View Full Version : Help! My Bunny is a little Demon!

10-01-2008, 02:12 AM
Hi, i have a 14 month old neutered black male mini lop. My boyfriend bought him for me from a local pet shop for me and didn't ask the right questions etc. . when he was bought and consequently i don't know anything about his mother etc. . He has always been a relatively scatty and nervous bun from the outset. He lives in the house with us, occupying a large cage in the front room and has free run when we are in the house and goes in his bed when we are out. The vet mentioned that his behaviour may improve once he was neutered and so he was around 6 months ago. unfortunately nothing has improved, in fact it has only got worse. where as at one point he would let us sit on the floor with him and get the occational stroke in or jump on the sofa for one. Now, he grunts and pounces whenever anyone goes near him. Picking him up is not an option, he fights it viciously (we handle him correctly and the vet struggles at times with him) - he sometimes even screams.
I am at a complete loss as to what to do. I have read so much literature on house rabbits and after a year nothing seems to work. does anyone have any advice at all?

Thea & Bobbin
10-01-2008, 02:29 AM
Has he had a health check recently? I hear that sometimes if a bun is unwell he will not let you go near him because he may be uncomfortable.

Apart from that I suspect that the only other answer is probably that this is just his nature, independent rascal! ;)

Hopefully someone else will come along with some better suggestions but I hope you can find out what is bugging him and help him to relax.

10-01-2008, 02:40 AM
oh physically he is fine, he has the worst personality. at first we thought it was because he needed to mature but he's pretty much an adult no and it just a nightmare! i think he likes the sound of his own voice quite alot.

Thea & Bobbin
10-01-2008, 02:51 AM
Generally screaming is a sign that a bun is in severe pain :( Has he always been this vocal?

10-01-2008, 03:26 AM
What's in his cage? Is it fully open or does he have a box (or similar) to hide in? Does he have any shelves or something he can climb on.

Can he get in/out of the cage himself or do you have to lift him.

When he's out and you're not trying to interact with him what does he do?

How close do you get before he starts behaving negatively? Does he behave in the same way when you feed him. Does he behave the same when you walk near him as when you are deliberately going towards him to do something?

How does he approach other new things in his environment? Is he very cautious, ignore them until he happens to walk close or does he react the same way as he does to you?

Sorry, loads of questions, just trying to get a better picture of his behaviour :)


10-01-2008, 03:58 AM
Only other thing I can think, if the vet cannot find a physical cause for his behaviour such as an area of pain, is was his sight and hearing checked?

11-01-2008, 03:40 AM
He screamed whilst at the vets and there was nothing physically wrong with him, it was because she picked him up when he really hates to check him over.
As for his cage, he has a box to climb on and in, lots of cardboard and old books (he loves to shred things) as well as all of these littered over my floor for him to play with. Though having said that, when he is out and about he tends to ignore them.
He has always been a vocal bun since around 5 months, if i slowly approach him at his level i may get a stroke in, but 90% of the time he runs away or grunts, sometimes pouncing. I've sat on the floor and let him come to me, but he tends to react in the same way. i've tried using food as a bargaining chip but he won't be hand fed.
We don't go near his bed when he is in residence and he can get in and out on his own, when it is bedtime we use the method of vocally telling him and clapping, and he happily obliges and goes in.
As a baby he would be handled and let me stroke him, it was at about 4 months that he started to resist being picked up and at the time we put it down to adolecence. However after having him neutered and now being 14 months he has not improved and i'm at a loss with him.
As for new things in his enviroment, he is cautious but curious and will go over to check it out (be it shoes, furniture etc .. .) When i'm not trying with him, he tends to sit in his favourite place underneath the radiator or directly in front of the sofa facing me and lie down flat out and sleep or clean. His main issue seems to be me! well humans and them touching him or being in his direct space.

Raven Rexs
11-01-2008, 04:52 AM
Are you sure he is definitly a he?:)
Usally its females that grunt and box!:shock:
Id get a peek underneath to see if he has testicles to make sure if i were you, petshop could of made a very wrong mistake! As usual!!:lol:

11-01-2008, 08:22 AM
Are you sure he is definitly a he?:)
Usally its females that grunt and box!:shock:
Id get a peek underneath to see if he has testicles to make sure if i were you, petshop could of made a very wrong mistake! As usual!!:lol:

He's been castrated

MylosMum did the Vet check Mylo's eyesight ? I have a partially sighted Rabbit who will grunt and lunge if he is approached without me talking to him first so as he knows who I am

What do you feed him and do you have a set routine for his day to day care ?
Are you out a lot and therefore he is alone much of the time?
Is he a Free Range House Rabbit or does he have a cage ?

If you could give a bit more info I might be able to make a few suggestions as to how to help him

Here is a link to some info too :


Janex :D

11-01-2008, 08:42 AM
My foster bun behaves the same he's a little nethie and he lunges when you try to interact with him.
He bit me last night when i put his 'friend' down about 1ft a way. He just charged and nipped the side of my arm
He's castrated too and now about 3 years old. He's really jealous and nips his 'friend' if she gets attention.
I'll have to keep an eye on this thread as the advice seems like it will be useful to me too :lol:

11-01-2008, 11:03 AM
as he is a house bun can I suggest thet you hand feed him all pellets and veggies and let him come to you. Just sit on the floor near his cage quietly....you might have to lay a little breadcrumb trail. Onces he seems happy for this you can try to get him to jump on your lap, then try a little stroking...hopefully he will get the idea. Keep picking up to a minimum but still do it occasionally and reward with lots of food. The process will probably take months not weeks and he may never start to demand nose rubs etc but it will be worth it.

