How to hold a rabbit safely

Rabbits often don’t enjoy being picked up and handled unless they’ve got used to it from a very young age. Rabbits who aren’t used to being handled can bite, scratch or even kick their owners. However, rabbits who’ve been handled from a young age can make very good pets.

Rabbits will often enjoy being petted on floor level rather than picked up to be cuddled. If you or your children would like a small pet who really enjoys being picked up and cuddled, consider getting rats or ferrets who love spending time with people.

Nervous by nature

In the wild, rabbits are hunted by other animals. This means they’re naturally cautious and like to feel secure in a safe hiding place. They might be nervous and scared when you pick them up. They might even run away when they see you coming – don’t take it personally, it’s in their nature!

How to pick up your rabbits

If you want your rabbit to be friendly and calm when they’re picked up, it’s important to know how to pick them up confidentially and correctly.

Adults and older children should pick up a rabbit by:

  • Placing one hand under your rabbit’s chest.
  • Placing your other hand under your rabbit’s hind legs.
  • Lifting your rabbit and holding them against your body to keep them nice and secure.

Young children and rabbits

Make sure any youngsters in your family know how to handle your bunnies properly and are always supervised. Younger children should interact with rabbits while they’re sitting down, which makes it safer for them and for your pet:

  • Create a secure area where your rabbits can run free.
  • Ask your child to sit on the floor or on a low seat.
  • Give your child some of your rabbits’ favourite treats and let the rabbits come up to take the treats in their own time.
  • Once they’re both used to each other, your rabbits will spend more time closer to your child and can be gently stroked while being fed treats