One of the first things you realize when you get a rabbit is what nervous pets they are. They startle at the smallest noise or movement, don’t like to be surprised, often hate being picked up and generally are pets that need to be taken care of carefully. Some rabbits are more nervous than others, but if you have a rabbit that’s constantly scared, follow these few tips and your bunny will soon feel a lot more secure.
How To Tell If Your Rabbit Is Nervous – It’s actually easy to tell if a rabbit is nervous or scared. They sit with their ears pressed back, tend to sit scrunched up like a big ball or always underneath something, and startle at the smallest sound. If they are very nervous or frightened or hear a loud noise they don’t understand, they’ll thump loudly with their back paw on the floor or sitting surface, warning all the other rabbits there’s danger. They’ll keep thumping until the ‘danger’ has disappeared. For a small animal, when a rabbit begins to thump, they can make a lot of noise.
How To Tell If Your Rabbit Feels Safe – Again, it’s easy. If they sit out in the open a lot instead of underneath boxes, tables or chairs, they feel safe. If they lie spread out with their legs splayed out behind them, rabbits feel incredibly safe and secure – in fact, not a care in the world. Once your rabbit begins to relax in its own home and lays out like its sunbathing, you’ll know you have one happy and secure-feeling bunny.
How To Make Your Rabbit Feel Less Nervous – Once you get to know your rabbit you’ll figure out quickly what makes him scared. Some rabbits are frightened of quick movement, most are frightened of noise and almost all rabbits don’t like being picked up – that’s scary for them too. If you have a rabbit who’s nervous and always seems on edge, follow these five tips:
Don’t Pick Your Rabbit Up – If your rabbit hates being picked up, then don’t pick him up. Instead, to get to know him,sit down next to him and stroke him or play with him. If you’re down at his level, he’ll feel much more secure than being swung in the air by someone 50 times his size.
Don’t Make Sudden Movements – If your rabbit startles at movement, when you are near the cage, move slower and don’t grab at food bowls or bunny toys, pick them up slowly. This warns your rabbit you’re coming and he’ll feel a lot better about it than suddenly seeing a hand coming into his space, with no idea what it wants.
Don’t Make Loud Noises – Be careful when vacuuming or doing anything in the house near your rabbit’s cage that is noisy. When you first get used to your rabbit, introduce him to things like vacuums slowly. Turn it on for a few seconds then off, then on again, then off, then on for a bit longer, then off etc. Eventually after a few days, he’ll be so used to the noise he won’t even notice it. My rabbits now can sit in their cage with me right next to them blowing my hair with a hairdryer – doesn’t affect them one bit.
Talk To Your Rabbit – I talk to my rabbits all day long in a low, soothing voice. They’re so used to the sound of me speaking that, if I have friends over and there’s a lot more voices, they don’t startle. Rabbits like to be spoken to. You’ll see your rabbit’s ears prick up as he tries to understand what you’re saying and, later on, he’ll associate your voice with you, with food and with love.
Don’t Invade Their Space – I have a big pen in my apartment for my rabbits and I’m very careful about keeping it clean. But I don’t climb over the pen top, I walk in through a door and the whole time I’m cleaning I make sure they know it’s their space and I’m just a visitor. Rabbits need to feel comfortable and secure in their own home, and if you’re constantly invading i and acting like you live there, it puts them on edge.
Rabbits are easy to train and they learn fast. Just a few days of being careful around your nervous bunny and you’ll soon discover he’s become the world’s happiest and most secure bunny. No nerves here.