Bunny Care Guide: How To Handle Your Bunny / Pick Your Rabbit Up

Enough of your handling tomfoolery!

As a bunny owner, one of your biggest challenges may be handling your rabbit. This is because oftentimes, rabbits don't particularly like to be held, which means that they struggle, growl, and occasionally bite and scratch. Even if they do these things however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't handle them. It does mean that you will have to take some time to establish a better bond between you and your bunny. This is a guide for the beginner bunny owner and takes you through the first steps of handling your rabbit.

Step One:

Pet your bunny. You have to walk before you can run, and petting your bunny is the first step towards being able to pick it up and handle it. Bunnies like to have their heads gently scratched and rubbed, but they generally do not like to be touched under the chin or around their hind quarters. If you want to earn your rabbit's trust, giving it a gentle head rub is an excellent way of doing that. After a while your rabbit may even start running up to you and demanding that you pat it.

Step Two:

Put the bunny in your lap. Sit on the floor with the bunny and gently put the bunny in your lap. Let it run off if it wants to, but let it get used to the idea that being picked up and put in your lap is not the end of the world. If you cannot pick your rabbit up at all, try luring it into your lap with treats.

Step Three:

Try holding your bunny. Odds are that your rabbit will not like being restrained. Remember, these are prey animals, and to them, being held down or trapped by a bigger creature often means death. Is there really any wonder that they fight so hard to be let go? Bonding with your rabbit in the first two steps, and being gentle but firm when you do pick the bunny up will go a long way to helping your bunny become more amenable to being picked up.

Picking Up Bunny Checklist:

Support the bunny under its chest

Support the hindquarters

Hold the bunny close to your body. Let it rest against your body if you can. This will provide it much more security.

Once you've picked your bunny up, hold it for a few seconds, or until it stops struggling, and then release it gently. Rabbits will often start struggling again when they feel themselves being released, so make sure you do this very close to the ground. Giving the bunny a treat may sweeten the experience as well. Beware that once you put the rabbit down it may try to bite you for your effrontery. This is where fast feet (yours, not the rabbit's) come in handy!

More by this Author

Comments 90 comments

elena 8 years ago

Wow This Is really helpful!!Thanks

Im about to try this with my rabbit.

~sophie~ 8 years ago

i hope it works!!

Tiffany 8 years ago

I am having great success handling my baby bunny thanks to all of your info. Thanks :)

Bunniez profile image

Bunniez 8 years ago Author

Great! I am glad it is helping you. Keep in mind that some bunnies never really like to be handled at all, but even a bunny that hates being picked up can become a huge fan of gentle head rubs, which build trust between you and your bunny.

*carly* 8 years ago

yea i hope this works with Raynn (my bunny)!

shes so sweet just freaks out easily

YoI'mGettinAbunForshure 8 years ago

This is awesome advise. sorry about my spelling(if its bad), i'm from Europe. I just got a rabit,and i was wondring if you could tel me what colour it is. well i now what colour it is, but wat that colour is called in rabit world. It is brown-grey, kind of like the colouring from your account picture up their. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^. Thank you, pleas respund, from you're friend,

Andy, sometimes called timmy.

cerys 8 years ago

my bunny fluffy is white with black eyes and nose

taytaylovesbunnies 7 years ago

I LOVEE BUNNIESS!!! and this bunny i have doesn't like to be picked up often i think thats okay and if your bunny is liike that no need to have your bunny become upset or put in a position it doesn't like.

the key to this is just listen to your bunnies likes, and bunnies are the cutest ever if you cant pick it up more than once a day whatever you have an ADORABLE Bunny!

