Terrified New Pet Bunny Rabbit

by Elona

I just got a month-old bunny for my daughter and have no idea where to begin. But for now I got him in my bathroom and he is messing all over the place. My question is that he jumped in the toilet and almost drowned, ever since then he has been wild, he tends to bite our fingers. He just changed completely from this reserved bunny to this wild animal. What to do?

****Karen Sez****
So sorry for the struggles Elona. To understand what is happening, you'll need to think like a bunny, which tells you...the bunny is not a human, and you have freedom to think of it as a bunny and not a human.

So first: The thing is terrified out of its mind. It is out of its element, away from its siblings and mother, and has no where to hide or feel safe. So, give it a covered cage or a dark cardboard box to hide in. Cut a doorway and stuff the box with shavings and straw in the box, so it can have a burrow again. You might want to put a plastic tray of some sort under the cardboard, because the bunny will likely spend a LOT of time in the box, nibbling straw/hay, peeing and pooing.

Second, its behavior: It is afraid, but you are the 'big bunny,' now, and it's not allowed to bite. After you've given the little guy a hiding space, he gets 24 to 48 hours to calm down while you speak into his area gently and calmly so it learns your kind voice. Keep cats and dogs away from it. Then, catch the bunny and hold it firmly, stroking it and not letting it bite you. Hold it for a long time - a quarter hour up to an hour or whatever, while you watch TV, or something. This is so it will associate kindness with your touch. Do this every day, as convenient for you. I expect the bunny will calm down and become gentle within a week or so, at most.

Third, a permanent living space: I assume you intend to keep the bunny indoors? Because indoors or outdoors is fine. A rabbit fears fear and anxiety far more than it fears pain according to animal expert Dr. Temple Grandin. So most important to your rabbit will be an environment of safety and low stress.

Fourth, yes, rabbits can be house-trained and litter-box trained. Plus, lots of pet rabbits get along famously with their fellow-pets, dogs and cats. Simply make the introductions slow enough so you know the carnivore understands the bunny isn't a snack, and the bunny understands this particular carnivore is actually a friend.

I think you'll end up doing a great job with your new bunny, despite the bumpy start. For more info on rabbits to get you started:

Good luck and enjoy!

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