How to know if a rabbit is mad , sad and stressed ?
It is not easy to know if your rabbit is sad and angry but there are signs that do not show when a rabbit is stressed and is not happy, it remains prostrate and lying in its corner, it will have empty eyes and is not interested in its surroundings, it will not play anymore and it may even refuse to eat as usual.
How to recognize a sad, stressed and angry rabbit?
Being prey by nature, rabbits are known to hide the symptoms of illness and especially the signs of stress, but if you look closely, you will see a small change in behavior and other signs of emotional discomfort in your rabbit that are listed below:
- The Rabbit will either lose interest in its food and may stop eating or on the contrary, will start eating too much (more than usual) and become obese.
- The stressed or sad/mad rabbit will neglect his hygiene and stop grooming.
- He’s going to relieve himself all over the cage.
- A sad and stressed rabbit can even pull out tufts of hair.
- A sad rabbit will prostrate itself in a corner of its cage, its paws under its belly and its ears stuck backwards on its shoulders. It could also make turns in its cage along the bars without looking at you!
- He will have an empty look even if he turns towards you, eyes wide open and exorbed and a fast breathing .
- A stressed rabbit has a tendency to hit the ground with its hind legs, as if to warn those around him not to go near him!
- Stress releases pigments (porphyrins), which will give a stronger smell and an orange tint to the stressed and anxious rabbit’s urine.
- Some rabbits show their sadness by adopting a destructive behavior, even a little aggressive towards their companions or the bars of their cages or the objects in them.
- A rabbit that is out of breath and trying to breathe through its mouth is probably stressed and anxious.
- The rabbit will jump at the slightest noise or sudden movement of your hand, a sign of fear and stress.
- Constipation is one of the signs and consequences of stress in rabbits.
What are the causes of stress and sadness in rabbits and how can they be avoided?
Rabbits are animals that normally live in families, one dominant male and several females with young, so they have a developed sense of communication and feelings, so they can feel anger, sadness, jealousy and joy…
Here are the main causes of bad moods and stress in rabbits:
1- Insecurity is a source of stress and sadness in rabbits
As I mentioned earlier, rabbits are prey by nature, so the first reason for stress and sadness in rabbits is when they feel insecure.
If you don’t prepare a large, well-equipped cage with at least one shelter for each rabbit, a litter box, a little out of sight, your rabbit won’t feel safe in its cage if these few conditions are not met.
Your rabbit must be able to retreat into its cage or litter box and no hand must follow it out of its shelter for any reason whatsoever.
If your rabbit lives outside, be aware that it has probably been visited by a predator in your absence, look for signs such as tracks in the ground around the hutch, scratches on the cage, raptor feathers…
It is best to bring your rabbit home for a few days and use this time to make tunnels and hiding places in the floor of the hutch so that your rabbits can find shelter there in the future in case of an attack.
2-The confinement, makes the rabbits sad and angry
The other cause of sadness, stress and anger in rabbits is long term confinement; especially if the cage is too small or there is more than one rabbit in the same pen, this is the second reason for conflict, stress and sadness in rabbits.
A rabbit, born to roam the vast meadows, needs to run and exercise every day, the ideal is to let your rabbit free to roam in at least one room during the day and schedule at least one outing in front of the house for at least 15 minutes a day.
If not and if you live in an apartment and you don’t have enough space, mark off a few square feet with baby gates, put your rabbit in there with his toys, a little hay and his water bowl, and let him blow off steam.
3-A Rabbit is not a toy for children !
One of the frequent reasons for sadness and discomfort in rabbits is intrusion and excessive manipulation.
You should never go to your rabbit, it is up to him to come to you if he wants you to pet him, take him in your arms or play with him.
Never leave children alone with rabbits, they are known to be a bit clumsy with rabbits and guinea pigs, and a rabbit that is not properly handled will get angry and start pawing and even biting if it hurts.
Also, set up fixed times to take your rabbit out of its cage and play with it, and do the same with all interactions with your rabbits, follow a strict program or schedule, so your rabbit will get used to it, and it’s a great way to reduce stress in your pet.
4- Abrupt changes are stress factors in rabbits
Rabbits, like many other pets, hate abrupt changes, whether it be in their “food” menu or in their environment or habits.
Therefore, you should go gradually each time you want to introduce a new food into your rabbits’ diet.
Do the same if you want to move your cage or rearrange objects in their environment, especially shelters and little houses where they hide when they get a little nervous.
