Rabbits are prey animals and have very vulnerable bodies, so they will defend themselves if attacked or frightened. They can’t get away from you, so they will growl to try putting the threat into ‘time out’ without having to physically punish it back. This may also happen when she feels you’re rushing her “I just got here! Can I have a bit of peace?”
Don’t make sudden movements around her and scare her like smashing your fist on a table (ouch). If she’s in your lap and you move too much, she might feel trapped and lash out in self-defense; showing dominance by essentially making herself look bigger than she is (bunny body language 101: ears back, standing tall). If she’s in a small space, she might also lash out because of fear. If you know this is going to happen, it’s best to give her room and let her calm down before trying again.
Also, try having some treats on hand when you want to pet her; show her you have something delicious so she knows everything’s okay. She may take a little while to warm up but will eventually come around if treated with love and respect.
She may growl at other pets too (cats or dogs) if they invade the space ‘her’ territory, not just you-just like humans do! It’s all about boundaries and respect and treating them as we would like to be treated. The more time and patience we invest in our bunnies, the more we’ll be rewarded with their adorable antics and loving personalities.
Q: My rabbit growls at me all the time, what could be wrong?
A: If your rabbit is growling at you more than usual, it might be trying to tell you something. She may be feeling scared or frustrated and doesn’t know how to communicate it in a way that you’ll understand. Contact your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns.
Q: What can I do if my rabbit is scared or doesn’t like me?
A: If your rabbit is scared of you, take things slow and don’t make sudden movements. Try having treats on hand so she knows everything is okay. If your rabbit doesn’t like you, it’s a matter of trust. Just like with a child, you have to earn your bunny’s trust and prove that you’re safe.
Q: My rabbit mutilates herself every time I try petting her, is this normal?
A: This isn’t typical behavior for a rabbit, so it’s best to contact your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns. There could be a physical explanation for why she’s doing this, such as an infection or a skin condition. Alternatively, she could be experiencing stress and is self-mutilating as a way to cope. In either case, your veterinarian can help you find a solution.
Q: Why does my rabbit growl at my cat/dog?
A: Just like with humans, rabbits can be territorial and may growl at other animals if they invade their space. It’s all about setting boundaries and respecting each other. With time and patience, you can usually get your pets to coexist peacefully.