Where to Touch a Bunny

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A cute and cuddly bunny might seem like the perfect pet, but most rabbits aren't as interested in cuddling as you are. They often kick powerfully to try to get away when you pick them up, which can cause back and leg problems in your bunny. Instead of insisting your bunny let you carry her around, try cuddling on her terms and touching her in a way that makes her trust you.

Picking Up

There are many times you must pick up your bunny, such as putting him in a carrier to take him to the vet or removing him from his cage so you can clean it. Your bunny is unlikely to enjoy being picked up, so keep it to a minimum to reduce stress. Put one hand under her chest and one under her rear end to lift her, then put her quickly on your chest so she can rest her back legs and feel more secure. Don't squeeze her when you pick her up, but use a firm enough grip that she can't squirm away and fall to the floor.

Getting Used to You

When you and your bunny are just getting to know each other, it's best to lie on the floor to cuddle with your bunny in her comfort zone rather than expecting her to be comfortable in your arms several feet off the floor. Let her hop all around you before you try to touch her. When she seems comfortable with you, gently scratch her forehead and around the base of her ears.

Petting

Once you and your bunny have developed a bond and she trusts you to touch her, pet her in a similar way to a cat. Always follow the direction of the hair, which normally means starting at the back of her head and rubbing down her back. Use long, slow, soothing strokes when you pet your bunny. She might not let you pet her while you're holding her, but she's likely to cuddle next to you on the floor and enjoy some petting attention.

What Not to Do

Never pick your bunny up by her ears. This is very painful for rabbits and can cause permanent damage to their ears. Also, don't grab your bunny by her front and back legs to pull her out of a hiding place. She might try to pull away or kick, which can hurt her when you don't let go. Instead, get down on the floor or in a position that allows you to reach into her hiding spot with your hand and wrap it around her ribcage gently to move her out.

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