Holding A Baby Rabbit: Building Trust With Your Bunny

When my daughter got her first rabbit, we discovered that holding rabbits isn’t as easy as it seems, especially without hurting them. Bunnies are adorable, but they also frighten easily and can hurt themselves while struggling to get free of a snuggle.

Throughout my years of experience raising rabbits, I have learned the art of holding baby rabbits with care and sensitivity. I have witnessed firsthand the impact of gentle holding and handling on its trust, comfort, and overall welfare. In this article, I will share my insights and knowledge on holding bunnies, offering guidance based on years of practical experience.

In this article, I will explore the art of holding rabbits and delve into the importance of gentle and respectful handling. I will discuss the significance of creating a safe and comfortable environment for your baby rabbit and the steps you can take to build trust and strengthen your bond. 

By mastering the proper techniques for holding your rabbits, you can enhance the relationship with your furry friend while promoting its overall welfare.

Remember, holding a bunny is not just about physical contact but about fostering trust, providing security, and ensuring its emotional well-being. So, let’s embark on this journey together and discover the art of holding rabbits with care and affection.

Understanding Rabbit Behavior

Rabbits are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors and instincts. To hold them properly, it is essential to understand its natural tendencies and how it communicates. By observing Its body language, you can ensure that your handling approach is respectful and considerate of its needs.

Rabbits Communicate Through Body Language

Rabbits communicate through subtle body movements and behaviors. Your bunny may use its  ears, eyes, body posture, and tail to express various emotions and intentions. For example, a relaxed and content bunny will have its ears up, eyes bright, and body stretched out comfortably. On the other hand, a stressed or fearful rabbit may flatten its ears against its back, crouch low to the ground, or thump its hind legs.

It is important to approach baby rabbits with gentleness and respect. Sudden movements, loud noises, or rough handling can startle or stress them, leading to negative associations with being held. 

By being attentive to its  body language and responding accordingly, you can create a calm and reassuring environment for your bunny.

Bunnies React Better To Being Held If They Feel Secure

Additionally, bunnies have a natural instinct to protect its  hindquarters, which is its  most vulnerable area. When approaching your baby rabbit for handling, it is crucial to keep this in mind and ensure that its  hindquarters are properly supported. This not only makes them feel more secure but also reduces the risk of injury.

If you understand this, you will have better success when you hold your baby rabbit. Its critical that you are aware of its  body language and respect its  boundaries to establish trust and create a positive experience.

Preparing for Your Young Rabbit Holding

Before attempting to hold a young rabbit, creating a safe and comfortable environment for you and your furry friend is important. Taking the time to prepare adequately will contribute to a positive and stress-free experience for both parties involved.

Make Sure You Hold Your Bunny Securely and Safely

First and foremost, ensure that the space in which you plan to hold your bunny  is secure and free from potential hazards. Remove any objects that could be chewed on or cause injury. Bunnies are especially curious creatures and may explore its  surroundings, so it’s essential to minimize potential dangers.

Establish Trust With Your Bunny Before You Hold It

Next, establish trust with your bunny before attempting to hold it. Rabbits are naturally cautious animals, and sudden or forceful attempts to pick them up may cause fear or stress. Spend time near your bunny’s enclosure, sitting quietly and allowing them to approach you on its terms. Offer them treats or its favorite vegetables to create positive associations.

Hold Your Baby Rabbit In A Quiet Place

Maintaining a calm and quiet atmosphere is crucial when handling baby rabbits. Loud noises and chaotic environments can startle them and make them feel unsafe. Choose a peaceful location, away from distractions and other animals, to ensure a serene environment for your bunny.

How To Hold Your Bunny Using a Towel

Consider using a soft blanket or towel to hold your baby rabbit. This provides them with a secure and comfortable surface to sit on while preventing them from slipping out of your grasp. Ensure that the fabric is clean and free from any chemicals or contaminants that could harm your bunny.

By preparing your environment and establishing trust with your rabbit, you set the stage for a successful and enjoyable holding experience. Remember, patience and respect for your rabbit’s needs are key when creating a safe and comfortable environment for handling.

Propper Techniques For Holding Rabbits

Properly holding a rabbit is essential for its safety and well-being. Handling them with care and gentleness is crucial to maintain its trust and prevent any harm. Here, we will discuss the correct techniques for holding rabbits to ensure a comfortable and secure experience for both you and your furry friend.

Picking Up A Bunny

When picking up a bunny, it is important to support its hindquarters. Place one hand under its chest and the other under its hindquarters, ensuring a secure grip. This technique helps to distribute its weight evenly and prevents unnecessary strain on its fragile spine.

Hand Placement When Holding a Bunny

Position your hands around your bunny’s body, with your fingers gently wrapped around its sides. Avoid applying excessive pressure or squeezing, as it can cause discomfort or injury. Your rabbit should feel supported and secure in your hands.

Cradling Position For Holding Your Bunny

For calm and relaxed bunnies, the cradling position is ideal. Hold your rabbit close to your body, with one hand supporting its chest and the other hand supporting its hindquarters. This position mimics the feeling of being nestled in a burrow, offering comfort and security.

