Some background info: my indoor rabbit is a castrated male who free roams when I’m home. He is overall a happy bun since I take good care of him and take him yearly to the vet to get his shots and to get a health checkup. He shows his happiness with many binkies and flops.

However when he was small (before the age of 1) he broke his leg due to a bad jump. This injury healed after time and treatment. He can jump and run fine (though he can’t move his toes on that foot anymore). However I do notice he often stretches out his once broken leg when he sits.

Since he turned 2 he has however, gotten quite jumpy and somewhat aggressive towards to me whenever I move things around in his cage. For example when adding hay, taking out his food bowl etc. He makes a loud honking sound whenever I do these actions and sometimes charges at my hand. He has also bitten me when charging (it’s not a hard bite, just a warning). I don't believe he is aggressive but simply fearful of either the motion of my hand or the sound.

My question: could this behaviour be caused by trauma from his past injury? Or is this territorial behaviour, even if he's neutered? Or is there a different reason I have yet to consider?

I would love to hear if anyone has similar experiences.


1 Answer 1


What you said in the comments about this happening in the cage makes sense to me. I think they are being protective of themselves when in a more confined space.

I've owned pet rabbits and I've volunteered with rescue animals for almost a decade. In the past I've fostered a rabbit who would always grunt when I came to change her pen or pet her when she was in the pen. She would grunt and then give me a warning that she'd nip me if I didn't back off. I would put my hand back and then raise it again so she'd see it. She would then relax and sit in the petting position and allow me to interact with her without biting me. The warning would happen every time though. There was something about backing off and coming back that reassured her that she was in charge. She knew I wouldn't pet her or enter the pen without her consent which is what she wanted. She needed to confirm that was the case every time in order to maintain that trust.

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