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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > My bunny won't let me hold her?
Last Post by bam at 5/03/2017 12:28 AM (11 Replies)
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User is Offline Kimchee
4 posts Send Private Message
8/18/2012 8:52 PM

I just got a female bunny two days ago and I think she might be six months or younger. She will let me pet her and will sometimes come to me and play in my lap, however, she absolutely WILL NOT let me hold her. I know rabbits really hate and feel unsafe while someone is holding them, but sometimes I want to carry her out or to her cage or sometimes, it is absolutely necessary. The girl I got her from said she handled her since birth, so I thought she would be used to being held. She is not spayed, but I did not think that was the problem because she still lets me pet her. Could that be the problem? When I try to hold her, she just runs away. I need her to get used to being handled and I need help! The first time I lifted her up, she was shaking like crazy and when I got close to the ground, she just kicked out of my hands. I don't want her to break her back and I support her legs with my other hand. How do I get her to calm down while I hold her too? Any information would help and thanks in advanced! 

User is Offline Freyja
159 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 1:51 AM
Some bunnies will just always hate being held. Up until about 4 months my bun didnt mind being held but as soon as he hit bunny puberty he wouldnt have a bar of it. desexing didnt make any difference, it's that instinctive prey drive that means that they associate being off the ground or held tightly as a fearful reaction. If i ever try to pick up my bun i will get a huge stomp, bunny attitude and will be in the bad books for the next hour! lots of buns will never get used to it, you cans still interact with your bun by patting them on the floor or couch, or letting them come to you my bun is perfectly content to come sit on my lap for half an hour, so long as it is on his terms and he can jump on or off when he feels like (a treat is a great way to encourage them to come over for pats) When i absolutely have to pick Parsley up i usually just herd him into his carrier with a treat and carry him that way as its just to stressful on both of us to pick him up as he constantly struggles to escape. Do you need to pick her up often? I can usually only get away with it for vet visits, for cage cleaning and other things you could put her in an xpen instead? much less stressful on bun

User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 2:31 AM
My first one loved to be held on her back like a baby. She would purr and sleep in my arms all the time. Mine now HATES it However, it is necessary sometimes, to take him to run in the backyard, to the vet, etc. I have learned the safest way to pick him up, saving both my buns and myself, is to hold him with his back firmly against my chest (head North, butt South). My left hand is supporting his butt and my right hand is under his front paws. I can't go far, but he can't hurt himself in the few moments that I'm holding him like that. Be slow and hold firmly as you put him down too, so that he doesn't hurt himself.

Also, my buns who loved to be held-- she didn't like to be held by anyone. Anyone who was a little scared and tried to hold her, she would freak. She could sense they were scared, so she was scared too. Yours likely doesn't like to be held at all, but you do have to pick him up with the utmost confidence when you absolutely must.

User is Offline Emmie
462 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 11:55 AM
I'm very lucky to have a bun who is very tolerable of being held. Bunnies hate it and I try not to do it very offen. I understand I am very much in the minority with this too.

My fiance's bun is worse than yours! She does not like to be touched let alone picked up!

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
16627 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 1:03 PM

None of my rabbits enjoy being held. Olivia is the worst. She freaks out and sometimes honks at me or digs at my chest with her nails. I only pick her up when necessary such as to groom her.

It's going to take a lot longer than 2 days to earn her trust. I've had Olivia 3 years and it took a long time to gain her trust to the point we are today where I can snuggle her (on the ground).

Here's a link you may find informative:

(you'll have to copy and paste, I can't get the link to work, sorry )

Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
11073 posts Send Private Message
8/20/2012 11:16 AM
Sometimes bunnies prefer one position over another. The one against the chest support their back surprised me recently as being tolerated by Sammy while trimming her nails. My vet held her that way.

Another way is facing your chest, hand supporting bottom and back legs with other arm firmly holding her against your chest.

Another one is to put her face into the crook of your elbow and let her sit lengthwise along that whole arm, while holding that arm close to your body and the other hand supporting her on the outside - like a football.

Some will be comfortable riding on your shoulder so they can see over your back, while you support them under the butt, like they are sitting on your hand.

Basically, it's getting that back end supported. But they won't sit still for you - this is more for carrying them from here to there. If your new bun sits and plays in your lap, that's actually very good. Let her do that, and just pet her as she plays with you. Don't try to confine her there.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline britt and yeti
Edmonton, AB
207 posts Send Private Message
8/20/2012 11:39 AM

Yeti cant stand being picked up. though he has never honked or tried to dig at me he's a kicker.

i'm a small woman and i cant support his fat butt properly with just one arm.. i worry about his legs getting hurt so when i pick him up i lay a blanket on the ground and lead him on with a treat or a few pellets (he goes bonkers for pellets) once hes on the blanket i quickly grab the ends and get his bum wrapped for extra support while im handling him. 

he seems a lot less afraid when there is full support under his body... its like just the floor underneath him is raising up and hes none the wiser.


User is Offline ScooterandAnnette
Winnipeg, Canada
1096 posts Send Private Message
8/21/2012 6:08 AM
When our Tegan was a babybun, she liked to sit on Annette's lap. Which made her very happy, as none of the others (then and now) like that at all, and Annette had always wanted a lap bunny. This happy state of affairs went on for two weeks. And then Tegan grew up and developed a lot of rabbittude. Now she'll kick up a storm and give you the stinkeye for hours if she's picked up.

Well, it was good while it lasted.
Pet Parents to: Tegan,Kiera, and Galen (bunnies); Ringo and Owen (cats); Dakota (dog). We miss our Rainbow Bunnies: Keiran, Kylie, Keelie, Reno, Carbun, Kaylee, Aeryn, and our boy Bailey.

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
7322 posts Send Private Message
8/21/2012 10:04 AM
If you really need to move her from place to place, can you convince her to climb into a box or carrier? My girl will absolutely not tolerate being picked up, but will happily run into the carrier and I can use that to move her around. For the most part, setting up a bunny's environment so they can get from place to place without being picked up will be the best option.

Trying different holding positions can help as well. Some people have more success holding buns like a football with their face and eyes in the crook of your elbow. Here's a good picture of the football hold: http://

- Elrohwen

User is Offline Skipper's Mama
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/22/2012 1:53 PM
It might take time for the bun to just get used to you. My bun as a baby used to love to be held as a baby or draped over my shoulder. But I went away for about a week and half which really upset her. So for about a month or two after I returned she wouldn't let me hold her. Now she'll let me pick her up whenever I want. I did notice though that she likes being picked up a lot more by than my boyfriend. Our theory is that me being a chick, my boobs give her a good shelf to put her feet up on. While when she is being held by my boyfriend she has her feet slipping and can't feel sturdy.

Just give it time and try to get to know your bun more. =]

User is Offline bailee
2 posts Send Private Message
5/02/2017 10:43 PM

I took your advice with luring my bunny into his career to "pick him up". I have no idea why I didn't think of this but now i can bring him onto my bed and couch and cuddle him. 

User is Offline bam
Forum Leader
11701 posts Send Private Message
5/03/2017 12:28 AM
bailee, I'm glad you found this thread useful =)

It is an old thread though, so I'm locking it. We ask members not to respond to old threads. You can start a new thread on the same subject if you want to.
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > My bunny won't let me hold her?

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