How To Stop A Destructive Bunny PART TWO

This is the second part to an article concerned with stopping your sweet little rabbit from completely destroying your home. Part One can be found here.

Bunny Proof

Bunny proofing essentially means getting things that you don't want to be chewed out of the rabbit's way. Cords can be clipped to the wall, which keeps them tidier and makes for easier cleaning, and also means that rabbits are less likely to chew on them. Cords bear a fairly close resemblance to the roots that wild bunnies chew out of their burrows, so it makes sense that a bunny will want to get rid of those offending growths that it finds sprouting from the walls of your home.

Plants should be lifted out of the way. Many house plants are poisonous to bunnies, and being eaten by a rabbit isn't particularly great for your plants either, so it's best to put them up high, or keep your rabbit out of rooms where there are plants.

Spay/ Neuter

Spaying and neutering will also cut down on the rabbit's tendencies to engage in destructive behavior related to their sexuality. Male rabbits will often spray their territory, and the smell of rabbit urine is definitely not a pleasant odor to have emanating through your home. Neutering your male rabbit will eliminate this behavior in many cases.

Female bunnies are not much better when it comes to behaving badly due to hormonal urges. Many female rabbits may try to build nests and burrows, sometimes in your furniture. Spaying your female rabbit will also mean that she is highly unlikely to develop the cancer which kills up to 80% of all unspayed female rabbits by the age of 4 or 5. In addition to this, it will also make her less aggressive and touchy. Many female rabbits will become quite grumpy and aggressive when they are in heat, which is fairly often. Spaying your bunny is the best way to cut down on destructive urges, improve her temperament, and most likely save her from a premature and painful death as well.

If you pay attention to all of these areas:

  • Toys
  • Bunny Proofing
  • Spay/Neuter

You will find that your bunny becomes a much more pleasant house mate. By taking the time out to make sure that the rabbit's needs are fulfilled, you save yourself the trouble of dealing with the results of a rabbit which has essentially been left to it's own devices.

As owners it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our pets and their needs, and find ways to fulfill their natural drives. If we do this, we enjoy happier pets and better relationships with them. It is when we pay little to no attention to what the rabbit needs and try to make them fit into our lives without taking the time to understand them that we end up with destructive little terrors, or even worse, sad lonely souls abandoned at the bottom of the garden.

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Comments 7 comments

tarren 8 years ago

how can you tell when a rabbit is on heat


Poppy problems D: 5 years ago

Hello. You seem to know quite a good deal about ending a destructive bunny behavior. I have read no kidding, at least fifty articles on rabbit behavior and how to stop bad habits and behavior. I would love some advice! My bunny is called Poppy. He is a male, who just recently has hit sexual maturity. He is six months old. He has developed some behavior problems recently, and I think that is mainly because he is sexually mature. He has found a strong liking to my wooden nightstands and wardrobe, which all three have little hollow spots in the bottom, at the base, for decorative ness. Poppy loves to crawl under there and chew, chew, chew. I really want it to stop! I try firmly saying "no" and Poppy totally ignores. He doesn't react to scolding, and I don't want to be too harsh, or it will be mean in his opinion. Do you think finding the perfect toy he loves to chew and neutering him will stop this? Also, my bunny is very nice. He used to adore me! When I would let him out of his cate for free time, He would frolic, kick up his heels, and spazz around happily. He also used to run up to me quite often, softly honking, ( which I know is a sign they have reached sexual maturity) but I think he did that as a way of being vocal to me, getting my attention so he would be petted. Once he felt he has been petted enough, he would hop away, and run about. Once he tired himself out, e would rest against the wall, and I would pick him up, and take him back to his cage. He never struggled, or tried to get away as I carried him off, he was very coopertive. He also used to be very patient as I took him to his cage, and he would calmly hop into his cage, and either flop down to rest, or poke his head out of the cage door, hoping to be petted and let out again. Now, when I try picking him up and take him out to run around, he struggles away, and so Ieave him alone for a while and try again. He hangs put in the back of his cage, so I have a hard time getting him out. He struggles a little as I take him out. He used to be so calm! And before, he would hang out at the door of his cage, ready for me to take him out. I am upset he doesn't seem as eager to be taken out anymore. Also, now when he is out ando about, he doesn't frolic as much as he used to. He does for only a little while, then goes off to rest. He also doesn't go up to me wanting to be petted as much as he used to. I figure that is because when bunnies get older they mellow out and are less clingy, but it seems he doesn't enjoy "out" time as much as he used to. One last thing, now whenever Poppy goes off to rest, he goes under the small book shelf, so I have to reach low to get him out, and I think it startled him. Other times, he will rest under the furnitures I told you he likes to chew, and I have to coax him out with treats, and try to pick him up. He is definitely not cooperatives as he used to be, he struggles away fast as I try picking him up to put him back in his cage. I miss Poppy being so much better behaved and cooperative! I have stressed over and over about his newly found behavior. Do you think neutering him will not only make him less destructive, but also more mellow and cooperative with being picked up, like he used to be? Please reply, I need some good advice and suggestions! Thanks sooooo much in advance! -Claire


Megan 5 years ago

Hi I'm megan and today I was going where my mini Rex rabbit is to let her have some exercise outside when I went in and she bit me! I started bleeding but after five mins I went in again she attacked me again! I went in two hours later she did it again now I'm really scared of my rabbit and don't even want to go in there anymore! What should I do?!


