Chasing and fighting rabbits are always a sign of alarm and should definitely prompt you as an owner to thoroughly investigate the cause.
In this article, we will reveal 6 common causes and also show you what you can do about them.
Why do rabbits chase each other and how can I prevent it?
Numerous causes can be responsible for this. These include, for example, a lack of socialization, stress, insufficient exercise, diseases or puberty.
A cage that is too small can also be a trigger. You can find out how to counteract this here.
6 reasons for chasing rabbits
If your rabbits are chasing each other, or if there is only one rabbit on the run at a time, these are some of the reasons:
So that you can recognize these factors correctly, prevent them or solve problems that have already arisen from them, you will get the appropriate instructions and tips from us.
1: Lack of exercise
Rabbits in the wild are busy with a variety of tasks during their active phases.
They forage for food and water, have to pay attention to their surroundings and warn each other of enemies, communicate with conspecifics in other ways, and regularly raise offspring.
As pets, they do not have these tasks.
Their nutrition is ensured, through castration their hormones are better regulated, so there are no fights and no offspring. They also do not have to protect or flee from potential enemies.
Although these are advantages that you offer to your rabbit, there is a significant disadvantage:
It can get bored.
Boredom can turn into aggression. Therefore, offer your animals appropriate activities.
Tip: Keep your rabbit occupied
Your rabbits will benefit if they are able to work out their food at least occasionally and have other activities.
Well suited for this are
daily free running
joint activities such as practicing tricks
Branches and twigs
Already, spending time together with your animals and luring them to you again and again keeps them busy.
Even mating at a food tree or food balls are easy to purchase and use. However, they allow rabbits to be active.
Nibbling on twigs and branches is also useful. This is because it takes care of the teeth and keeps the animals busy. This can be done outside of free-range or shared activity.
Rabbits are often sensitive to illness and pain.
They may fight back and thus chase others away if they get too close, harass them, or hurt them.
However, there are also diseases, such as tumors in the brain or too high hormone levels due to illness, which trigger aggressive and unpredictable behavior.
So if no other reason can be found for the chasing between the rabbits, you should consult a veterinarian.
This is true even if it is a sudden change in behavior.
3: Lack of space
A very common reason for aggressive behavior and chasing each other in rabbits is that they do not have enough space.
Common cages in the trade are very small and therefore often do not provide enough space even for one rabbit. Since a species-appropriate attitude should include at least two to three rabbits, they can therefore not move appropriately and evade.
If a conflict arises, there is therefore no possibility of escape.
Nevertheless, the animals will try to save themselves and run away from the other. Therefore, even in the confined space, a chase may occur.
In addition, the rabbits are unbalanced and therefore more aggressive.
Therefore, when choosing a rabbit home, make sure that there is plenty of space.
If there is little floor space available, you can purchase a variant with several levels that are connected by stairs. In this way, there is more space for the animals. In addition, offer them plenty of free run every day, where they can get out and about.
When rabbits enter puberty, they become sexually mature.
The onset of reproductive ability also increases their aggression. They may dominate each other, fight, and chase each other.
The only solution to this is castration.
This also has other advantages. Among them is the prevention of various diseases.
However, you must first expect that the behavior will change significantly. Even animals that used to get along very well can develop sudden conflicts.
Stress caused by external factors can occur quickly in rabbits. Among the triggering factors are:
other pets like dogs and cats
bustle or children playing near the cage
Therefore, make sure that you choose a quiet location for the cage and avoid stress for your animals. Because this can not only strongly influence the behavior, but also produce diseases and promote them.
5: Inadequate socialization.
If rabbits chase each other, this can also be due to insufficient socialization.
If the two animals do not know each other sufficiently, they will first want to clarify the order of precedence. In the case of un-neutered animals, considerable fighting can occur during this process.
Also, if you put your rabbits together immediately or too quickly in a confined space, they may chase and injure each other.
Therefore, make sure to get them used to each other slowly and gradually, and intervene if necessary. In this way, it becomes possible for the rabbits to share their territory with each other.
6: Lack of resources
Food, water and your attention are so-called resources.
This means that they are important and rabbits can fight over them. For this reason, you should make sure that your animals always have adequate amounts of food and water.
Sleeping houses and toys are also best duplicated so that animals don’t have to fight over them or chase each other away. Also, make sure time and attention is as evenly distributed as possible.
If you notice that a rabbit seems particularly clingy and defends against others, you should consult a veterinarian. This behavior may be due to high testosterone levels, which can be controlled by medication.
However, it is not only the behavior that is questionable.
The hormonal excess is also a health risk factor that should not be underestimated.
Frequently asked questions
When is “chasing” normal in rabbits?
When rabbits get to know each other, chasing each other can be quite harmless and normal.
They are trying to establish their order of precedence and stake out each other’s boundaries.
Give them as much space as possible, give them a chance to escape and watch them closely. This way you can intervene in time in case of fast and aggressive chasing.
How can I recognize serious chasing?
Rabbits also chase each other when they are playing. Therefore, it can be difficult to distinguish dangerous chasing from playing at first.
Pay close attention to your animals’ body language.
Does the chased rabbit seem scared, duck down, panic and try to hide?
Then it is no longer playing!
If, on the other hand, the animals take turns, react immediately when you speak to them and have a relaxed body language, then they are happy and boisterous.
There is no danger here.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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