Works Cited
O' Meara, Holly. "A Natural History of House
Rabbits." House Rabbit Society Rabbit Care Guide.
2011, Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
<http://www.rabbit.org/journal/41/HRJ4.1%20Behavior.html>.
“Interpreting Body Language and Behavior.”
House Rabbit Society Rabbit Care Guide , 2011
Web October 23, 2011
<tttp://www.rabbit.org/behavior/bodylanguage.html
Additional Resources
Chicago House Rabbit Society
www.hrschicago.org
Ontario Rabbit Education Association (OREO)
www.ontariorabbits.org
House Rabbit Society of Singapore
www.hrss.net
Galens Garden: Rabbit Health and Care
www.rabbit-information.co.uk
Why Does My Rabbit…? by Annie McBride
ISBN: 9780285635500
The Rabbit Handbook by Karen Gendron
ISBN: 9780764112461
Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia
ISBN: 9780764508615
The Essential Rabbit by Betsy Sikora Siino
ISTBN: 9780876053324
If you desire for your bunny to be happy
and affectionate, it is helpful to
understand rabbit instincts so that you
can avoid inadvertently terrifying your
pet. Here are four things to avoid when
you’re trying to win a timid bunny’s
trust.
DON’T pick your bunny up if it is
possible to avoid doing so. The only time
rabbits are picked up in the wild is when
birds of prey have them in their talons.
Tame rabbits learn to tolerate being
picked up, but few ever find it enjoyable.
DON’T restrain your bunny when
you don’t have to. In the wild, rabbits are
restrained by ground predators who are
about to give them a lethal chomp.
Consequently, fear is a rabbit’s natural
reaction to restraint.
DON’T keep your bunny’s cage in a
high traffic area of the house. It may
cause him/her to associate people with
noisy and unpleasant experiences.
DON’T leave your bunny out in the
open. In the wild, rabbits’ ability to
survive depends upon how close they are
to their burrows. Resultantly, the
emotional health of domestic rabbits
depends upon them always having access
to their cage or to another shelter that
makes them feel safe.
If you follow these four simple rules, you
will help put your bunny’s fears at ease.
Befriending Your
Bunny
By Nicole Wagner
Rabbits are social animals who love to
cuddle and share life with others. In
the wild, they live in colonies call
warrens with hundreds of family
members. This social instinct makes it
possible for them to bond with humans
once they are tamed.
Taming
The best way to tame rabbits is to
entice them to voluntarily face their
fear of humans. This can be done by
offering them food by hand. If you
periodically present your bunnies with
hay, vegetables and other goodies,
your bunnies will eventually get up the
courage to approach you. If they like
the treats they find in your hands,
they will want to come back to you
again and again. Before you know it,
your bunnies will be doing a ‘happy
dance’ whenever they see you and
excitingly pressing their faces against
the cage.
This non-forceful method of taming
lets your rabbits be in control. It
breaks their fear of humans without
breaking their spirits. This brings out
the extroversion in their
temperaments and makes them easier
to befriend.
Bonding
Rabbits in the wild form relationships
by grooming one another, and in a
similar way, you can befriend your
rabbits by petting them. To rabbits,
petting feels like social grooming; it is
a gesture of friendship and affection.
As Holly O’ Meara from the House Rabbit
Society instructs, “Gently stroke, comb,
or kiss a rabbits’ face and you are
speaking rabbit.”
Rabbit Behavior
In addition to ‘speaking rabbit’ it is
important to understand rabbits. Here is
a table for interpreting your bunnies’
behavior.
Expression
Licking You
I’m grooming you
and we’re
bonding
Grunting
I’m angry and
likely to bite!
Shoving you with
its nose
Move over, bud.
Loud tooth
grinding,
screaming or
tooth chattering
I’m in pain
Or
Soft tooth
grinding
I’m in a state of
bliss.
Hey! Don’t move
my furniture.
Chinning
That’s mine. or
You’re mine.
Wahoooo! I’m
having fun and
being happy!
( “Interpreting Body Language and
Behavior” )
What it means
Eyes bugging out,
breath
quickening and
heart racing
I’m scared
Thumping its feet
Danger Alert!
Something’s
wrong, here!
Binky (a word for
when bunnies act
hyper and jump
straight in the
air)
Note: If your rabbit is frequently exhibiting
negative emotions, then you might want to
read the back of this brochure.