Rabbits are cute, soft, and fluffy creatures, and humans tend to treat them like a baby because they are simply adorable and small. Thinking to baby the little bunny seems charming, but it can be dangerous, mainly when you hold it the same way as a human child.
Treating your rabbit like a human baby is fine but holding it like the one is not safe. It is highly irresponsible on your part if you put your bunny on its back. It is because putting it in such a position can send it into a trance state. It is a natural defense mechanism of the rabbit against predators, but deliberately putting it in such a state is not safe at all. So, the baby-carry is not safe for the rabbits. But there are several other ways to carry it. Let’s discuss.
- Why Is It Dangerous?
- Overcoming The Dangers
- Holding Your Rabbit Safely
- Things To Avoid
- Different Ways To Carry Rabbit
Why Is It Dangerous?
There are two reasons why it is dangerous to carry the rabbit on its back:
They have a delicate spine that is susceptible to breakage.
A rabbit is a prey animal, and to protect itself from predators, it has highly active instincts. These instincts even make a rabbit a creature that gets frightened and nervous very quickly. The nervousness can make it stress more, resulting in a panic attack that can be highly dangerous. The anxiety, stress, and fear together make the rabbit thrash. However, a rabbit has got incredibly strong muscles, but its skeleton is not that tough. The thrashing can result in skeletal damage, and it mainly affects its back.
Putting rabbits on their back can send them in the state of “rabbit trance.”
The rabbit trance is a state of “tonic immobility.” It is a trait that is naturally present in several prey animals. In simple words, you can understand it as “playing dead.” This trait works as a protection mechanism in rabbits to keep them safe from predators.
When entered in this state, it would seem that the rabbit is relaxed, but that’s not the case at all. Instead, the little bunny would be in a state of extreme mental stress. Additionally, it is not a state which a rabbit can voluntarily trigger, and it is better that you shouldn’t put it in that state either.
Overcoming The Dangers
We all like to hold our rabbits and pet them. The best way to help your rabbit adjust to being held is by being gentle with them. Patience is the key to make your rabbit feel comfortable with your holding and petting. You need to understand that every rabbit is not the same. Each one has its different preferences. So, spend some time with your rabbit and understand what it likes and what it can handle.
Rabbits are of different sizes, and each one needs to be held differently as per their comfort. But, one thing is common, whenever you hold it, every rabbit needs support on its legs as well as back.
Holding Your Rabbit Safely
The main thing to keep in mind while holding rabbits is to give support to their back and make them feel comfortable and safe:
If you do not support the rabbit’s spine or support it incorrectly, then the rabbit can severely damage and hurt its spine in a state of panic.
The spine should be in a curved position
In case of a panic attack, while you are holding the rabbit, don’t allow the rabbit to buck backward. As its spine is delicate, there is a high possibility that if it put much pressure while jerking backward, its back can break. So, try to keep its spine curved.
Give proper support to the upper as well as lower body
If you gently press the rabbit’s body to your body while holding it, then you’ll be able to provide proper support, and the rabbit will feel comfortable too.
Protect their eyes using the crook of your arm
Rabbits are most likely to panic when they see something unusual or any abrupt movement. Darkness will help them to keep calm.
Use your body to support them
Rabbits are highly active, and whenever you take them out of their cage, it is most likely that they will dart out. So, it is better to use your body to your advantage and stand in front of the cage to stop them from running away. Similarly, use your body to guide them back inside the cage.
As a new owner, you may take some time to be familiar with the right way to hold the rabbit. So, start practicing it while sitting on the floor as there will be a low center of gravity. It will help to keep you both much stable. In addition to this, if you are in a sitting position, your rabbit will not fall from far above trying to escape. You can even set it down quickly and safely if it starts to panic.
Another piece of advice is to pet them before your hold them. It will make them feel acclimate to your touch and calm them down.
Things To Avoid
While handling the rabbit, you need to be extremely cautious as it is a delicate creature that can get nervous quickly.
So, do not grab them by their:
If held and grabbed inappropriately, rabbit’s ears can get damaged as they are highly sensitive and delicate.
If you are holding a cat grabbing its stomach, you will see how a cat’s body melts around your arm to be comfortable. Well, if you think that it is the same with the rabbits too, then you are wrong. It will be an inappropriate way to hold a rabbit as it will exert pressure on its back, putting it in danger.
Grabbing the tail will frighten your rabbit, and it will again try to buck back in order to retaliate. Yanking back will put extreme pressure on the rabbit’s sensitive spine, causing it to break.
If you are thinking of holding a rabbit from its legs, then it is the worst idea. In such a situation, the legs can break or dislocate. And remember, it is a tedious task to treat a rabbit’s leg, even much more complex and complicated than exercising care while holding the rabbit.
Holding the rabbit directly from the scruff of the neck is really unwise. You can use the scruff region only to stabilize the rabbit while holding it in your hand.
Inappropriately holding or grabbing your rabbit from any of these areas can cause extreme damage and scare it.
So, whenever you see your children playing with the rabbit, make sure that they handle it with care and cause no harm to it.
Different Ways To Carry Rabbit
There are several ways in which you can carry a rabbit. Each style is a bit different from the other. But, all of these primarily aim toward providing good support and comfort to the rabbit.
While holding the rabbit, always keep your body close to it, providing proper support and better stability.
One way of holding it is by giving support to the back legs with one arm and the front ones with the other. This will help you to stabilize it nicely. In this position, the hand that keeps the rabbit’s body close to yours is in an ideal place to freely pet the rabbit and feed it.
You can even let the feet rest on your abdomen if you are in need of your other hand. In such a situation, the rabbit can swivel its upper body a bit to show curiosity. You can even let its feet dangle.
You may feel unsure regarding dangling, but believe me, it is fine and is a sign of relaxation. It is pretty easy to handle small rabbits as you can conveniently tuck their feet. But, in the case of big ones, dangling will not be an issue as the rest of the body will be fully supported.
When you are setting your rabbit back down, it will be good to place their feet on flat ground. You can even make the use of a towel or rug to offer them better grip resulting in more security.
The back of the rabbit is susceptible to damage; hence you need to stabilize its back to keep it safe. But, along with this, stabilizing the feet is also essential as this will make it feel more comfortable.