John 7 years ago

I got my daughter a rabbit then a neighbour gave her another when they were moving i went to feed them and to my surprise i now have four (i wonder why ?) not ever thinking we had male female the problem i have with four 2 females 2 boys what is the best way to house them as i don't want anymore but it seems cruel to separate them from one and other please help John

zcanada 7 years ago


Spay the females, and maybe even fix the males.It may seem a bit silly beacause we generaly think of only fixing cats and dogs. In the end, thought, the rabbits will be more docile pets, and you won't have to worry about your pets multiplying exponentially

chloe 7 years ago

my bunny is like a tortisshell cat...and likes 2 be held but is huge! i just want to know the correct way to pick her up cuz soemtimes she startles and im not sure exactly if that means it hurts her or if she just likes different positions but this was helpful. : )

rachelle 7 years ago

I currently own a neutered male mini lop pretty boy and a baby bunny that I just got the other day, I plan on bonding the two my baby girl (precious) gets used to her surroundings. But my biggest problem I had with my male rabbit is that he just hates being held, hate is not an understatement at all lol, when I fist got my boy pretty boy I researched allot on the net because he was my first rabbit. What I took from many pages is, to wait to hold your rabbit until you establish a good bond. So I tried to hold pretty boy as little possible and now.. Pretty boy and me have a great bond, he lives in my bunny-proofed bedroom and has a litter and cage open for him to come and go as he pleases. When I enter my room he comes running to my feet and begins licking me lol whenever he can groom me he does. He also lays beside me at allows me to pet him as much as I would like, he even does a light purring grinding sound when he is being petted. And about twice a week he walks around me buzzing. These are all really great things so I read that my rabbit loves and enjoys me and we have a good bond.

However he will never hop into my lap if I place him there he hops out and turns around angrily lol. He will however put his to front paws on me or will sit on my feet. The biggest problem I am having is holding him. I was hopeing it would go smoothly because he seems to really trust me now. When I pick him up he struggles then calms for about 10 seconds and struggles again sometimes he will even put his ears back witch scares me because he is so STRONG lol. When I place him down he thumps is foot at me and gives me the feet flick and gets distance from me. And in a matter of min he is beside me again like nothing happened. I just cant wrap my brain around why he does not trust me to hold him and what I can do to maybe get him to enjoy it more. He is not getting any smaller and when he is an adult I fear I will have no chance in picking him up for meds and other things I might need to do.

Now that I have a new bunny I wonder if I should do anything differently? Maybe hold her more but I don’t, want to ruin our bond before it begins she is only about 8 to 9 weeks old. Within having her out for 5 min she was in my lap climbing me and sniffing me. Complete opposite from pretty boy who was very distant, wouldn’t come near me I spent a month on the floor talking to him and trying to pet him when he came close enough and of course bribing him lol. And all went good but it was a slow process of gaining his trust. I am very shocked by my new rabbit’s curiosity and friendly she is not skittish towards me at all. Just when I hold her lol.

So sorry for the long message, if anyone can help me out please do J I would love to know what I can do or what I am doing wrong.

bex 7 years ago

i hope it works i always try to pick up chico (my rabbit) but he just kicks and runs away.

HELP ME PLEASE! 7 years ago

Flame (my rabbit) always bites me when i pick him up i try and do this but it doesn't work! Am i holding him wrong. I really want to take him outside but i cant pick him up!


betty 7 years ago

i am 9 and can not pick my 7 year old bunny up she bites

Jess  7 years ago

Thanks hope my bunny will let me she is 4 months and bites me and so all my familiy are scared to pick her up so hopefully this will help.

Thanks a lot!!


justgotabunny 7 years ago

thanks for the help it was great

kaitlyn 7 years ago

i have a bunny and her name is zoey and she dose not listn and i need help to hanle a baby bunny

bro 7 years ago

my rabbits ometimes let me pet them but some imes when were in a big area when i get close so i can pet them they growel and run away they do not like getting picked up at all and i just got em yesterday

sweetpop11 7 years ago

my bunny used ot be calm and peaceful when i bought her form a friend, but when i got her shes become angry and a bit wild. I don't think i spend enough time with her when i got her. When i just got her (lilo) i always coud pick her up and then i only could sometimes and now never.

If my hand even goes under her, she jumps and becomes all angry. She tears up the newspaper in her hutch and tips over her food bowl. HOw do i make her more tame??!?!?!?!?!?


