay closer to the ground. Instead of lifting him up, let him sit beside you, then pet him gently.
If your rabbit seems nervous, use one hand to gently cover his eyes, then stroke his back soothingly and calmly. This will help ease him back to a peaceful state.
Also, it is important to supervise your children while they are learning to pet their rabbits. Make sure they do not use too much pressure or try to pick up the animals, for the reasons described above. Set a good example by showing them how to treat the rabbit, then ask them to follow your lead.
How Rabbits Interact with Humans
Just because rabbits do not like to be held dont be fooled! They really are loving and sociable creatures, and they need (and want) your attention. In fact, one of the best reasons to keep your pet bunny housed inside your home is that he will feel like he is becoming a part of the family. Being around humans gives rabbits the idea that they are part of a group; they dislike being lonely and enjoy companionship.
As rabbits tend to be high-strung creatures, settling in with and getting to know a familiar and loving group of humans can really set their minds at ease and make them healthier and happier.
If you follow this advice, you will probably find that you will develop a close and satisfying relationship with your pet bunny. He will grow to trust you and show you various sides of his personality. He may very likely exhibit a sense of humor and compassionate feelings toward you … which as all animal lover’s know is a wonderful reward!
by Andrea Austin,