Can two rabbits hurt each other?
Can two rabbits hurt each other?
Rabbits are lovable, but complex, animals that thrive best when they have a companion. Here are steps on how to introduce two bunnies successfully.
Rabbits make lovely pets. They’re cuddly and personable and have unique personalities that bring delight to their owners. Bunnies are also very social creatures and need the friendship of another rabbit to fulfil their needs. On their own, rabbits can get lonely, depressed, and anxious, so it’s important to give a rabbit on its own a companion.
Since rabbits are territorial animals, any introductions must be done with a lot of care and consideration, so that each rabbit accepts the other one as it’s lifelong companion. The process of encouraging good relations and polite behaviour between rabbits is called bonding. When rabbits are bonded, they usually bond for life.
When you are ready to begin introducing the rabbits to each other, make sure that both rabbits are healthy, de-sexed and up-to-date with vaccinations. Of all the factors, de-sexing is the most important. This is because male and female rabbits that are kept entire are much more territorial and therefore more likely to hurt the other bunny. If left alone, rabbits can seriously injure each other in a very short space of time, so you should carefully observe them at all times at first.
To start bonding, let the rabbits get used to each other by sight and smell while they’re in separate areas. Nearby enclosures can allow sniffing through the safety wire, which lets bunnies get used to each other without being able to fight. Another way to encourage acceptance is by swapping the bunnies’ litter trays.
You will begin to notice a change in behaviour when the rabbits have adjusted. They will be relaxed and won’t be running at the other bunny, or showing other aggressive behaviours. It is important to always notice the way the rabbits are responding to each other’s body language.
Introduce in a neutral space
The next step is to put them together for short sessions in a neutral space. A neutral territory is one where neither rabbit has been before, so neither has claimed it as ‘theirs’. For best results, put lots of distractions into the neutral area, like hay piles, toys, tunnels and boxes.
If all goes well, you can return the bunnies to their separate areas and keep repeating the neutral area meetings each day. If the interaction begins to get tense, immediately separate the rabbits and try again the next day.
After several successful interactions, the rabbits will begin to display bonded behaviour such as grooming each other and lying together. When this happens without any tension for prolonged periods of time, they are bonded. This means they have decided that they accept the other bunny and you can leave them together unsupervised.
When the rabbits are bonded in this way, it is incredibly important that you don’t separate them except in extreme circumstances. A separation between bonded rabbits causes psychological trauma and anxiety and they may un-bond if they are separated for some time.
Bunnies bond for life and having a companion greatly enhances their quality of life. It is very hard to find a cuter sight than two bunnies snuggling together in harmony.
Will Two Male Rabbits Fight? 4 things you need to know.
Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Marjon Ramos If you’re thinking of getting a companion for your rabbits, you might have asked the topic of this article. Is it okay to get two male rabbits? Will the two male rabbits fight? To save you some time, here’s the answer: Yes, two male rabbits would definitely fight each other if both or one of them was not neutered. Rabbits need social order and boundaries. They will protect and fight other rabbits if someone enters their personal space. That’s why it’s always recommended to get your rabbit neutered to tone down those aggressive hormonal and territorial behaviors. Hormonal and territorial behaviors can start once both rabbits hit puberty. So if you’re planning on getting two male rabbits, get them neutered as early as possible.
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Will two male siblings rabbit fight?
Two male rabbits who are brothers would never fight and would be inseparable when they are young. But after they reach puberty, around 3 to 4 months, the fighting will start because of their hormones. There’s a high chance that even two male rabbits from the same litter will still fight once they hit puberty. You can reduce the chance of fighting by neutering both rabbits. Do not get two male rabbits if you are not prepared to separate them in separate cages if they start fighting, even if they are brothers.
What are the reasons why two male rabbits will fight?
Your rabbits are not neutered.
The number one reason why two male rabbits fight is because of hormone related aggression. This usually happens when one or both rabbits are not neutered. Unneutered rabbits are very territorial. They will often have an outburst of hormone-related aggression. This usually happens if they feel that the other male rabbit is entering their territory.
The male rabbit is territorial.
If there’s one thing you can count on when owning two male rabbits, it’s that they will be territorial at some point. Rabbits, especially male rabbits, need their own personal space. If you’re planning on keeping two rabbits in one space, even if they are brothers, make sure that your place is big enough for them to have their own personal space.
The male rabbit is in pain.
Another reason why a rabbit might be fighting is that they’re in pain. Rabbits that are sick or in pain are more aggressive and territorial. Always check your rabbit for any missing fur or open wounds. You should also check for any abnormalities in their teeth.
What can you do to stop two male rabbits from fighting?
First, get both rabbits neutered before trying to keep them together. This would calm down your rabbit’s hormones. Unneutered male rabbits have a high chance of fighting once they hit puberty. Then, give both rabbits enough space to have their own private area. Keep in mind that male rabbits are very territorial in their personal spaces. Keeping both rabbits in a cramped cage will make their territorial instinct kick in.
Can two male rabbits kill each other by fighting?
Yes, two male rabbits can fight to the death if both of them are unneutered. This actually happens a lot to rabbit breeders who don’t have enough space to separate male rabbits. The end result of two rabbits fighting can be quite gruesome and bloody. A typical injury from rabbits fighting includes:
- Shredded ears
- Shredded nose
- Missing fur
- Gashed eye
- And in some cases, death.
Make sure you get both rabbits neutered before attempting to introduce them to each other. Or even better, get a male and a female neutered rabbit.
Two male rabbits would definitely fight if both or one of them was not neutered. This is because unneutered rabbits are extremely territorial and often have outbursts of aggressive hormonal behavior.
These aggressive hormonal behaviors will start when the rabbits hit puberty. So make sure that you get them neutered before that.
Also, even male rabbits from the same litter or brothers could still fight if both or one of them is not neutered. Although lower than with unrelated male rabbits, the risk is still high enough that neutering is still encouraged.
There are two things you can do to stop your two male rabbits from fighting. One is to get them neutered and to separate them and give them their personal space.
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Sources and further reading
- Buseth, Marit Emilie., and Richard A. Saunders. Rabbit Behaviour, Health, and Care. CABI, 2014.
- Lebas, F. The Rabbit: Husbandry, Health, and Production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1997.
- Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.
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By Marjon Ramos
I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.