BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Why is my bunny so scared of me petting and holding him?
Last Post by LittlePuffyTail at 10/14/2012 4:26 AM (8 Replies)
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User is Offline JackJackTheLop
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10/09/2012 7:03 PM
I just got a 10 week old English lop 2 days ago. He is fine with roaming around and coming up to me but when i slowly try to pet him he ducks and hops away. He even does binkies around me but when i try to pick him up he freaks out too. I was just wondering is it just because he's a baby and still needs time? Do bunnies get less timid with age? Thanks a lot!

User is Offline Memarie
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10/09/2012 7:21 PM
I'm sure someone will chime in who knows more than me on this subject, but not all bunnies like to be picked up and held. In fact, as far as I know most don't. Being picked up usually signals they're about to be eaten, so they react accordingly. But it could just be because your bun is new. It took my current bunny a few days to work up the courage to approach me, and a few days more to allow herself to be pet. It's been about 3 weeks but now she crawls all over me (on her terms, though lol). I'm still working on picking her up. So far she only seems to tolerate it in very short doses. Just be patient and have treats ready =)

User is Offline peppypoo
Forum Leader
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10/09/2012 8:47 PM

Memarie is absolutely fact, most bunnies do not seem to like being held. Babies are usually a little more tolerable of being picked up, but no such luck with adults. Think about it this way - bunnies in the wild are prey animals...when some other animal picks them up it usually means they're going to be dinner!

Some bunnies get less timid with age, but this also depends on each bunny's individual personalities. It sounds like you're doing a great job letting him roam and come up to you - keep it up! Let him become comfortable with you on his own terms...spend some time sitting on the floor using a laptop or reading (or whatever!) and just let him get used to you without forcing interacting on him. You can try feeding him some treats out of your hand and eventually reaching out to pet him while doing so. It takes time! My Peppy is an affectionate snuggle bug, but Remi is a skittish little thing. After two years though, he's calmed down a lot and enjoys being pet occasionally, though he'll never snuggle like Peppy does.

Tammo (RIP), Milo (RIP), Peppy, Remi

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
16043 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 6:45 AM
You have two of the same threads going, this one and one in the Bonding section. Please don't cross-post the same topic. I will delete the bonding thread since this topic belongs in the Behavior section.

There was one response in the other thread, so I will copy/paste that here:

LoveChacha said:
Rabbits are prey animals and prefer having their limbs on the ground. They feel safest on the ground. The only time I pick up my bunny is when it's time for nail trims and fur grooming!

Some bunnies don't like when you approach them for petting, while others will let you know when they want to be petted! Just lay on the floor and bunny will be curious about you! Just take it slow
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Skipper's Mama
1252 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 1:43 PM
Also, the timidity will wear off as you social the bun and bond with him. Keeping the bun in an area of high traffic will help with socializing and getting him used to people. I would play the "ignore" game as one of the members on here puts it. Sit on the ground with your bun and let him do what he wants and he'll eventually come to you. I wouldn't expect your bun to be too into want pets right now. (Granted it does depend on the bun.) But when my little girl was a baby she was more into running and playing then really wanting to sit and cuddle with me. She did like to run up and nose bonk me a lot and also use me as a jungle gym.

User is Offline LBJ10
Bunny Name Master
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10/10/2012 7:39 PM
Most buns dislike being held. Mine do okay while being held, but that is only because I bribe them with treats. That doesn't mean they like it though. It is less traumatic though (at least I think so) if you do try to get them used to being picked up for maintenance. I would wait until you have earned his trust a little more so you don't undo anything you have built so far. Like the others suggested, try ignoring him and letting him come to you. My buns will come up to me, nudge me, and climb on me. They will allow me to pet them if they feel like it. Leopold is more likely to hop away though if I approach him and try to pet him. Wooly will usually just sit. Leopold does, however, occasionally demand that I pet him. Usually if he sees me petting Wooly, then he will shove his head under my hand. Have you tried offering your bun a treat to help him warm up to you? It doesn't have to be anything major, especially since he is young. Pellets work though. Just sit quietly and when he approaches you, offer him one.

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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10/11/2012 8:48 AM
The majority of bunnies do really hate to be picked up. One of mine looooves snuggles and pets, but only when she's on the ground - she's almost impossible to pick up, so if I need to move her I get her into her carrier and do it that way.

My other boy doesn't like pets, but by offering him lots of treats while petting him he now lets me give him a little pat. He'll never be a snuggler, but he doesn't immediately shy away from my hands anymore when I try to pet him.

Basically, all bunnies are different! Some will bond with you quickly, but others will take months and months (it took 8 months to get my boy to let me pet him at all, and at almost 4 years old our bond gets stronger every day). Just be patient and let him come to you and show you what he's comfortable with. Whether he becomes a snuggler or not, he'll absolutely get more comfortable with you over time.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline NikitaSue20
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
132 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 4:38 PM
Yea Some bunnies just aren't very social. I know My buns were not treated very well in their first home and both of them will not ever let me touch them without running away and looking like their eyes are gonna pop out of their head. I've just been very patient with them and Thumper is making alot of progress. He even comes up to the side of the cage when i call out his name but I have a feeling Oreo will never be very social. But you never know. Some bunnies may drastically change as they get older or maybe after you get them fixed. Just keep trying and patience patience patience. =D Their very worth it!!!

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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10/14/2012 4:26 AM
I agree: Patience. My bun, Olivia, who came from a bad situation into my home 4 years ago is terrified of being handled. At first, I could barely pet her. After about a year, I could pet her nose and give her kisses. She gradually allowed me more petting liberties and now she will let me lay down and cuddle with her. It can take some bunnies a long time to learn to trust their human. Most bunnies will never be fond of being handled. I can snuggle my bunnies only if they are on the ground. They won't ever sit in my lap or let me pick them up to cuddle them.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Why is my bunny so scared of me petting and holding him?