Also if your cage is roomy enough maybe an affectionate girlfriend from a rescue might help him realise what he's supposed to do.

18-01-2008, 07:50 AM
Yes, he is definitely a boy! he was castrated quite some time ago! I have tried for the last year hand feeding him but he isn't having any of it at all. He has a set routine and is feed pellets, fresh veg and hay everyday at the same time.
i have wondered if his eyesight ok on the right hand side. is very alert otherwise and doesn't have any problems getting around. he had always been like this though, his behaviour hasn't suddenly become terrrible. he had always been a naughty bun! it is just that he has got worse in the last few months.
as for the time he spends with us, he does have a very big cage which he is confined to when i'm out. he has free range for probably 12-16 hours a day (my partner and i work shifts so there is nearly always someone at home with him.)
thank you for the comments so far, it is nice to know i'm not alone!

Happy Hopping
18-01-2008, 08:38 AM
here's a few advices:

- double check his hearing and eyesight

- when you clean the cage, don't go in while he is inside, some rabbit are territorial, they don't want you to be in their territory. So you would open the cage door and let him come out, so as he is in the garden, you go in the cage, and do the cleaning.

You have to make sure his cage is like his place, and you don't get in his territory at any time.

18-01-2008, 12:30 PM
Dont know what other members think, but I was woindering if you got him a "girlfriend", a quieter, gentle natured one might help calm him down abit

18-01-2008, 01:15 PM

I have to say I have a rabbit just like him. I adopted her when she was five months old 18 months ago. After having her for two weeks she started to attack my ankles etc, screamed if you tried to pick her up, make horrid noises when I did have to pick her up etc...it was very stressful for both of us. She is a cashmere so I needed to be able to handle her everyday to groom her.

Some things I found useful.....

Keeping her caged longer (not something I advocate and she is the only caged bunny I have) I found that by keeping her in a standard indoor cage made her behavior worse, as did giving her free reign! I set up a big pen for her with all of her toys, litter trays, food in etc and enough space to have a little run around and only allowed her out of the pen for a couple of hours unless she was outside then it was longer. Her behaviour slowly improved. I insisted on handling her every day and it was not nice but she had to get used to it.

I think allowing such a bunny out for so long only allows them to continue being so antisocial. So until he learns to be handled more I would limit his free time.

It took between six and nine months before she was completely comfortable with me, and she is still a skittish bunny, that is just who she is. I can pet her occassionally if she is lying on top of her table but I no longer get the aggression from her and she will quite happily come and take food off me or follow me around if I am cleaning litter trays etc...before she would just run if I moved slightly and always spent her time hiding somewhere...or biting me :-)

It would maybe also help to get him a friend. I have known many other aggressive rabbits whose behaviour has improved once bonded. It may be that he will never be a cuddly bun because it's not in his nature but he may soften if he has another bunny for company.

18-01-2008, 03:55 PM
maybe he thinks the front room is all his territory and is angry at you for invading his space. I would get him a large cage or dog crate with a pen attached and limit his time out. He may feel more secure and happy if you are not in his territory!
I also think a nice girl bunny would be beneficial to him.

18-01-2008, 04:32 PM
I wonder if it is a little bun/huge ego thing. Before getting our mini lop my daughter produced a leaflet which read mini lops are "very laid back" and make "wonderful companions".

Not our Barney, he was extremely territorial and attacked me on sight from the age of 4 months (amusingly -not for me - my daughter was deemed his property and therefore she was accepted).

It seemed Barney felt that he could rule the world and just didn't want me in his space - we also realised he was bullying our Herbie too.

After one attack too many (it produced a hole in my side) Barney has gone to live with a friend of Kayj's as an outside free range bun and is having a wonderful time. It wasn't easy to let him go but it was the right thing to do.

I guess I am not being much help here but I wanted to say that you are not on your own having a bun that hasn't read the 'nice bunny behaviour handbook.'

It does sound like Mylo has major territory issues like Barney. Charlies advice makes a lot of sense so that may be worth trying. As for another bunny, it might calm Mylo down but it could make him even more territorial.

I hope you are able to work through Mylo's behaviour problems, he is such a bonny bun.
Vanessa xx

18-01-2008, 04:45 PM
Don't worry I have a New Zealand (Bessie) that I got off Sooz, now she is a madam she was boxing the top of my head yesterday she decided to jump in a hutch i was cleaning out and attack my head, she always lunges at me, but she loves a cuddle. I wouldn't part with her or her brother for anything. She even goes for her brother when it is feeding time so at least I don't feel to bad:lol::lol::lol:

19-01-2008, 01:30 PM
think you need to give him time to build up trust. sit or lay on the floor with him, maybe have a treat in our hand (my two go nuts for banana ) and he will be more interested in you. it takes time. don't pick him up as this will undo all the hard work you've done on the floor, moses our boy hates being stroked, he'll run up to you but the mintue you go to stroke him he runs off. he's only 8 months at the mo so that might change

Happy Hopping
19-01-2008, 02:47 PM
she always lunges at me, but she loves a cuddle.

when that happen, did she bite you during that process?