Tony 4 years ago

Nice to know that neither of your messages have been replied to so please accept what advice I can offer you! I have a 2 year old female Rex Rabbit that I "rescued" from a friend with an over-excitable 2 year child. When I bribed them to let me take the rabbit away, she was very aggressive and destructive. She was only 5 months old at the time and spent most of her life terrified by the child and picked up some really bad habits from this! It caused me endless amounts of stress to try and calm her down and get her to be more friendly and playful. I still haven't achieved this as we now also have a kitten we decided to take care of from an animal shelter and they have their differences which means that I have to constantly watch them when the bunny is let out to play (Minimum of 4-5 hours a day), aren't I lucky that I am able to work from home!?!?

So, my first piece of advice is this... as I have learnt to try and keep my rabbit under control, it doesn't seem to have gotten anywhere as when you can prevent one habit, they will always pick up another! Or in my case, preventing fights with the new kitten. Think to yourself if it is worth keeping your rabbit, think long and hard about this as they are very social animals and this is something very difficult to notice as they are quite shy. If you decide that you have the time and patience to look after your rabbit, please carry on reading. Otherwise, it is best if you let your rabbit go to a new home and PLEASE find him/her a home! Do not simply give him/her away to an animal shelter!

Claire - My rabbit like to share and sometimes runs over to me when I am eating my dinner or having a snack to steal some food (I only pick the healthy food but sometimes she is naughty and takes what she wants!), her choice of food was a chip covered in vinegar which gave her a very odd reaction... she quickly discarded it and ran away! YAY! Rabbits do not like the taste or smell of vinegar! If you think you can put up with the smell of vinegar in parts of the house then feel free to put some down under the cupboard or anywhere you don't want the rabbit to go. I have used vinegar now for a week to stop my rabbit from going near electrical sockets, eating skirting board, ripping up the carpet (putting vinegar down where she has ripped it up seems to have made her believe that it will be found anywhere she digs), the list continues. Just remember that this won't indefinately stop him/her from doing things, they will find other places to be naughty but you just have to be persistent.

Moving on! And this is advice I am offering to both of you. Rabbits are instinctively prey, humans are instinctively predators. Rabbits know this and are naturally scared, especially during puberty. Always make sure your rabbit knows you are approaching them (I also have to try and kneel down or crouch so that they don't find me imposing because of my height). They they thump their feet (which to my belief means 'danger') then stop and maybe take a step back. Also, don't constantly watch your rabbit, they pick up on this and find it intimidating, you may feel silly but your rabbit will react better if you side step towards them and look in a different direction... just make sure not to step on him/her! Never approach them from behind and don't make loud noises. Try and get the rabbit used to letting you approach and at times just wait near them and let them approach you, don't be encouraged to instantly pet them just wait and let them sniff you. Sometimes they will bite, if they're not trying to scratch you also, then this is a sign of affection, just squeak and gently push them away by their butt... again let them see that this is what you are doing.

Megan - Have you been reaching into the cage/hutch/shelter and moving stuff around while she is still in there? Rabbits do not like this and are prone to attack if so, but they don't have a problem with you doing anything while they are outside their shelter. Personally, my rabbit doesn't mind me altering anything except her food bowl even if she is still in there. Have you been giving her lots of attention on a daily basis? As I said before, rabbits are very social, just like us, you wouldn't let someone pick you up if you weren't at least friends with them (no rabbit likes being picked up by the way, they always need an "escape" option). Unfortunately I don't feel as if I can directly answer your question without more information.

If your problem has not already been sorted, please email me with information on how you approach the rabbit and try to interact so I can offer better advice. Tony140588(AT)hotmail.com

Megan, contact me if my advice doesn't help or you need to know more! Thanks for reading my horribly long post!


Jamie 4 years ago

Megan: If you have a female rabbit attacking you suddenly, don’t be afraid! She needs to be spayed. Contact bunnybuddies for a list of experienced vets. I literally rescued (climbed down into a retention pond filled with snakes!) A californian rabbit and she was horribly aggressive! Charging, biting, growling, had a taste for blood! Bunnybuddies had her spayed and now with assistance of treats we have tamed her :)


Jamie 4 years ago

Megan: If you have a female rabbit attacking you suddenly, don’t be afraid! She needs to be spayed. Contact bunnybuddies for a list of experienced vets. I literally rescued (climbed down into a retention pond filled with snakes!) A californian rabbit and she was horribly aggressive! Charging, biting, growling, had a taste for blood! Bunnybuddies had her spayed and now with assistance of treats we have tamed her :)


Thumpers Grandma 4 years ago

My daughter has a female rabbit about 4 months old and she's gotten into the habbit of jumping up on the couch and peeing. We have tried everything, pulling her off the couch, firmly and loudly saying No, putting her in her cage immediately after, we have to watch her every minute when she's out of her cage (which we try to let her out in 30-60 minute intervals at least 2 -3 times a day for exercise. How can we stop this habbit she has developed it's so frustrating. Please email me your comments at babygirlbina@hotmail.com. Thanks!

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