Rabbit’s Biting Behavior
In general, rabbits are docile, friendly, and gentle animals. But do bunnies bite? Although bunnies are good pets, they may bite you. Biting you doesn’t mean that they don’t want you. They have some that we don’t know much about. Sometimes they simply nibble, thinking that their owners are food.
Rabbit’s Natural Instinct against Predators
Since rabbits came from the wild before, they have their survival skills. Their instinct serves as their defense mechanism. Besides being a great hopper, aggressive biting is another way to protect themselves. Without their teeth, they may end up being the lunch or dinner of predating animals.
Although rabbits are cuddly animals, they are considered prey in the wild. When rabbits sense potential danger, they become anxious and fearful. Once you have picked them up in a restraining manner, they may bite you to protect themselves. Therefore, it is essential to watch the behavior of your furry pet before holding and picking it up.
People may think that rabbits in homes are defenseless, but they keep this instinct. It kicks in if they feel in danger. So if they are being chased or grasped and get surprised, this is terrifying for them. It will feel under attack then it will show their defense behavior and may bite you to avoid you.
Differences Between Nibbling and Biting
If you know their instinct, you know that rabbits don’t bite intentionally. However, it doesn’t mean they keep some hurtful feelings towards you if they do. If you have other pets aside, you cannot tell what is nibbling, especially if you are more used to dog bites.
A rabbit’s nibbling is different from its biting. Nibble is an act wherein they produce gentler of a tiny pinch. Their chopping teeth move quickly that you can hardly feel them. According to vet researchers, rabbits nibble when they act like a child to get your attention. It is also their way of expressing their desire to play with you. They also do this action if they want more food.
When a rabbit bites, it will open its mouth widely and force its teeth. It may cause bleeding to your skin. Before concluding that your rabbit hates you, you must understand why do rabbits bite.
Main Reasons Why Rabbits Bite
Rabbit Poor Up Close Vision
Rabbit eyes are widely separated. It means they have peripheral vision. Through their vision, they can better at a far distance. They can even see objects on their side a hundred yards away. However, rabbits have poor eyesight on things near their eyes and between their noses. These are their blind spots.
Thankfully, bunnies have their whiskers so they can sense things in front of them. Well, pet owners also overlooked this rabbit’s lack of perception. Sometimes, they fail to notice how rabbits act weird if they are close to their pet’s face.
Food can easily catch the bunny’s attention. With a sudden move, they grab what they perceive as food. Take note that rabbits are also color blind. So it can be a little bit tricky when you offer food to them closely. They might think that your fingers are part of the food, and they may accidentally bite you.
To avoid being bitten, make sure that the food is below their mouth and not straight to their face.
Bunnies are most sensitive when pregnant, so expect them to be aggressive. This stage can be so stressful for them. If you mess around them, they may get frustrated that they will eventually bite you.
Kittens or a few days old rabbit babies are delicate. Although they may look adorable, you should never touch them. So does are overprotective to their babies that they are ready to bite to protect them. It would help to let the babies and the mother spend time together without bothering. Then, you can check on them to give them food but not play with their babies.
The best time to touch them is when they are already three weeks old. Aside from the young rabbits’ stronger bones, the doe has already adapted to your presence. It won’t consider you as a threat to its young.
Things to Do When Bitten By a Rabbit
Rabbit teeth grow long and sharp to chew leaves and veggies. It can’t be denied that a rabbit’s bite is painful. Those sharp teeth can cut your skin. Pain levels can vary, depending on the rabbit’s age, how long it bit you, and its intention. When a bunny is under great fear, its bite is more painful since its teeth sink deeper. As a result, some blood will come out.
Be alert to access the wound first. Check if the injury is 1cm deep and close to your bending joints, especially around your fingers. Then, wash it with clean water to prevent the bacteria from penetrating your skin.
If the wound is dry and clean, it is safer to put antibiotic ointment. The ointment will help heal the wound. It also acts as a sealer to prevent any infection. Lastly, close up the wound with a clean cloth, then put on some pressure to stop the bleeding.
In terms of rabies and infections, these complications may rarely happen. Rabbits rarely transmit any disease to humans through a bite. However, a deep wound can be infected without proper care. If the injury still gets worse, seek a health professional for treatment.
Preventing a Rabbit’s Bite
Ensure good environment and wellness
Stress and anxiety can lessen the biting problem of your rabbit. Ensure that they will feel safe and secure inside their shelter. Unwell rabbits can show aggression and frequent negative moods.
If your rabbit is sick, it prefers to be alone. You may want to separate it from its companion if it has any. Also, bring it to the nearby vet right away. You must be careful in handling a sick rabbit. When you attempt to touch it, it can strike a bite. Therefore, it is vital to provide your pet with proper care to make it happy and healthy.
Create a Bond
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to give enough time to your rabbit. First, creating a bond with them is the easiest way to tame them. Then, you can gently play with them. If your rabbit leaps, it is a sign of pure happiness during playtime. Well, you’re in luck if your rabbit likes you so much.
Win your rabbit’s trust
If you want your rabbit to trust you, never aggressively chase your rabbit. It may cause them panic that will lead them to bite you. Instead, respect your bunny, especially if they are not enjoying the things you are doing to them. Then, when you make a move, observe how they will react.
Never pick your rabbit against its will or show any cruelty. Don’t let them think you are an enemy and a potential danger to them. As much as possible, show them you’re a lovely friend who they can trust.
According to a researcher, you must show your rabbit that you are hurt after it bit you. You should never hurt it due to its behavior. Use positive responses to prevent worsening the situation. Spaying and neutering a bunny will lessen its territoriality and undesirable behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can rabbits bite my finger off?
Although it may happen, it is very uncommon for a rabbit to bite a human’s finger off. A rabbit’s bite may reach around 70 Newtons, almost the same as those of domestic cats, which is 67 to 73.3 Newtons. But it has lesser force compared to a dog’s bite that can reach up to 147 to 926 Newtons.
How should I discipline my rabbit?
You can discipline your rabbit by saying “no” firmly and sternly. But never shout at your rabbit since it may become anxious and fearful. Another way of disciplining your rabbit is gently pushing down its nose on the floor while saying “no”.
Finally, if your rabbit is too stubborn, you can shut it in the bathroom for about ten minutes. It will help to express your disapproval of its bad behavior.
What will I do if my rabbit bites me?
Although it won’t lead to infection, washing the wound with soap and water is still advisable. If the injury is too deep, you must apply an antibiotic cream and bandage around it. If you notice that the wound is getting worse, you must see a physician immediately for a check-up. But you should not panic when bitten by a rabbit since the wound rarely gets worse.
Do bunnies bite? Because of their survival and instincts, bunnies may bite you. Learning the behavior behind biting proves to be unexpectedly enlightening. Overall, they are innocent and have no intention to hurt anybody. By keeping them happy and healthy, their biting problem will happen only in a rare scenario.