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Bunny Care Guide: House Rabbits - How To Deal With A Territorial/Aggressive Bunny

Updated on December 27, 2007

It may seem at times that I write a great deal about the negative aspects of bunnies, however that is mostly due to the fact that little help is needed when things are going right. I don't need to tell you how to enjoy watching your rabbit frolic playfully about the place, or feel a surge of happiness when a little furry nose nuzzles yours. However you might need help when problems arise, therefore, you'll hear a lot about the darker size of the fuzziness here. That doesn't mean they're all bad however, and it shouldn't dissuade you from getting a pet bunny if you feel you can offer it a good and loving forever home.

Another aspect of my bunny keeping philosophy you'll have noticed if you've read a few of these is that rabbits are best kept indoors. There are multiple advantages to doing so, and you can read all about them HERE. However there are some issues that may need to be addressed, and one of them is territorial behavior. This can be especially bad if your bunny hasn't been altered, so if you start to have a problem with having a bunny torpedo assail your feet every time it sees you, having your rabbit spayed or neutered is a good first step to solving the problem.

The rest of it is often down to temperament. You see, bunnies are very territorial animals, and if you have a particularly dominant rabbit, it may come to regard the floor as it's own personal territory, and you as an upstart invader who has dared to wander across it. Obviously this is unacceptable behavior, and for most people the natural reaction is to give the bunny in question a swift kick or toss it outside, or both. As tempting as these options are, neither one is a good idea. You could easily harm your rabbit if you use force with it, and putting it outside for the rest of it's life deprives not just the rabbit, but you of the company for which you got a pet in the first place.

A good middle ground is confining the rabbit to its cage for a while. Every time it shows any aggression whatsoever, put it back in its cage. Show the rabbit that the floor is yours to walk on, and that it does not have exclusive domain over it. Allow your bunny to be king of his or her little cage, but make it very clear that you have the run of the house.

One way to show a bunny dominance is to gently but firmly hold it down with the flat of your hand over it's shoulders, neck, and head. You may have seen rabbits lying over one another, lying over another rabbit is a bunny's way of demonstrating it's dominance, and is a trick you might be able to use to your own advantage.

Other behavioral tricks include turning your back on your rabbit. Turning one's back in the bunny world says that the other being, bunny, human, or otherwise, is completely below contempt, not even worth keeping an eye on.

Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning, fixing your rabbit will probably make for the biggest change in his or her behavior, especially if the problem behavior started around the 6 month mark, which is when rabbits reach their sexual maturity, and does especially start to get quite grumpy as they come into season all the time.


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      caroline 7 years ago

      hi! first, sorry! i tried to put this in the question part but it didn't work. second, im almost twelve so my parents are letting me get a bunny! i already did my homework on the subject and know what kind of bunny i want (yeah as you can tell im eager! if your wondering the type, which chances are your not, its a mini rex!) anyway we have time before we get the bunny but i still have a question. i don't know what gender i want the bunny to be. at first i thought i should get a boy because i wouldn't have to worry about the bunny being pregnant and me having a load of hyperactive baby bunnies on my hands. then i read that the bunny would have to be spayed or neutered if its a boy and my dog had some small pains with that so im not sure if i want to put a bunny through the possible pain. i still want a bunny but figuring out what gender its going to be will kill me before i even get it! what gender bunny would you recommend a twelve year old girl get? please! HELP ME!!!

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      Heather Bradley 7 years ago

      my email address is Please send the answers there.

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      Heather Bradley 7 years ago

      I tried putting this in the ask a question part and it didn't work. PLEASE HELP!!

      I'm having trouble with my two 8 month old mini rex's Johnny and othello. Both are nuetered and both have been for a while. They are brothers, and came home at the same time, have always lived in the same cage and have always gotten along. Even when needing to be nuetered. Just recently Johnny has decided to be aggressive towards othello. He chases him and lunges at him, so much that othello can't even relax. I really don't understand where this behavior is coming from, and I'm just not sure what to do. We have them separated for now. Do I need to keep them separated? Can they ever be around each other again?

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      Fred 7 years ago

      Amazing website, thank you so much, I'm learning loads about my new bunnies.

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      Enzo Bun 10 years ago

      Great post on house training rabbits. They are so amazingly smart!!!!

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      sscooby28 10 years ago

      This is a charming, wonderful and fun article! I love bunnies and have never come across anything this great about bunnies.Keep on contributing your bunny tales!!!!