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BUNNY 911 – If your rabbit hasn’t eaten or pooped in 12-24 hours, call a vet immediately!  Don’t have a vet? Check out VET RESOURCES 

The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum BEHAVIOR Rabbit not bonding with family

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    • maplesanae
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        I have had two previous bunnies who have been my best friends, but my last one passed away in February of 2022. In October of 2022, I entered a local pet store, to look at the bunnies.  I don’t have any rescue shelters around me so I couldn’t get a rescue bunny, but I saw these three Rex rabbits all in a little container. I chose one of them and took him home with me. The first few months he bit, a lot. We never spoke harshly to him or were ever rough with him. After a few months, he would only hide and shake whenever any member of our family approached him. I’ve had him for over a year. He won’t approach me when I sit on the ground with him or when I talk softly to him. He doesn’t bite anymore, but he flicks his feet at me whenever I approach him and he tries to find places to be where he’s hidden from me. Could he have some sort of trauma from earlier in his life? We keep him out for about three hours a day and the enclosure we have for him is large with an enclosed shelter in one part for him to be away from the family when he wants to be and toys and food replenished every day. He seems to only want to sleep and eat. I am so worried about him.


      • LBJ10
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          Default question – Is he neutered?

          Some bunnies just take a really long time to warm up to people. It seems age mellows them.


        • maplesanae
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            Yeah, we neutered him about a month after we got him.


          • LBJ10
            Moderator
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              OK, then I think all he needs is time then. Some bunnies are just very wary of things. My bunny will act brave one minute and then skittish the next. It just depends on his mood or whether something set him off (strange sounds or smells, usually). You could try hand feeding him so he associates people with good things. You can use pellets or, if he gets greens, you can use lettuce leaves, etc. It can also help to have his enclosure be his safe zone. This means people don’t try to touch him while he’s in there. Open the door and let him come out into a bunny-proofed area on his own. Sometimes it takes time for them to build up to courage to explore, so be patient.


            • maplesanae
              Participant
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                Thanks a lot. I was worried that there was something really wrong with him.


              • DanaNM
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                  Is he able to come and go from his enclosure freely when he’s getting exercise time? Just checking because if he has to be picked up to go in and out that could be contributing. Adding some hides for him in the exercise area can also help.

                  It’s true that some bunnies take a very long time to warm up to their humans. I adopted a bun that had become “cage aggressive” at the shelter about 2 years ago and she is just now letting me pet her regularly. Things that can help are hand feeding A LOT, and having each member of the family hand feed him. You can do this with his daily salad and pellets so you don’t end up giving too many treats.

                  Spending lots of time with him but basically ignoring him are often the best bet. Playing “hard to get” seems to work well for most rabbits.

                  If he will take food from your hand, you can also try doing some clicker training with him as a way to interact with him that doesn’t involve petting.

                  . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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              Forum BEHAVIOR Rabbit not bonding with family