Dealing with Rabbit Attacks

Do rabbits attack humans and why? How should you deal with rabbit attack in case it occurs?

When someone talks about rabbit attacks, incidences such as the Jimmy Carter rabbit incident [1] or a story about a “Bloodthirsty ‘Thugs Bunny’ Who Attacks Humans and Sent One Woman to Hospital to See Psychologist” [2]come to the mind.

Whereas these pets are docile, gentle and loving, there are some incidences where they can attack – scratch or bite you, other rabbits or pets. When they are on such a vicious streak, they can cause injury since they have big sharp incisors.

Dealing with rabbit attack
Dealing with a rabbit attack

What to do in case of a rabbit attack

Many things can cause rabbit aggression and this aggression may make your furry friend or even a wild rabbit attack you. In case this happens, here is what you should do.

Do not punish or hit it

An attack, especially if the rabbit bites or scratches you may make you scream, take off, kick it or toss it around. However, you should not do this as you will only be worsening things or encouraging this behavior.

Instead, show strength and do not run away. Gently push its head to the ground to show dominance and take it to its cage. This makes it associated with the caging with its bad behavior.  

Although you should not scream, a shriek is ok to make it understand that it has caused pain in you. However, screaming too much may scare or stress it and this is one of the triggers of rabbit aggression.

Clean any area injured

In case during the attack you sustain an injury such as a bite or scratch, you need to thoroughly clean the area with water and soap and apply an antiseptic ointment to avoid infections. If you have Puracyn Plus Wound and Skin Cleanser, you are good to go. 

Deep bites might require the intervention of a doctor if they are bleeding profusely.

Why did it happen

The attack may have happened all over a sudden. You need to try investigating why the incident happened. Did you scare, threaten, offend, hurt or try to pick it wrongly? Did you go to its territory especially if it is pregnant or has a litter? There must be a trigger.

Various things including sickness, pain, stress, fear, a surge in sex hormone, pregnancies (including false pregnancies), and frustration may cause aggression.

Do not repeat the incident

Once you discover what caused the aggression, ensure you do not repeat it. If it is health-related such as pain, or sickness let your rabbit savvy vet do a diagnosis and treat the cause.

Any incident that makes a bunny hostile can affect the good relationship you have with your pet. You need to find means of mending it.

Bond with it

After the incident, you should not shy away from your furry critter. You need to spend more time with it, train and bond with it.

Going to the same level such as sitting on the ground, giving it rewards (treats) may help correct this undesirable behavior.

Effective bonding will need you to be patient and you should give you enough room to decide whether it wants to come close to you or not and do not force anything on it.