Scruffing Method When Holding Your Pet Rabbit

In some situations, such as when your rabbit is anxious or resistant, the scruffing method can be used. This involves gently gripping the loose skin at the back of your rabbit’s neck while simultaneously supporting its hindquarters. It is important to use this method sparingly and only when necessary, as some rabbits may find it stressful.

Teaching Your Bunny to Enjoy Being Held Takes Time and Trust

Rabbits are prey animals and often don’t enjoy being held at first. But as you build it’s trust with you, your bunny can learn to enjoy snuggles. 

Remember to always be gentle and patient when holding rabbits. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements that might startle them. It is also essential to monitor its body language during the holding process. If your bunny becomes uncomfortable or shows signs of distress, such as struggling or freezing, gently place them back in its safe space and try again later.

By using proper holding techniques, you can ensure the comfort and security of your baby rabbit. This strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend and promotes a positive association with being held, making future interactions smoother and more enjoyable.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Holding Your Bunny

While learning the correct techniques for holding a bunny is important, it is equally crucial to be aware of common holding mistakes that can inadvertently harm or distress them. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure the well-being and comfort of your baby rabbit during handling sessions. Let’s explore some common mistakes and how to steer clear of them:

Squeezing or Gripping Your Rabbit Too Tightly Can Hurt It

Rabbits have delicate bodies, and excessive squeezing or gripping can cause discomfort or injury. Always maintain a gentle yet secure hold, supporting its chest and hindquarters without applying unnecessary pressure.

Sudden Movements And Loud Noises Startle Rabbits

Rabbits are prey animals with highly sensitive hearing and are easily startled. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that can frighten or stress them. Keep the environment calm and serene to maintain a sense of security.

Holding Your Bunny By The Ears or Legs Can Permanently Hurt Your Rabbit

Never pick up or hold a bunny or adult rabbit by its ears or legs. These areas are sensitive and delicate, and mishandling can cause pain or injury. Always support its body from underneath and provide a secure grip for its well-being.

Ignoring Signs Of Discomfort Will Erode Your Bunny’s Trust

Pay close attention to your bunny’s body language while holding it. If it shows signs of distress, such as struggling, freezing, or trying to escape, it is important to respect its boundaries and gently return them to its safe space. Pushing them beyond its comfort zone can damage the trust you’ve built.

Allowing Children To Handle A Pet Rabbit Unsupervised Can Erode It’s Trust

While it can be an enriching experience for children to interact with rabbits, adult supervision is crucial. Children often don’t have the same understanding or control as adults, leading to unintentional harm. 

Educate children about gentle handling techniques and closely supervise its interactions with rabbits.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your rabbit’s handling experiences are positive, stress-free, and promote its overall well-being. Remember, it’s essential to prioritize your rabbit’s comfort and safety above all else during handling sessions.

Building Trust and Bonding With Your Bunny

Building trust and a strong bond with your bunny is a crucial aspect of successful handling. When your new rabbit trusts you, it will feel more secure and comfortable during holding sessions. Here are some tips to help you establish trust and foster a deep connection with your furry friend:

Start With Gentle Interactions WIth Your Bunny

Begin by spending time near your bunny’s enclosure, talking softly to it, and offering it treats or favorite vegetables. Allow it to approach you on its terms, without forcing interaction. This helps it associate your presence with positive experiences and builds a foundation of trust.

Gradually Introduce Touch To Your Baby Rabbit

Once your bunny is comfortable with your presence, gently stroke its head or back, using slow and deliberate movements. Observe her response and be mindful of its comfort level. If your bunny seems uneasy or show signs of resistance, respect it’s boundaries and try again later.

Use Positive Reinforcement To Teach Your Bunny To Like Being Held

Reward your bunny with treats, praises, or gentle strokes when it exhibits calm and relaxed behavior during handling. Positive reinforcement strengthens the bond between you and your rabbit and encourages them to associate handling with positive experiences.

Spend Quality Time With Your Bunny Daily

Set aside dedicated time for bonding with your new bunny outside of regular handling sessions. Sit near them, read a book aloud, or engage in activities it enjoys, such as grooming or gentle play. This quality time helps deepen the connection between you and your bunny.

Be Patient And Respectful To Your Bunny

Every young rabbit is unique, and building trust takes time. Be patient and respect your rabbit’s individual personality and boundaries. Avoid rushing the process or forcing interactions. Trust is earned through consistent gentle handling and understanding its needs.

By taking the time to build trust and foster a strong bond with your bunny, you create a solid foundation for successful handling sessions. Remember, each interaction should be approached with care, patience, and respect. The more your rabbit trusts and feels secure with you, the more comfortable it will be during holding sessions, strengthening the bond between you and your furry companion.

When Holding Your Bunny Is Difficult: Handling Specific Cases

Handling rabbits can vary depending on specific circumstances, such as rabbits with health issues, newborn baby rabbits, or adult rabbits that exhibit aggression or fearfulness. It is important to approach these situations with extra care and consideration. Let’s explore some guidelines for handling rabbits in specific cases.