Jemma 7 years ago


Kyla 7 years ago

Wow it realy works my bunny harry dosnt scratch when we pick him up anymor!!!

coco 7 years ago

I will try this as well

Gina 6 years ago

Yea I have always liked this page and it has helped me a lot too. I have shown it to my family 'cause Rudy(my bun bun bunny) bit my dad and counldn't go in my room anymore. i just don't know if it is cause he is to used to being here that he thinks he is the king but this page helped me get him out of my room!!!lol!! Thanks Bunniez!!!a lot

jordan hudson  6 years ago

ur advis is grate get in

Gigi 6 years ago

I posted this on another board, but wanted to share it here also. I know the article says they don't like to be restrained. Mine however likes me to hold her if she's wrapped in a towels. With her head sticking out! She prefers this as I think she feels secure. Just my opinion!

Elliee 6 years ago

I'm looking after a pair of rabbits while some neighbours are away for a few weeks and I've had lots of pets but never rabbits so this has helped a lot! (:

Jenny-rabbit 6 years ago

my rabbit and i have a great bond she is very sweet but she does not like to be held she'll come on my lap sometimes but at her own will and leaves when she wants when i try and pick her up to do her nails she freaks out (she's never bit or scratched but im afraid she'll hurt herself) i need to cut her nails they are way too long and she has already snagged them. I've had her a while and am ok with the fact that rabbits don't like to be held but for her sake i need to in order to cut her nails im gonna give it another try this time with my husband's help and i hope i can before she snags another nail (what can i do about the snagged nail?) I feel like a neglectful bunny-mom b/c her nails are ridiculous but she's stubborn and i'm likely to clip her if she wont be still for 2 seconds let alone 5 mins! Other than this my 2 rabbits are perfect they are so easy and sweet we truly lucked out but they wont let us do the things that is for their own good!

Tiarra-Bunny 6 years ago

I hope this works; my bunny Toki loves a head rub and treats, but when it comes to being held, my hands are covered in scratches.

bunbun 6 years ago

Ya, know i have a bunny (Shadow) and she always scracthes me when i pick her up!!!!!!!!!!! Today she scractht me sooo hard that i needed a band - aid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bella 6 years ago

Wow- what great advise! My 2 female dwarfs are just 4 weeks old- Coco (my brown rabbit) is so-so with me... I can't tell what shes trying to say! Millie ( my black & white) is so afraid- even if I open the hutch!

kate 6 years ago

Yes, I do all this. But my bunny, whom I love very much, still won't come out of her hutch! She just runs to her box when I try to, gently, scoop her up! HELP!

connie 6 years ago

i LOVE my bunnys (noddy and big ears) they are so cute and have always let me pick them up since i bought them but my friend came round the other day and big ears scratched my friend when she tried to pick him up. He has never done this to me before can anyone tell me why he did this

Floppy Ears 6 years ago

thanks sooo much for the info it has helped in every way i just got the bunny yesterday and now it loves me!

ashlie 6 years ago



me 6 years ago

i really hope this works ...

bunny foo foo 6 years ago

I really hope this works with my bunny (Shadow)! She is black with some dark brown on her forehead, has brown eyes, and shell let you rubb her head forever! She's soooooo sweet. And her fur is very soft. Shell be the sweetest bunny in my life. And if she dies she will be forever loved, and will never be forgotten. I LOVE SHADOW! I really like her! I wish I could show you her.


A Proud Owner

alison 6 years ago

my 3 rabbits pepsi,shurley and fifi never let me pick them up they allways just run away from me.i want to pick them up and rub them .and when i pick one up it scratches me so i have to put it back .AM I HOLDING THEM WRONG WHAT DO I DO ???????????

Katie 6 years ago

I have just bought a rabbit my son is scared of all animals so I was hoping a cute rabbit will help, It does seem to, but i really need to ensure that it will allow us to pick it up and cuddle it, I have been told to not handle it for the first 48 hours is this correct? or shall i handle it as soon as possible? can anyone advise me?

