My pet rabbit sometimes gets angry when I walk past her. She then makes a growling sound and "attacks" me.

We had her spayed and thought that this would help, but the problem still persists.

Is there a reason for this happening? Can it be treated?

  • Maybe you should put yourself in the pet's position.
    – GSCM
    Nov 22 '17 at 5:26

Rabbits have two traits that can cause this behavior, they are very territorial and they have a strong grooming hierarchy.

I assume your rabbit enjoys getting petted, If you sit on the floor she will probably come lay next to you and let you pet her for long periods. She may also jump up on the couch or bed to spend time with you. She is the Princess and you are required to pet/groom her on demand.

If this is the case, she will likely have her head low and be in the "you should pet me now position" after "attacking" you. The fault here is yours, you have failed to recognize her superior position as the Princess and provide the grooming she demands. When passing her, you should always acknowledge her "Princess" status by bending down and giving her at least one pet.

If your rabbit is not a Princess, she may have tired of you invading Her space, she it telling you to "Get Out". Her head is probably high, ears forward (if she has stand up ears), she may box at you with her front feet.

The difference in behavior between "Princess" and "Get Out" may be subtle.

  • Princess: will usually follow you farther and put her head down, and if you reach down to pet she will lie still and let you pet her.
  • Get Out: will usually leave you alone after you pass, and if you reach down to pet will nip at you.

Growling. Some rabbits do growl, it is more common in the smaller rabbits, lion heads are more likely to growl then other breeds (in my opinion). It is a communication trait, it does not correlate with dog growls. It can have many meanings. We have a growling rabbit, if it has specific meaning we have not translated it yet.

  • 1
    Thank you. This is so interesting for me. I always thought she is just a angry bunny. I will try and observe her to see which of the two traits it is (or a combination). Nov 21 '17 at 13:41
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    Bear in mind that rabbits are by nature a social animal, and keeping a lone rabbit can lead to multiple behavioural issues. See: rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-care-advice/rabbit-companionship
    – SeanR
    Nov 21 '17 at 15:16
  • While @SeanR is correct that rabbits like friends, keep in mind that making two rabbits be friends is not always easy Nov 21 '17 at 15:32
  • I had a rabbit that very uncharacteristically raked my hand with her claws. I was really shocked. When I checked in on her the next morning she had a litter in the enclosure with her. I was even more shocked.
    – adg
    Nov 22 '17 at 6:47
  • 3
    Belated feedback: Our pet bunny Daisy (the bunny I asked the question about initially) is not with us anymore =( However we did get her a friend. I took a while for them to adjust to each other, the new bunny was chased a lot in the beginning of their bonding. Over time they became inseparable and Daisy`s nature was definitely more calm after we had got her a friend. Thank you for all the answers, all of them certainly helped a lot. Oct 18 '19 at 11:11

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