Why Does My Rabbit Lunge at Me?

Grumpy rabbit

Lunging looks like your rabbit rearing back and throwing its body at you. This can be accompanied by boxing with their front paws, nipping, or even a growl. If it sounds aggressive, it’s because it is. This is your rabbit telling you to back off.

Here are a few reasons why your rabbit is lunging at you and what to do about it.

1. Your Rabbit Got Startled

Try not to unexpectedly put your hand in front of your rabbit. Rabbits don’t have the best up-close vision and the sudden appearance of a hand could startle them.

Instead, stroke your rabbit on their back and the top of their head. They also enjoy cheek rubs. And give your rabbit their space. They may not be in the mood to play, cuddle or come out of their comfortable spot.

2. You’re Encroaching on Your Rabbit’s Space

Sometimes rabbits lunge when you reach your hand into their pen or hiding spot. You may be encroaching upon their territory. Rabbits need a space where they can feel safe. If you are always reaching your hand into their space, they may become agitated. You wouldn’t like it if you were trying to rest, and a large hand kept coming into your house. This is how rabbits feel when you reach into their space.

If the lunging is happening because you’re reaching into their pen to try to clean it, let your bunny hop out first on their own. Or you could pick them up from above as opposed to putting your hand in front of their face.

3. Your Rabbit is in Pain

Another reason they are lunging or acting out is because they are in pain or not feeling well. If the lunging is out of the ordinary or is accompanied by lethargy or lack of appetite, you should schedule a vet visit with a rabbit-savvy vet.

Lunging is definitely not fun behavior for you or your bunny. But if you understand why your rabbit is lunging, you can figure out ways to minimize it.

About the Author

P.A. Smith has been living with house rabbits since 1995. He also co-edits the fun wildlife website called Animal Fact Guide.


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