6 years ago

You MUST wait at least 3 days. give your new bunny a chance to look around and to feel safe. then you can lightly pet it if it lets you, and then you can try to handle it.

kristen 6 years ago

are bunnies easy 2 take care of?

Pikaboo 6 years ago

I am getting a bunny and this is exactly the kind of info I am looking for to really make a good first impression to my bunny.

BUNNY  6 years ago

I found this very useful,my bunny doessnt even struggle when I pick her up.

Kelly 6 years ago

my 3 month old lion head loves to be petted and hes face rubed,but i don't think he like to be held because i pick him up wrong.but im going to try and pick him up how you said on here.thanks!(:

Monty 6 years ago

I have a 24week old Papillion rabbit that i brought from the pet shop about a week ago now... he is the most friendlest rabbit you would ever meet, he jumps on the sofa and comes and sits on my lap for a fuss, but he will not let you pick him up he struggles a lot! ( but never bites or scratches). how can i get him to let me hold him?

Abby - Bunny Shower  6 years ago

A good way to move around with your bunny is to put his/her head under your arm, or in your armpit. That way, he/she can't see, so he/she won't be trying to jump out of your arms at all the commotion around him/her.

Kayla 6 years ago

I have a 14 month old Dutch rabbit named Custard. He loves to be petted, and loves having me around. He also always let me hold him until I got him neutered. Now he hates being held, he's never bitten me, but I do get scratched when I try to hold him. Do you think he didn't like the vet, and remembers what happened the last time I held him?

Beeth-chaan 6 years ago

I forgot about the fact that if you hold them down they'll think I'm going to eat it -_- This is quite helpful. I can hold him for about 30 seconds and then he scratches me D: Lol

lucy marshall 6 years ago

im 8 and i have three rabbits used to have four i have 1female 1male they had two babys 1 died and i hope this works for my 1 baby rabbit ps its only 1week old and im not sure if its a boy or girl

kayla paton 6 years ago

My Bunny Is Very Cute He Is All Black And Has One Very Cute White Paw, :P. I Held Him In The Pet Shop And He Was Great Ive Not Tried It Since,It Has Been Two Days Since Then And He Is Liking The Head Rubs. Thanx Ill Try This Today!!!!...

lalala 6 years ago

how dow youu pick a bunny i do not have one yet but i am getting ong how do u chosse

Sadia Risala 6 years ago

Thnx! =) ? your info!

corinne 6 years ago

My bunny nalah is a yr old I got her about three weeks ago.. she likes to be petted and even comes over nd licks me sometyms. But won't let me pick her up. Her nailss are rele longg and i can't pick her up to cut them. I want to hold her so she can come on the couch with mee and stuff my sisters rabbit is very comfortable with it all even sleeps in her bed with her.. how can I get nalah to let me hold her?? .. any advice?....~corinne~

Riley Modlin 5 years ago

Hello i own three rabbits and one had babies.I was wondering how old do the baby rabbits have to be before i can hold them?

Rabbit 5 years ago

Hi. I think, if you'r rabbit is struggling, then you may be holding them too high. Rabbits don't like hights and so if your holding them too high tey will struggle. It is best to sit down with your rabbit. I hope I helped.

mckio 5 years ago

my bunny is now calm and gentle 2 hold after I read these steps:P

mckio 5 years ago

my bunny is now calm and gentle 2 hold after I read these steps:P

person 5 years ago

how can i tell how my bunny is a boy or girl?

purple 5 years ago

my bunny farts every time i pick it up what is wrong with it!!!!????!!!!

Thumperismabunn-ay! 5 years ago

my bunny loves to be held, he even bury's his head in the crease of your elbow. he loves it and so does my other one! but he kicks a lot.