Holding Rabbits With Health Issues or Disabilities

Rabbits with health issues or disabilities may require special handling techniques. Consult with a veterinarian to understand any specific considerations or limitations for your rabbit. Be gentle and adapt your handling approach to accommodate its condition, providing extra support or modifying the holding technique as needed.

Holding Newborn Baby Rabbits

Baby rabbits, also known as kits, are fragile and delicate. It is important to handle them with extreme care. Support its entire body, including its head, and avoid excessive squeezing or sudden movements. Keep handling sessions short and minimize stress on the kits.

How To Hold An Aggressive or Scared Rabbit

Rabbits that exhibit aggression or fearfulness require a patient and gradual approach. It is important to gain its trust slowly and avoid forcing them into uncomfortable situations. Consult with a rabbit behavior specialist for guidance on behavior modification techniques to help address aggression or fearfulness. Always prioritize safety and consider seeking professional help if needed.

Each Rabbit Is Unique

Remember, each rabbit is unique, and individual circumstances may require additional considerations. It is essential to assess the specific needs and behaviors of your rabbit and tailor your handling approach accordingly. Seek guidance from experienced rabbit caregivers or professionals if you encounter challenges or have specific concerns.

By understanding and addressing specific cases, you can ensure the well-being and comfort of rabbits in unique situations. Respect its individuality, adjust your handling techniques as necessary, and prioritize its safety and emotional welfare during each interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Holding Your Rabbit

Do rabbits get stressed when picked up?

Rabbits often experience stress when being picked up, especially if it is not accustomed to handling or if has had negative experiences in the past. Rabbits are prey animals by nature and may perceive being lifted off the ground as a potential threat. To minimize stress, it is essential to approach rabbit handling with care and gentleness. Gradually introduce handling sessions, gain its trust, and use proper techniques to support its bodies. Additionally, observing its body language and respecting its comfort levels can help minimize stress during the process.

How can I make my rabbit more comfortable with being held?

Building a rabbit’s comfort with being held takes time and patience. Start by creating a safe and calm environment and allowing your rabbit to approach you on its terms. Offer treats and positive reinforcement to associate handling with positive experiences. Gradually introduce gentle touch and strokes, always respecting its boundaries. Spending quality time together and engaging in activities it enjoys can also help foster a stronger bond and increase its comfort level with being held.

Is there a specific way to hold a rabbit to prevent injury?

Yes, there are specific techniques to hold a rabbit safely and prevent injury. It is important to support its hindquarters while lifting them to distribute its weight evenly and avoid strain on its spine. Place one hand under its chest and the other hand under its hindquarters for a secure grip. Avoid squeezing or gripping too tightly, and never hold them by its ears or legs, as these areas are delicate and sensitive. Always be mindful of its comfort and use a gentle but secure hold to prevent accidental slips or falls.

What should I do if my rabbit struggles or shows signs of fear during handling?

If your rabbit struggles, freezes, or shows signs of fear during handling, it is crucial to respect its boundaries and ensure its safety. Avoid forcing them into uncomfortable situations. Gently return them to its safe space and allow them to calm down. Assess the situation and evaluate any possible factors that may have caused the distress. Building trust and confidence takes time, so be patient and gradually work on building a positive association with handling through positive reinforcement and gradual exposure.

Can children handle rabbits?

Children can handle rabbits, but it is important to supervise its interactions closely. Educate children about the proper techniques for handling rabbits, including the importance of being gentle and respectful. Children should always be under adult supervision to ensure the safety of both the child and the rabbit. Additionally, it is essential to assess the individual temperament of the rabbit and its comfort level with children before allowing handling sessions.


Holding rabbits is an art that requires patience, understanding, and a deep respect for its needs. By mastering the proper techniques and approaches, you can create a positive and comfortable experience for both you and your furry companion.

Recommended Rabbit Supplies

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Housing: If your rabbit is indoor, you’ll need a cage, a hideout (to keep your rabbit from death by heart attack), and a space for it to get exercise and spend time with you. If you don’t want to let it run free in your house, this animal playpen provides space and keeps your rabbit from hiding under your couch.

If you keep your rabbit outdoors, an outdoor hutch that provides space and protection from predators is needed. (I’d still keep mine in a barn for further protection from the elements.)

You’ll also need bedding, toys, a grooming brush, and treats for your little friend. A litter box is important because rabbits can be potty trained. Timothy hay is the best kind of hay for rabbits as alfalfa is too sweet. Don’t forget a water drinker. I like the half-gallon waterer because it can cover two rabbits for several days. Pair it with a food bowl or a food manger (a little cleaner) and you’ll be set up!

If you want to treat your bunny to entertainment, a cat tower, a treat ball, or bunny toys all work wonderfully.

Finally, if you plan on taking your rabbit with you on trips, you’ll need a carrier. Here’s a small carrier or larger carrier that work great for occasional travel. If you travel a lot, you might want the carrier that’s rated #1 in safety for safe travels

Lastly, I use this odor eliminator for accidents and to wipe out the bottom of the cage and litter box when I clean it.

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