The following are some common behavior questions that rabbit owners often encounter.
- 1 HELP! My bunny is not eating, drinking, pooping, or peeing! What do I do?
- 2 How do I make my bunny like me?
- 3 My bunny never wants to come to me. I can never pet him/her. What can I do?
- 4 My rabbit keep chewing and digging in inappropriate places. How do I make her stop?
- 5 Do rabbits sleep?
- 6 When do rabbits eat?
- 7 See also
- 8 References
HELP! My bunny is not eating, drinking, pooping, or peeing! What do I do?
If your rabbit has not eaten or used the litter box in 12 hours, it is imperative that you immediately take your rabbit to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian. Your rabbit has GI stasis and may not live through the night if he is not seen by a professional ASAP.
How do I make my bunny like me?
"Like" is a rather general term. If we are talking about the inability to be approached, take a look at our answer to "My bunny never wants to come to me. I can never pet him/her. What can I do?". If your bunny does not like being picked up, take a look at our answers in the Handling FAQ. If you have a problem with a biting rabbit, check out Aggressive Rabbits.
Also, check out the following guides.
- Kinenchen, How do I get my rabbit to like me?
My bunny never wants to come to me. I can never pet him/her. What can I do?
This is a common issue with new bunny owners. The bunny seems very stand offish and never wants to come to you. People want to think that they are like dogs and like being with people naturally. As a prey animal, bunnies tend to be very skittish towards new environments and people and take time to warm up to you.
The best thing you can do to bond with your rabbit is to make a somewhat small enclosed space where you can sit and spend time with them. Have treats like fresh veggies and pellets or fruits near you on the floor and completely ignore the bunny. Don't try to make any sort of active contact with them, and let them come to you on their own terms. Bunnies are very curious and will sooner or later approach you to figure you out. It might take only a couple minutes, or it might take multiple sessions. If you move, you might scare them away. Placing the treats nearby will give positive reinforcement that it's okay to come near you and that you won't hurt them. In case of boredom, you can read a book or go on your laptop to pass the time. Just be careful of any electronic chargers, as most bunnies love cords and will be tempted to take a nip out of them.
If the rabbit seems okay with hanging around you to eat their treats instead of grabbing the food and running a bit further away to nibble, you can try seeing if they will eat veggies or treats out of your hand. When comfortable with that, try gently petting the rabbit over the head to get them used to your touch. Try not to approach them from the side or on his back so that the bunny can see where your hand is and won't be scared. Don't be afraid to go back to a previous step if your bunny seems too timid.
Spend time everyday or as often as you can for an hour or so, and you can be guaranteed to see some progress as quick as a couple days or as long as a month or more. All bunnies are capable of bonding with you and become very loving given enough time. The length will depend on previous experiences, so if you adopted your rabbit, it may take longer if they had come from a bad place.
See Understanding Your Rabbit for more resources on decoding bunny behavior.
Below are some more links on how to become BFFs with your bunny.
- SaveABunny, Mai Salvado-Da Rocha, How to Become a BFF: Your Bunny’s Best Friend
- Dana Krempels, Ph.D., Winning Over a Shy Bunny
- House Rabbit Network, Karen DeGroat, Bonding with Your Shy Rabbit
My rabbit keep chewing and digging in inappropriate places. How do I make her stop?
Chewing and digging are natural habits to bunnies. You can never stop a bunny from acting on his natural instincts. The best thing you can do is to redirect his energies to proper toys to chew and dig in. Take a look at our bunny-proofing article to learn how to keep your bun from destroying your belongings. Also, see our answer to the question How do I encourage a rabbit to chew on toys and not unacceptable items?
Do rabbits sleep?
Domestic rabbits have been studied to sleep for a total of about 8 hours per 24-hour period. Unlike humans who tend to sleep 8 hours in one go, rabbits get their 8 hours in multiple short periods of about 25 minutes each. Domestic rabbits spend about 1 hour in REM sleep per day, or about 11% of their sleep time.
Outside of the laboratory, scientists cannot usually tell if a rabbit is asleep or awake but not active. When not foraging or engaged in social or other behavior, rabbits will retreat to cover and remain relatively still. Rabbits tend to be crepuscular but may be active at any time of the day.
When do rabbits eat?
In the wild, the primary feeding times for rabbits are in the early morning and at night, with coprophagy commencing 3 to 8 hours after eating.
- Susan Lumpkin & John Seidensticker, Rabbits: the animal answer guide, 2011.
- Katherine Quesenberry & James W. Carpenter, Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 3e, 2011.