There are multiple breeds of rabbits. Some are giants, but mostly, they are a small type of rabbit breed. Regardless of their size, it is essential that you learn how to pick up a rabbit properly.
Especially when you are a first-time rabbit pet owner, it is one of the many ways to care for them.
6 Steps on How to Pick Up a Rabbit
Rabbits are small creatures and belong to the list of common prey animals. It can get flighty whenever any large creatures get close to them. It is their default instinct that tells them that they are somewhat in danger.
Moreover, it is essential to hold them gently and consider them fragile animals, just one mistake can lead them to serious injury. Thus, it can be very tricky to pick them up. You will get the same feeling as to how you try to carry a few months old baby.
Below are the steps that you may want to follow for you to pick up a rabbit successfully:
Kneel and stay at your rabbit’s eye-level
It has been established that rabbits can get skittish regardless of whether you are a human who finds them cute and wants to carry them. Remember, they are prey animals. Their predators from above usually grab them from behind them, generally biting their necks.
Therefore, make sure they see you as you kneel right beside your pet rabbit and go lower as much as possible. Through this action, they will take it as a signal that they are not in danger and someone just want to befriend them.
Set the mood by calming them down
If you just got your bunny from the adoption center or pet shop, chances are, it will be your first time carrying them. It will be easier to set the mood of your pet rabbit if you are in a puppy pen, as it will not have much space to run around.
After the first step, where you try to kneel down and be in their sight, make sure to ease their nervousness by trying to get their trust. You can offer a treat or make some gentle strokes until they feel very pampered to make them feel secure and understand that you are not a predator.
Practice how to scoop a rabbit
Do not be aggressive when trying how to scoop them up. This will scare them easily. Instead, ensure that you try to move forward and closer to your rabbit gently, quietly, and slowly but surely.
If you are unsure how to lift them, you can try practicing it in the air until you are confident enough.
Place your hands in their rightful position
Once you are near the rabbit, place your one hand on the rabbit’s chest while your other hand is placed on its back—the one behind its neck. If the rabbit shows some signs of nervousness, make sure to give them smooth strokes to calm them.
Start lifting the rabbit up
Once your both hands are placed in their rightful position, you can now maneuver a scooping position from its chest and gently lift it up. The step is quite similar to how you carry your cute and tiny pomeranian – after all, they are almost the same size.
Hold them gently yet secure
Finally, you made it! Now that you successfully lifted your pet rabbit, make it feel more secure by holding them gently and close. It will stay calm and feel safe. Especially it can vibe the body warm its human gives off by holding it tightly yet gently.
You can also use your other hand to continue stroking your pet rabbit while your other arm is holding it. It will look like you are carrying a football ball.
Just avoid moving aggressively as it can quickly run away from you. It can be very sensitive and may often feel like they are always in danger.
Set it free
However, learning how to release your pet rabbit properly is as important as how you should pick it up. It is just so easy! Repeat the first step where you should kneel and be close to the floor.
Use both of your hands when releasing a rabbit. Make sure that you let its hind feet step on the ground. Doing this regularly, where you always bring them back to their original state, will give you their trust that whatever happens, you will not hurt them.
If you also find it easier to learn whenever you watch how it is done, you may also watch this tutorial on how to pick up a rabbit.
6 Tips on When Picking Up a Rabbit
One mistake in scooping up your pet rabbit can hurt them and lead to a severe injury. After all, these are tiny creatures that are fragile and prone to accidents. That is why it is necessary that you know how to pick them up properly.
Now that you know the steps on how to pick up these rabbits properly, you should always keep these tips in mind to secure their safety. Listed below are the following tips to remember when picking up a rabbit:
Always hold or touch them gently
Rabbits get startled easily as their initial reaction when someone bigger than them approaches them is that they are in danger. Make sure to stay gentle whenever you are closer to them or whenever you touch them.
Avoid picking them up with their sensitive spots
Not picking up your pet rabbit will also lead to injury. Ensure that you avoid picking them up by their ears, legs, scruff, or tail. Apart from being risky, it can be both painful and nerve-racking for them.
Guide the children every time
Kids are not only fond of dogs and cats whenever they see one because rabbits too are one of the pets most kids love to have.
Ensure that whenever a kid wants to carry a rabbit, they are being supervised by someone knowledgeable on how to do the procedure. This will prevent your pet rabbit from feeling any distress and will also help lessen the risk of injuries.
Keep it cool
Keep it cool even if they struggle. A simple sound or any threat they may feel will make a jump. Avoid hindering them and just place them on the ground slowly if this happens. Never allow them to jump off as it can be hazardous for them.
Learn when to stop
Not all rabbits are fond of getting picked up. Not all breeds are friendly, therefore, do not force a rabbit whenever you want to carry them. It can be very stressful for them, and instead of gaining trust, you will just scare them more.
Make a trusting relationship
Do not be aggressive when trying to pick them up. Move gently but surely until you notice that you have gained their trust. Let the precious little creature be more at ease with you before lifting them up.
This will make a harmonious relationship, and you will be able to do it again easily the next time you try.
3 Frequently Asked Questions
We have already learned how to pick up a rabbit properly. In addition, we also learned some tips on what to do and avoid. Though, it is expected that there are things that may still be bothering you.
Listed below are a few frequently asked questions that we are going to answer:
Can a child pick up a rabbit?
Yes, a child can pick up a rabbit, but they should be supervised, as mentioned above. However, it is actually not advisable to let your child pick up a rabbit, especially when a child is still a toddler.
If your child really wants to play with your pet rabbit, there are many other ways to do so, just like sitting beside the rabbit or being the one to give the rabbit its treats.
Do Rabbits Like Being Held?
Some may like being held, but most of the rabbit population does not like being held simply because they are prone to predators. They will think anyone getting near them may hurt them. It depends on the breed and personality of the rabbit.
What are the potential events when you might need to pick up your rabbit?
You can let your pet rabbit free all the time and just mind its own business, but there are circumstances where you will need to carry it. That is why as soon as you get one, make sure that you know how to pick it up properly.
You will need to pick your pet rabbit every time:
- When you need to bring your pet rabbit to the pet shop to have its nails trimmed or groomed;
- When you need to bring your pet rabbit to the veterinary clinic for its regular check-up;
- When you need to feed your pet rabbit its medicine;
- When you need to keep your pet rabbit away from danger and trouble;
- And lastly, when you need to put your rabbit into her cage or carrier.
Now that you know how to pick up a rabbit properly. As a rabbit-fur parent, it is your responsibility to educate other people, especially the people in your household and your kids.
In this way, no harm will be made or any injuries to the rabbit if you lift them up in the wrong position.