A rabbit as a cuddly pet, with whom you can cuddle and cuddle all day, that would be nice! This is how children often imagine life with the rabbit. But this is only conditionally true for rabbits, because only a few rabbits want to be cuddled all the time.
Petting the rabbit
On the contrary, most rabbits are rather shy, timid and sometimes quite headstrong. However, one or the other animal can become quite trusting with time and enjoys being stroked extensively. However, only if you follow certain “petting rules”.
Rules for petting rabbits
- Most rabbits enjoy being stroked between the nose and ears. However, always do so in the direction of the fur and never against it.
- Rabbits usually do not like to be petted on the belly and the underside of the head.
- Under no circumstances should you force cuddling sessions on a rabbit. If you have to catch the rabbit first, it would rather have its rest right now. If, on the other hand, the rabbit approaches you curiously, then you can make contact.
- While petting the rabbit, you should not hold it or harass it.
- Also, taking the rabbit in your arms is not always very popular. In fact, many rabbits much prefer to be petted on the ground, if at all.
- It can also be that the rabbits feel it as an attack on their territory if you reach into their cage and then react accordingly aggressive. As a rabbit owner, you should also be aware of this and respect it. As said before: Rabbits are clearly not real cuddly animals!
Pay attention to the rabbit’s behavior
Do not hold your rabbit when you pet it and watch it closely. Then you will quickly notice in which moments and in which places your rabbit likes to be stroked. Every rabbit is different and has different preferences.
Where do rabbits like to be petted?
Many rabbits enjoy petting on the head, especially between the nose and ears. However, rabbits also often enjoy petting on the front of the back and stroking the ears. On the belly or paws, however, very few rabbits want to be stroked.
Observe your rabbit while petting it and find out where your rabbit prefers to be stroked.
When petting, however, you should always stroke with your hand in the direction of the fur. Stroking against the direction of the fur is unpleasant for almost all rabbits.
Interpret the rabbit’s behavior during petting
Rabbits show the owner whether they enjoy the moment or would rather be left alone. Often these are small signs that you should pay attention to. In the following we will go into typical behavior patterns and explain how to interpret them.
Rabbit closes eyes during petting
When a rabbit closes its eyes during petting it feels safe and enjoys human affection. The rabbit wants to be stroked.
Rabbit puts head on the floor while being stroked
This behavior can express both complete relaxation, but also fear of danger. Here a look at the ears helps: If they are tightly set, the rabbit should be left alone; if they stick out a bit, the rabbit seems to enjoy being petted.
Rabbit nudges me
If you interrupt the petting and the rabbit nudges the human hand, this usually means: “why do you stop, please continue”.
If you start petting the rabbit and the rabbit pushes the hand aside, then it means: “leave it, I don’t feel like it right now”.
Rabbit puts on ears while being stroked
The rabbit’s ears and immobility show that the rabbit is afraid. This is also known from wild rabbits, which in case of danger press themselves to the ground in a fearful position and put on their ears. You should leave the rabbit alone.
Can you train rabbits to cuddle?
Rabbits cannot be trained to cuddle, but you can build a stable relationship of trust with the rabbit. Just like us humans, rabbits only cuddle with partners they understand and can trust.
Always pet your rabbit when your rabbit likes it. Just sit in the rabbit hutch or the free run in a corner and wait until the rabbit curiously comes to you. And then always give him the opportunity to get away from you again. You will be amazed how quickly your rabbit makes contact with you.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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