Everyone Needs to Know How to Correctly Pick Up a Rabbit

Posted by Christy Caplan

Do you know how to properly pick up a pet rabbit?

Let's start with what not to do when picking up a rabbit! There are many reasons to be extra careful with holding bunnies but the main one is that they have very fragile spines.

Some important advice from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (and they have a lot of rabbits that need rescuing if you're interested):

"Never pick up a rabbit by his ears, scruff or feet, or in any other way that doesn't support the rabbit's back."

Top Tips to Ensure You're Handling Rabbits Properly

Being gentle and talking quietly is the first tip. Here are steps you should follow and remember, they are used to being prey animals. So no fast movements!

The RSPCA Companion Animals Department provides new pet rabbit owners with a safety sheet and some of the important handling tips include these five tips:

  1. Hold rabbits gently but firmly, and always have one hand supporting the rabbit's front legs, and hind legs at all time. Hold all four feet against your body. Think of it as a football hold.
  2. As previously mentioned, it would be extremely stressful to pick up a pet rabbit by their ears and injury is highly likely.
  3. Use minimal restraint. The rabbit will give you pretty clear signs if they are uncomfortable.
  4. Even if your child is the "owner" of the pet rabbit, only adults should be able to pick up rabbits. Use your best judgement but this is really important. 
  5. Placing a towel down and holding them with it can help make rabbits feel more secure.

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What About When Your Pet Rabbit Arrives Home?

A new rabbit owner should make sure the first few interactions are positive. Consider a top-opening carrier as that will make the rabbit more comfortable when they are in the car!

Spending time with your new rabbit is very important for your relationship. They thrive on human contact, like all pets. They'll also need an exercise pen and bunny ball. House rabbits can also be trained to use a litter box and can roam freely in the home, outside of a cage, if certain steps are taken! Read about how to bunny-proof your house here.

Pet rabbit care includes keeping the environment as quiet as possible. No loud noises will help him/her adjust and safe chew toys will have a calming effect. 

And there are a large variety of sizes and coat types! You can find out more about rabbit breeds and other resources by reading some of our rabbit articles.

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Do you agree with these above tips? Do you live with a rabbit? Show us in the comments below!

WATCH NOW: Flemish Giant Rabbits Are Really Big Bunnies

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Everyone Needs to Know How to Correctly Pick Up a Rabbit