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My partner and I have a 6 month old male rabbit who is very friendly. He lives outside most of the time but he gets to come inside daily and have a play in the living room + kitchen for at least a couple of hours which he enjoys, and he loves being around people.

What he doesn't like is being picked up. When we have to pick him up he'll be very specific about how he's held, but he's still visibly uncomfortable (though not aggressive). We understand why he doesn't like being picked up (prey instinct etc), but we don't understand what happens next.

After we put him back down, he'll wander into the middle of the living room and do the biggest flop we've ever seen. Usually this mean's he'll do a full 270 degree roll from standing to laying on the opposite side he started rolling from. My understanding of rabbit behaviour (I'm pretty new to the gig) is that a flop is a sign of contentment, but he's clearly pretty grumpy about the whole ordeal. What gives?

  • Does he thump as he runs off after being put down? – James Jenkins Dec 30 '16 at 19:00
  • @JamesJenkins - He doesn't! That's part of why we're so confused. He's pretty obviously annoyed that he got picked up, but he seems very happy to do a flop after we put him down. Maybe he's just happy that we put him down? – Karl Nicoll Dec 30 '16 at 19:07
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Everybunny is a different person. All of my rabbits live in the house, but they enjoy going outside for fresh grass in the summer.

Harmony "HATES" to be held, even though she is being carried from a place she like to another place she likes, we still get a thump, run off and pout from her.

Ruby loves to be handled, if you aren't paying enough attention to her, she will try and climb up your leg like a cat. She never has an issue with being pickedup, sometimes she is not happy about being put down, and wants up again.

Generally you are correct, rabbits don't like to be held for "(prey instinct etc)" and flopping is a sign of contentment. They adapt quickly, and it may just take a few seconds for him to get over it and go flop/lay contently on floor.

As he is not thumping I think he is getting over it as soon as he feet hit the ground, and everything is wonderful.

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    I think you're right. He's a bit dopey all round (our other rabbit is much younger and already much smarter), but this was one of his more confusing behaviours :-) – Karl Nicoll Dec 30 '16 at 19:26

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