Angry Rabbits: Dealing With A Teen Doe
One of the things they don't tell you when you get that little fuzzy bundle of bunny, is that even rabbits go through adolescence. In fact, a teenage rabbit can be just as moody, destructive, and full of loathing for its caregiver as any teenage human. This particular article deals with the behavior of the doe, or female rabbit. While she may be cuddly as a baby, or more likely, slowly getting more attached and affectionate to you, once she hits sexual maturity at about 6 months of age, things begin to change.
Many experts recommend that you should have your rabbit spayed, and this is excellent advice as it cuts down considerably on the risk of tumors and other negative behaviors related to hormonal drives. If you intend to breed however, or if you simply are waiting to spay your rabbit, you will find that your sweet doe's behavior will change around the time she sexually matures.
Behaviors such as growling, nipping, biting, and scrabbling at you with the front paws may become very much more in evidence at this time. Territoriality can increase, so watch out for those sharp teeth when you're cleaning out the cage, and it can be a good idea to keep her in a separate cage or another room when you're cleaning out simply to avoid this issue altogether.
Play time can also become more aggressive at this time, and she may enjoy attacking toys with all the gusto of a seasoned predator, Once again, watch for those teeth and claws, rabbits can move surprisingly quickly, and it doesn't take much for a game to go from fun to bloody.
This is also a good time to stay away from the back end of the bunny. Head rubs are probably still going to be a winner, but stroking towards the back of her body may earn you a nip or more, as the doe may mistake you for a buck.
All this can be disheartening if you have been working on bonding with your rabbit, and often times feels like a major setback. It can be tempting to give up altogether , and just leave the rabbit entirely to her own devices, but this isn't a great idea. She may need a little more space than normal, but keep up the contact. Why? Here's why.
Her hormones will settle.
Given time, she will begin to adjust to her hormones, their levels will start to even out a little more, and you will find that her behavior becomes more even. Spaying is still a good idea for the aforementioned reasons, and will cut down on the negative behaviors discussed here, but it is important to keep in mind that spayed or unspayed, teenage behavior does not last forever.
Hang in there!