Grunting and Lunging
Most rabbits will grunt and/or lunge at you at some point in your relationship. Usually, this behavior stems from fear; the bunny feels trapped and is trying to protect himself. If you have a rabbit who is grunting, boxing, or lunging at you, the first thing you should do is
– SLOW DOWN! Move your hands away, and speak gently to the rabbit for a minute or two to relax him a bit.
– If you need to catch the rabbit, bring your hand in from the top, not the front, of the bunny’s head, and rest your hand on top of his head. The rabbit may try to box at you, but if you just move a little faster, you should have no problem getting your hand in place.
Once your hand is resting on the bunny’s head, stop again and speak gently to him. He should relax, at least a bit, and definitely stop trying to attack.
– At this point, you can scoop him into your arms, wrap him in a towel, scoot him into his carrier, or just start petting him.
– Stroking the nose is the acknowledged favorite petting spot, and your hand is in the perfect position to do so. Stroke the bunny’s nose and then ears, if he’ll let you; speak softly, and move slowly. The bunny will love it.
– Just hanging out with a frightened rabbit or sitting on the floor and reading aloud are both wonderful ways to get to know an aggressive bunny. Sit down a few feet from him so that he doesn’t feel cornered, and just ignore him. In a very short amount of time, he’ll be hopping over to check you out. Keep ignoring him! Let him explore you in safety. After a while, you might try resting your hand on the ground so that he can sniff it, and when he decides to sit or lie next to you, you might even be able to rest the back of your hand gently against his side. Don’t try this one right away, though. Make sure the rabbit is starting to trust you before you make the move.
– The more time you spend with him, the better. Once he gets to know you and your routines, he’ll start feeling more comfortable.
– We’ve found that the rabbits who are most frightened and agressive at first often become the most loving companions. Perhaps they appreciate that you’ve taken the time to get to know them; perhaps they’re just passionate. Either way, you may find that they have become the best of friends.