Why doesn’t my rabbit like to cuddle in my arms?
It’s important to remember that rabbits are prey animals. Prey animals interact with their
environment very differently than predators like cats and dogs. In general, rabbits do not like to
be picked up. The act of bending over them and grabbing them by their ribs to pick them up is
very similar to being picked up by a hawk – scary!!
The best way to interact with your rabbit is on the floor. Sit in the room while bunny is out to
play and she will soon come investigate you. She will like to be petted sitting next to you, but
not necessarily while being carried in your arms! If you choose a cage or pen with a sideopening
door and put it on the floor or provide a ramp to a taller cage, you can let bunny in and
out for playtime without ever picking her up!
If you are going to pick up your rabbit, make sure you do it correctly. The best way is to place
one hand under her rib cage and the other under her bottom, scooping her back legs so she can’t kick. This method will protect her fragile backbone while protecting you from those strong
kicking back legs and sharp nails. It is also important to wear an appropriate shirt when
handling a rabbit to avoid being scratched by nails as bunny tries to get away! Or just encourage or herd
bunny into a pet carrier or box and move him that way.
Keep in mind your rabbit will likely be easier to interact with and handle once spayed or
neutered. Spaying and neutering reduces hormone-driven behaviors like lunging, mounting,
spraying, and boxing. Spaying also protects female bunnies from uterine cancer, which can be
quite common in older unspayed rabbits.