Rabbits are social animals and tend to do well when living with a friend. One thing that happens when rabbits live together is they sometimes fight. Rabbits can be fun, friendly, loving and playful but they can also show signs of stress.
Rabbits can be pets or a source of food. As pets, they need to live in a well-ventilated cage, with appropriate flooring, water and food. They are mostly herbivores and should change their diet seasonally. Caring for them requires providing the right amount of space, fresh vegetables, clean water, and proper cleaning and grooming habits.
There are several signs of stress in a rabbit. Some of these signs include a decrease in appetite, not grooming, and becoming more aggressive. The first sign of stress is usually the loss of appetite for the rabbit. The rabbit will lose interest in eating and drinking, which can cause dehydration. The second sign of stress is when the rabbit does not groom itself properly. When this happens, the fur becomes matted and tangled and can cause pain for your pet. Another sign of stress is when your rabbit starts to become more aggressive than usual. This may happen if you have been holding him or her too tightly or picking them up too frequently without giving them time to adjust first
Rabbits are intelligent and social animals, but they can be prone to stress-related illnesses. Here are some signs that your rabbit may be stressed:
-Dropping in weight or not eating as much
-Lack of energy or a change in behavior
-Excessive vocalization (e.g., screaming)
-A runny nose or eyes (this can indicate an upper respiratory infection)
-Sudden changes in activity level (e.g., lethargy)
Signs Of Stress In A Rabbit
How to know if your bunny is stressed? What are the signs of stress in rabbits? How to treat stress in rabbits? If you’re looking for answers to these common questions, we got you covered!
Rabbits are known to become stressed and anxious very quickly. These are very sensitive animals who can get easily affected even by the smallest change in their environment. Bunnies are defenseless and hence always fear their predators. If they sense any unusual thing around them, they will become stressed.
Stress can be very harmful for your rabbit. It can cause several health complications and in worse cases, it can even result in a life-threatening situation. So, it’s very important to keep your rabbit happy and stress-free.
The only good thing about stress is, it can be noticed through your rabbit’s unusual behavior and habits. In this article, we are sharing 14 common signs of stress in rabbits along with their causes and treatments.
The Main Signs of Stress In Rabbits
When bunnies are stressed, it reflects in their behavior. Apart from sleeping, the most common sign of stress is a bunny is curled up with paws tucked in and ears going flat. Heavy breathing can also be a major sign that something is wrong with your bunny.
Unlike other pets, bunnies react to stress in several different ways. It is extremely important to notice the unusual changes in their habits and behavior. Most of the time, you may notice your bunny running and hiding himself. While this is a normal rabbit-behavior, if it happens very often, you need to worry.
To help you keep your rabbit happy, here are the most common signs of stress in rabbits:
- 1. They Appear Nervous – Shivering, Curled Up With Paws Tucked In And Ear Going Down
The first and the most obvious sign of stress in rabbits is when they’re all curled up in their hiding location with ears flat and paws tucked in. Sometimes, rabbits do this during the extreme winters to keep themselves warm. But if you’re noticing this very often during normal days, it’s a sign that your bunny is stressed.
- 2. Bulging Eyes – Being Overly Active
We all know that bunnies are active animals. They don’t like sitting quietly at one place. Instead, they love hopping and running around your place. However, if your bunny is being overly active consistently, then know that he is stressed out. This includes running too much without taking rest, too much scratching and too much chewing.
- 3. Being Aggressive On Their Owner And Fellow Bunnies
If you’re a rabbit owner, you should know that these pets are very loving and non-violent. But when they are stressed out, they start getting aggressive on their parents and their fellow buddies. If this behavior becomes persistent, you need to take measures to calm your bunny down.
- 4. Rough Behavior When Handled
If your bunny is being aggressive with you even when you’re handling him with care, there are good chances that he’s not feeling well. This is especially true when it happens very often. At times, you might find this rude behavior annoying but instead of being rude on your poor pet, try to understand his situation and calm him.
- 5. Lack of Interest /Lethargy
As we’re already discussed in the second point, rabbits are active animals. They love playing, hoping and running around. But if your pet is sitting quietly at one corner and is not showing interest in his surroundings, he is stressed for sure. You may also notice that he’s not nibbling hay and not showing interest in its food.
- 6. Being Restless
Rabbits love sleeping. If you’re noticing that your rabbit is not sleeping well and staying restless, he needs to be taken care of. Restlessness involves moving here and there at sleeping time.
- 7. Staying Inactive /Over Sleeping
Yes, there is no doubt that rabbits love sleeping but if they’re sleeping too much, it’s a sign. Oversleeping means spending most of the sleeping and very little or even no activity. Apart from stress, oversleeping and lack of activity can also be a sign of other health complications. So, it’s very important to take your pet to his vet.
- 8. Running Away/Hiding
If your bunny is running away from you when you are trying to pat him or caress him, it’s not a good sign. Rabbits like to hide themselves when they’re comfortable in their surroundings. If your pet is showing this behavior, find the cause and cheer him up.
- 9. Breathing Heavily
Heavy breathing or panting is not very common to rabbits. If your pet breathing abnormally even when he isn’t involved in a lot of exercise, know what is bothering him. But before that, pat him gently and try to calm him down. In the later section, we will discuss how you can treat your stressed bunny. So, keep reading!
- 10. Not Eating Well
Bunnies love munching on hay and a variety of other food items. In fact, they show a keen interest in food, especially their vegetables. If you’re noticing that your bunny is not eating properly or eating very less food than usual, it’s a visible symptom of stress. Further, the reason behind stress could be some health complication.
- 11. Abnormal Pooping Habits
Normally, rabbits poop a lot. Their droppings are small, round, dry and odorless. But if your rabbit is not pooping well or suffering from constipation, he might be stressed. Further, if its poop is very runny, pasty or deformed, you should immediately see your vet.
- 12. Over-grooming
Rabbits love to keep themselves neat and tidy. You won’t find any dirt hanging on their fur and paws. But a stressed rabbit often tries to over-groom itself to an extent that it might hurt him.
- 13. Not Grooming At All
Continuing the above point, a stressed rabbit might also stop grooming itself. This mostly happens in the case of senior rabbits. If you’re noticing a poopy butt or dirty fur, this means your rabbit is not doing well.
- 14. Making Strange Noises
If your pet is making strange noises repeatedly, this could be due to stress. Rabbits are quiet animals and don’t make a lot of noises unless they’re in some problem. If you’re hearing such noises, find out the reason and cheer your buddy up.
Now that you know the common signs of stress in rabbits, now let’s move on to the causes behind it.
What Are The Causes Of Stress?
There are many different situations which can cause stress in your bunnies and it’s very important to learn about the main reasons behind it. By learning and understanding the causes of anxiety and stress, you can prevent such situations and treat your bunny before things get worse.