You must pick up a rabbit correctly to prevent it from getting injured. Since rabbits have delicate bones, they are prone to fractures. If you are a new rabbit owner, you must know how to hold your bunny. This blog post will discuss the step-by-step procedure for picking up a rabbit and what you must avoid. Continue reading to learn more!

pick up a rabbit

Why is it Important to Pick up a Rabbit Properly?


As prey animals, rabbits are nervous if they are not used to being handled. They may jump, kick, or bite, causing you to drop them. Since bunnies have fragile bones, they are prone to fractures and broken spines. Hence, you must pick up a rabbit correctly. Mishandling your pet can also make it scared when you are around.

Moreover, bunnies that are mishandled experience more stress, leading to severe health conditions. They may lose their appetite or show destructive behaviors like biting off their fur. If ignored, it may lead to furball- a severe condition that a bunny may experience. You must not pick up your pet in certain areas, such as its scruff, legs, tail, and ears. 

The following sections will teach you what to do before picking up a rabbit and the proper steps to handle it. There are also countermeasures that you have to do after you have picked up a rabbit. By holding your bunny in the correct way, you will prevent it from having injuries.

A woman carrying a bunny

What to Do Before your Pick Up a Rabbit


Although bunnies are gentle and docile pets, some of them don’t like to be picked up. You must only pick them up when needed. Trimming your pet’s nails and removing them from a dangerous environment would require you to pick it up. You must also do the same action when administering a medicine and putting it in a carrier. Below are the things you must do before picking up a rabbit.

Calm your bunny by giving it some treats


When you pick it up, a nervous bunny may leap out of your arms, resulting in injuries. Before you hold your bunny, ensure that it is calm and relaxed. If you have a rabbit used to being picked up, you won’t encounter any problems. You must make it comfortable in your presence if it is a new bunny.

One way of calming your rabbit is by giving it some treats. Choose a delicious yet healthy treat for your pet, such as a slice of fruit. Rabbits love to eat, so consuming tasty food help in easing their nerves. You can also put a soft towel over your bunny’s head since the action can give comfort and security to your pet.



Help your bunny to use to being picked up


Before getting to the actual “pick-up scenario”, you can practice your bunny first. Prevent making sudden movements and loud noises to avoid startling your pet. Sitting by its side is better to prevent intimidating your pet. The best way to practice is by putting your palm on your rabbit’s chest. Lift off its feet from the ground. Do it for a short interval until your bunny gets used to it.

Giving treats to a bunny

What to do When Picking Up a Rabbit


Now that you have a calm bunny, it is time to pick it up. But as a reminder, you should not pick up your pet once you notice it becomes nervous or panicky. You can schedule the grooming session on any other day. Rabbits that don’t feel good also prefer to be left alone. But for those already ready to be picked up, here are the things you must do.



Put your hand below your bunny’s chest and under the rabbit’s bottom


First, you must place one hand below your bunny’s chest. It would be better to put its front paws in your hand to prevent it from struggling. If your pet is comfortable, you can place your other hand under your rabbit’s bottom. Your bunny’s weight must rest on your hand. Prevent its small body from getting pressed too tightly.



Press your pet against your body while lifting it


Next, you must press your pet against your body to hold it steady and make it feel more comfortable. This position is also suitable to comfort your pet and prevent it from leaping out of your arms. Lift your pet while holding steadily but not too tightly. Bunnies don’t want to feel cornered, so you should never strangle them. Below is a video showing to pick up a rabbit.

What to do After You Pick Up a Rabbit


After you have picked up the bunny, it is vital to keep it safe in your arms. You must also put it down carefully to prevent it from getting hurt. There are things to remember when you are holding your bunny. You must keep it secure, and you must ensure that it is comfortable. Here are some of the things to do after you pick up a rabbit:



Let your bunny stretch out while handling it securely


Let your bunny stretch by placing its front paws on your chest or shoulders. However, keep its body stable by wrapping your arm around it. You must also support its feet and bottom with one arm. You can also put it beside your stomach while carrying it under your arm. This position is referred to as the “football hold”.



Pass your bunny to another person properly


You must do it in the correct manner if you pass your bunny to another person. As much as possible, place the rabbit on a table and let the other person pick it up. Prevent giving your bunny in mid-air since you could drop your pet, or it could leap out of your arms. Also, ensure that your pet is calm to prevent it from escaping or struggling.



Put your bunny down carefully


When a bunny is in a foothold position, lower it down while staying in the position. Rabbits tend to leap when they see the ground. Hence, you must hold your pet steadily, preventing it from escaping. If you have to put down your bunny in a front-loading carrier, place its hindlegs first while it is facing you.

Kid holding an indoor pet rabbit

What not to Do When Picking Up a Rabbit


As mentioned before, rabbits have delicate bones. So, there are things that you must prevent when you are picking them up. You don’t want to get your bunny to get injuries because of mishandling it. Rabbits that suffer from fractures may suffer from paralysis or limited movements. Below are some of the things you must prevent when picking up a rabbit:



Never pick up a rabbit by its ears, scruff, legs, or tail


Some of the most fragile parts of a bunny include its ears, scruff, legs, and tail. Picking it up by grabbing these delicate parts may lead to fractures. If you have small children in your house, prevent them from picking up your pet. They may hurt your bunny and get bitten when it becomes uncomfortable. It would be better to avoid picking up your pet all the time and let it stay on the floor.



Never restrain your pet


Rabbits experience extreme fear and terror whenever they are restrained. Since they are prey animals, cornering them or limiting their movements threatens them. Pick up and hold your bunny gently but steadily to prevent it from dropping. If your bunny starts moving a lot, you must place it on a table or the floor.



Don’t put your bunny on slippery surfaces


If you have to put a bunny on a table or a platform, ensure that it doesn’t have a slippery surface. You can place a soft towel over the table before putting your bunny on it. A clean cloth on your lap can prevent your pet from slipping and dropping.



Frequently Asked Questions



Do rabbits like to be picked up?


Unlike other household pets, rabbits don’t like to be picked up. They are more comfortable hopping on the ground than being held mid-air. Besides, bunnies know the danger of dropping on the floor. As much as possible, pick up your rabbit only when necessary. However, socializing your bunny will make it easier for you to pick it up.



What is the best way to pick up a rabbit?


The best way to pick up a rabbit is by holding its chest while supporting its bottom with another hand. Press it against your body to prevent it from escaping and leaping out of your arms. You can also hold your bunny in a football position by putting it on your stomach while carrying it.



How to calm a rabbit before you pick it up?

If your bunny is nervous, you can calm it by giving its favorite treats. Aside from that, you can also place a towel over its head to make it feel comfortable. You can also talk to your pet with a soothing voice, assuring that everything will be fine. You must also strengthen your bond with your pet so it won’t get scared when you pick it up.

Pick up a rabbit



You must know how to pick up a rabbit to avoid it from getting any injuries. Since bunnies are prey animals, they can quickly get nervous when you pick them up. You must make them calm before you hold them. It would help if you carried them in a secure but comfortable manner to prevent them from escaping.

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