Nicole 5 years ago

I didn't even know that bunnies don't lik to be held! My bunny is fine w/ me holding her!

nathan watkins 5 years ago

im about to try this with my bunny brodie thanks for the info i hope it works :)

jdksiemxiwnskak 5 years ago

I have 2 hamsters when they get old and,die I will buy a bunny.When I buy the bunny what type of gender and bread

should get. I want 1 that works well with ages 5-any age.

I would like to have a baby bunny.When I get my bunny I

will work on every thing when I get my bunny

S&A Angels Rabbitry 5 years ago

first off why in the world would u not introduce it by tellin why they don't like bein held? reasons can be simple! a big reason is because rabbits are ground animal and don't like bein off the ground!...2nd. some rabbits will scream and freak on u if u try picking them up if this happens get on ur kneels slowly by the rabbit an remain calm an try to pet the rabbit.........oh and 3rd some rabbits HATE if u touch there face.....WATCH WHO U GET UR BUNNY FROM AN ASK TO SEE THE MOTHER AN FATHER MOST PET STORES HAVE SO MANY CROSS BREEDS THEY RY SAYIN ARE PUREBRED, DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY UNLESS U KNOW THE BREED AND

le banana 5 years ago

my rabbit allways scraches me when i pick him up.i have had him one week yesterday (monday) and he is 10 weeks old.he is a lionhead called parsley. he is in the run at the moment but im scared to carry him to his hutch even though its not verry far to the garage but i now put him into a hampster cage ( that is big enough for him at the moment) with some straw in it and a carrot so he can munch on it when its the guinnea pigs turn to go out first although he doesn't mind being in there as he will actually sit in it without moaning. this is very helpful im going to try it out now thanks x !!!!!!!

Claire 5 years ago

I've got some French lop giants they are 7 months and I need some advice picking them and where?? I have picked them up a few times but it's seems to been getting worse were I can't n there kicking n fighting but when you have got them right so of thing there fine. N there behaviour is not every good.. There are two sister they get on very well but they are both naughty they have toys the lot.plus they live outside I Really don't know what to do.. Any help I got them a week ago :)

Kayla 5 years ago

Thanks for your advice, but my bunny still HATES to be held. Geuss Ill keep trying! I Have hope! :)

Lynn 5 years ago

My rabbit, Simba is the BEST rabbit on Earth!!! On the first day I got him, he was 3 months old... I thought he was an old rabbit as he is HUGE! when i found out about his age, i was relieved, lol...

At first.. he wouldn't let me carry him, he would struggle when carry him... So, i won't carry it ever since... Everyday, i spend time grooming him, playing with him... I thought him how to play football!!! Until one day, i tried to carry him... i was so shock he let me!!! I hold him for hours and he didn't struggle! He managed to sleep in my hands!!! I was so happy that he finally trust me!!!!!!!!

My bro get so jealous as his female rabbit won't let him handle her!! lol.

Surprisingly... my little bunny wouldn't let anyone handle him except him... Im really happy about that, hah!!

I love you, Simba!!!!!!!!!

lidia grace 4 years ago

it rely works

leoni 4 years ago

i love bunnys really ok i will try pick my rabbit up

ewfef 4 years ago

Ive got a 12 weeks old mini lop,Harryhe sometimes likes cuddles but sometimes he will headbut me!

eelliedoodoo 4 years ago

my rabbit reggy is not used to being handled he used to kick me ever since he was 14 weeeks old . which was when i bought him.i was really scared so over the years he has only been stroked he still wont let me pick him up to date. any advice ? i loove him he is my world!

Miotheminilop profile image

Miotheminilop 4 years ago from England

YAY!! Thankyou!! It worked!! You do very good hubs!!! Totally Impressed!! :)

dan 4 years ago

i use a leech that way you can pick him up and if it jumps away you still have a hold of him it also allows him to get used being picked up

Aundraus 4 years ago

Rabbits are great pet

Amiii xx 4 years ago

Thanks!!i'm going to try this I hope it works!! :)

Amiii xx 4 years ago

Btw the rabbit in the pic is really cute!!! :D

akeasha 4 years ago


special thanks to Bunniez.com

thanks for taking time to write positive good things about rabbits


cameron 4 years ago

i already know all that stuff!!! im wondering when u let it out for fresh air, how to not let them hop away?!

