What causes aggressive behavior in rabbits

It is very difficult for some owners to realize that their cute, cuddly bunny can become aggressive. Rabbits are not born aggressive so there is a reason for their aggressiveness. Trying to figure out just what the problem is can take a little time but it can be corrected. Each rabbit can have one reason to become aggressive or may be combined with a couple of reasons. Here are a few suggestions on the causes of aggressive behavior in rabbits.

Spayed or neutered

If a rabbit has not been spayed or neutered it may have a big influence on the aggression that may be showing. If a male has not been neutered and if it is the time of the year when they find themselves in mating season, it is enough to make a male rabbit a problem. You may find that your rabbit is nipping at your feet or anything else he can get close to.

If a female is not spayed she will go through her heat cycle with an attitude and assume the role of defending her nest. Perhaps both of these are the easiest types of aggression to correct and all it takes is a trip to your veterinarian to have them spayed or neutered. Once the hormone levels are removed the aggression should disappear.

Fear aggression

Fear aggression may appear in a rabbit that has been abused or has been frightened severely by some noise or happening during their lifetime. This is a little more difficult to deal with but changing this attitude is certainly doable.

The most important thing you can do to help this type of aggression is to make him feel as safe as possible. Make sure his environment does not give him a feeling of being unsafe. Take a look around the room where your rabbit’s cage sits. Make sure the surrounding environment is quiet and peaceful to put your rabbit at ease.

Never lash out at your bunny by hitting or tapping him if he happens to bite or nip at you. This will only reinforce the feeling of fear in your rabbit.


Just like humans rabbits enjoy privacy and sometimes do not want to be held or played with. When you approach your rabbit make sure he is receptive to your advances and that he is ready to play. If he lashes out in anger you know he wants to be left alone; this is the time for you to respect that wish. If you want to play keep the door to his cage open and let him approach you on his own terms. This will ease the tension and also let him know that you are in tune with what is best for him.

If your bunny is aggressive don’t give up on him and give him time to get to know that his perceived fears are unfounded. Love can move mountains and even though it may call for patience and lots of love, your rabbit can be turned around from aggressiveness to the cuddly, loving rabbit you wanted as your friend. Look for the underneath causes of aggression in rabbits and with consistency you can change him into the rabbit you want.