By Lisa Carroll, Shelter Coordinator - Georgia Avenue Adoption Center
All rabbits are prey animals, and it is against their nature to allow themselves to be picked up and held. Rabbits have delicate bodies and powerful legs. They can injure or break their own spine, legs, and necks trying to escape. The person holding them can also be bitten or scratched if they are not handling the rabbit correctly. In some extreme cases, rabbits have been known to have a heart attack if frightened badly enough.
Never pick a rabbit up by the ears or the scruff. It is painful and unnecessary. After stroking the rabbit’s head, slide one hand under their chest, behind the arms, and another hand under their rump. Then lift them slowly, carefully turning them to face you and hold them to your chest, or sit them down on your lap.
The best way to interact with a rabbit is in a quiet space with no predators present, and that includes cats and dogs. Rabbits can be territorial, so taking the top off of their cage or opening the door and enticing them with something tasty to come out is the easiest and safest way to get them out of their cage.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Approaching and petting a rabbit slowly and calmly is always best. Petting the rabbit on the head, from above, along the ears is a good start for children, because rabbits require sensitive handling. They have good long distance eye sight but poor short distance sight, and sticking a hand directly in front of a rabbit’s face could be viewed as offensive, inciting fear or aggression.
Reducing Rabbit Stress
Both young and adult rabbits can be socialized to be less stressed while being handled, and spaying or neutering them will greatly decrease aggression.
If you have any questions or concerns about adopting bunnies, please call 202-723-5730.
Some-Bunny is Waiting For You!
For one week only (March 25-31, 2013), WHS is offering 50% off ALL adoption fees for ALL animals.
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