Nelly 4 years ago

I read all of this but she still wont let me hold her. When I put my hand under her she runs away really fast so I cant get a hold of her. Any advice?

Alessia 4 years ago

Hi my bunny hides in his hutch when I try and pick him up.he also stays lieying down for ages PLEASE HELP xx P.S. he's called Fudge

Gaby 4 years ago

My bunny Delilah (3 months) is starting to bite and scratch and kick I don't know if I'm not graving her properly....she was really nice and wouldn't bite but now she bites what do I do can you help?

loves bunnies 4 years ago

I have a bunny named brownie she wont let me hold her sometimes she does let us not a lot anyway she is really cute :) p.s she me and her get nose to nose and that means were bonding right?!:)

kat 4 years ago

wow thank you how do you know so much this will help me and Cuddles relationship a lot!

iLoveMyMaxie 4 years ago

My little buck, Maxie, is a pretty tame bun and we have bonded quite well over the past few weeks, at first he moved away when I tried to pat him but now he nudges at my hands and wants me to pat him! He's also started binking which is way too cute, and the funny thing is, he binkies when he knows he's being cheeky! I covered the little space under the couch with a blanket so he can't get in but he learnt how to burrow his way through so every time he does I just tap the blanket right next to him, or interrupt him by gently shooing him away and at first he understood to stop but now he enjoys it or something! But that's not what I wanted to say haha, we're well bonded and he's adapted quite well to his surroundings and learned to live with my mother even though it's rather obvious Maxie doesn't like her, but the only problem I have is picking him up... Iv'e tried this for days and used the same kind of technique I used to bond with him but he absolutely hates being picked up and I want him to get used to it because our vet is rather rough and Maxie always seems angry with me for HOURS when we get home, especially if the vet picks him up and it breaks my heart because I love him more then the world and I just want the best for little Maxie, I just don't know how to get him used to being picked up?

bunnylover 4 years ago

i have 7 bunnies right now and all of them just love me. iv never had a problem with my bunnies after like the first day. they are all very sweet bunnies and are never scared to be held unless they don't know you. we gave a bunny to my boyfriends moms friends and i went crazy with these thoughts like is she gunna pick her up right if she scratches will she drop her. and so far so good iv hurd, but a lot of this stuff really depends on the rabbit, some bunnies will just be mean no matter what. i was so lucky to get the bunnies i have because they are the sweatest things.!

3 years ago

I hope this works with my rabbit he kicks like a bronco!

Jessica 3 years ago

All my bunnies love being held. Especially Mimzy. She is a Flemish Giant/Harlequin and she LOVES people! She jumps on my lap when I sit on the ground and she can be loose in the yard cause she just follows me.She is litter box trained and knows her name! When she is in her cage and I open it she stands on her back legs begging me to pick her up and I can carry her everywhere. My bunny Lu Lu who is a Holland Lop he doesn't scratch or bite but he pees on me every time I pick him up LOL! and Latte is my lionhead and she is very tame she used to be a class pet at our school for a year but then I got to keep her so now she won't ever scratch or bite! Lu Lu likes to sleep on his back with his feet in the air behind my pillow! EVERY DAY HE DOES THAT! its sooo cute and funny! I am getting another holland lop in the morning we go to get him. Once Lu Lu is older I am going to get him spayed. He is only 8 weeks and 4 days! Mimzy is 7 weeks and 4 days and Latte is like 3 years I think!!

Jessica 3 years ago

I meant I am going to get him fixed not spayed! oops! and Latte loves riding in my bike basket when I ride my bike! I put her harness on her and I have a basket made for animals so they can't jump out or get hurt!!

kelly 2 years ago

I jus got my bunny today!!!it is jus precious.i have some other bunnys that I got last year and I tried to put my new bunny with it but they were mean to it!! what do I do? I also need a name bad!!


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article