Why Does My Bunny Bite Me When I Put My Hand In Its Cage?
Rabbits are very territorial creatures. In the wild they normally make their own burrows separately from other rabbits, choosing when they wish to socialize, and when they wish to be alone. A bunny's burrow is a very private place, and the bunny will defend it against all intruders, with some exceptions being other rabbits it has pair bonded to, or offspring which are too young to leave the burrow as yet.
Your pet rabbit's cage is its burrow, and your bunny feels just as protective over its cage as it would do its burrow if it were in the wild. Whilst we sometimes think that a cage is like a little prison, to the bunny, the cage is its home. Baby bunnies, or young rabbits may tolerate you putting your hand in the cage and moving things around, but as they grow older, their territorial instincts begin to develop more and more, and before you know it, you are getting a nasty nip for daring to move a food dish whilst the bunny is in the cage.
How To Avoid Being Bitten
So how can you clean your rabbit's cage if every time you put your hand in there you are met with angry grunts and violent jousting from your sweet fluffy bunny? The solution is devilishly simple. Take the rabbit out of the cage, or better still, let the bunny out for a run in a secure confined area. Bunnies are less likely to be aggressive and territorial about their cages when they are out of them, though for some particularly territorial bunnies, you will need to put them in another room whilst you clean out their cage, because they will not tolerate you messing with it in their sight.
A major cause of territorial behavior is hormones, which is why rabbits get more territorial with age. You should have your rabbit spayed or neutered to reduce these hormones, and make your bunny more friendly. You might be surprised at how much of a difference being spayed or neutered can make to your bunny's personality.
There are also additional health benefits to spaying your bunny, as it means that your girl rabbit is much less likely to develop cancer and die. Almost all female rabbits who do not breed develop cancer by the age of four. Good, responsible owners get their bunnies spayed to avoid having unwanted baby bunnies, and to keep their bunny healthy. Boy bunnies can benefit from neutering just as much, as it makes them much less aggressive, and if they begin to spray (pee strong smelling urine) everywhere, then neutering can often remove that behavior.
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