Stress in rabbits
Rabbits are, unsurprisingly, the most popular pets in the UK after dogs and cats. However, new research shows that many of them are suffering from stress. As much as we love our pet bunnies, most of us are unable to recognize stress in rabbits and to deal with it accordingly.
How can I tell if my rabbit is stressed?
A happy, relaxed rabbit will act very much as it would do in the wild. Running, jumping, and attempting to burrow are all normal behavior patterns in rabbits, particularly at dawn and dusk when they are the most active. They will also mark their territory regularly with urine and droppings. Signs that your rabbit isn’t a happy bunny are:
- Staying hunched for long periods.
- Lack of energy at dawn and dusk
- Gnawing at the bars of its cage
- Aggressiveness towards other rabbits or people.
What To Do About It
There are several reasons why your rabbit might be showing signs of stress, however the main reasons are usually related to their living space and lack of company. You can ease his stress by:
- Adapting his living space. Rabbits need at least 3 metres length and sufficient head room to jump and stand up. If your rabbit is in an enclosed space, move him into a run set up to mimic his natural environment. Tunnels and places to hide are a welcome addition.
- Consider adding to the family. Rabbits are naturally sociable and need company to thrive. However they can also be notoriously picky, so make sure you get him used to his new friend gradually.
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