5- Other pets can cause stress for your rabbits
Because of their excessive curiosity, it is not uncommon for cats and dogs to make rabbits a little anxious.
An indelicate dog that gets too close to your rabbit’s cage or a cat like a maine coon that would lie down completely on the cage and insert its tail or paw… All these scenarios can cause stress to your rabbit.
like guinea pigs ; You must therefore introduce your other pets to your rabbits to avoid any conflict .
6- Noise, visual and olfactory nuisances can also stress your rabbits
Even if they like to be stimulated, even if they are sometimes players and jumpers, rabbits love the calm and it’s not by chance, they must actually hear their predators from far away !
That’s why noise is one of the reasons for the stress and anger of rabbits, add to that, unusual smells, like a freshly painted painting … a sudden draught or children running around the cage…
Show your rabbit how much you love him/her by installing him/her in a quiet place away from outside noises, drafts, excess heat and humidity or cold…
You must also under no circumstances, also tell the children if you have any, to never shout at the rabbit or in the room where you have installed it. Also avoid loud music and let your guests approach the cage if you are giving a party for example.
Don’t forget that your rabbit recognizes you and knows that you are not a threat , which is not the case for your guests and maybe even your children!!!!
7- Loneliness or conflicts with your companion
Loneliness can make a rabbit sad, stressed and angry, especially if you don’t set aside at least one hour between morning and evening to spend it with him, talk to him every time you pass by” his cage, buy him new toys from time to time and offer him treats accompanied by caresses…
Like loneliness, a poorly introduced cage mate or one of the same rank can also cause stress for a rabbit. This causes conflicts over food and the right place at the feeder or who is going to get the best piece of apple…etc.
To avoid this, have enough hay for your rabbits and several feeders and litter boxes if possible, castrate the male rabbits so that they avoid dueling and stay calm.
More rabbits means more space too.
8- Illness and pain can stress and make a rabbit sad
If your rabbit suddenly shows signs of distress and anger, be aware that it may be sick and a closer and more appropriate inspection is recommended to check for other symptoms of illness.
Your rabbit may have broken a bone in your absence and the pain may make him angry or even aggressive, so take your rabbit gently and check if he does not react by touching him in different parts of his body, especially his lower abdomen if he does not suffer from intestinal obstruction.
What should I do if my rabbit suddenly shows signs of stress , Sadness or Madness?
If, when you come home in the evening, you notice that your rabbit is upset, stand close to his cage and try to detect the signs he will send you.
He will surely tell you what the reasons are, especially if you have gotten used to him and you know his habits.
Wash your hands well and change your clothes if you’ve just played with the dog or cat, one of them may be the cause of his stress and you don’t want to make the situation worse by introducing their scent a second time.
- gently bring your hand close to your rabbit after you sit next to it.
- If you see that he takes a few steps towards you, extend your arms and try to take him if he doesn’t move back on.
- Keep talking to him while you caress him; try to cover his eyes afterwards and if you have thought about it, a few treats from his favorites will help him to recharge his batteries and you will prevent him from refusing to eat and provoking a GI Stasi for example.
- Keep it that way and then invite your rabbit to play with you to distract him from his stress, take his favorite toy and you can even take him outside if it coincides with his outings so as not to change his routine and disturb him even more.
8 Common signs that your bunny is Not stressed anymore
I have summarized in these 8 illustrations, the signs that you must surely see in a happy rabbit, even when this state of joy and contentment is just momentary as when you are going to give him his treats or take him out of his cage … :
As I told you in the last illustration, rabbits are a little bit like us, and the fastest way to make your rabbit happy and make him feel like you really love him is by offering him treats, not any treat , you need natural, healthy and delicious treats, like dried fruits, flowers and handmade treats.
Don’t worry, I have found where you can get this kind of treats, it’s not on Amazon, you can only find them at the people who make them, follow this link and bring happiness into your Bun’s heart .
Let’s wrap this up
Rabbits are very emotional beings, they are usually cheerful and playful for some breeds and very calm for others, but it can happen that they become stressed and angry.
Try to avoid the causes and look for reasons if your rabbit has gotten into this state of anger or stress.
Get to know your rabbit, what he likes and hates and especially his habits so that you can detect any change and intervene at the right time.
Finally, if you can’t do anything to calm your rabbit, it is better to call his veterinarian or bring him to him because stress is the cause of many diseases in rabbits and you don’t want to aggravate his case.