Rabbit Behavior
During Illness & Injury

Rabbit Care Guide ~ Rabbit Health ~ Rabbit Behavior During Illness & Injury

A sick, ill or injured rabbit will rarely show any signs of stress or pain.

This is because they are a prey species, many predators are out to get them round every corner, and showing any sign of weakness usually marks them as an easy target.

Rabbit behavior

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rabbit behavior - different personalities

Understanding YOUR Rabbit
Rabbits have different personality traits so it's important to know what you understand to be 'normal' behavior for your rabbits and what rabbit behavior you may consider 'strange' for them.

Observe them for at least an hour a day, spend 'quality' time with them, you'll learn lots and they'll love you for it!

Ice Bunnies!
As far as showing emotion, rabbits don't show the negative, only the positive! Domestic rabbits still have the natural traits of their wild counterparts and hiding their vulnerable 'feelings' is something they are very good at.

Check, Check & Double Check!

  • Daily Health Check
    You probably already check your rabbits on a daily basis and that is wonderful, but this daily health check list will help cover all the important areas to make sure you don't miss a thing...
  • Symptom Checker
    Take a look at this Irregular Bunny Behavior Chart, with common causes and links to possible solutions...

You - The Mind-reader
The responsibility of their health and well-being falls upon you, their main carer.

With this in mind, it is important to understand a rabbit's normal behaviour and natural habits in order to recognise the 'abnormal' or irregular behaviour.

rabbit behavior

Fear, pain, stress, boredom and sickness will generally be indicated with changes in behaviour and habits.

Changes in routine, personality, sounds and actions should all be carefully monitored on a daily basis.

Irregular Behavior Chart

Signs that a rabbit may be suffering from stress or fear can be fairly obvious sometimes but some rabbit behavior related to illness or injury, is difficult to spot.

Here are some basic signs to watch out for, possible causes and actions to aid and speed recovery:

Irregular Rabbit Behavior, Causes & Solutions

Rabbit Behavior
Common Causes
Possible Solutions
Altered Feeding Habits - excessive or low (eating or drinking)


  • boredom

  • UTI


See bonding and steps to companionship.

See diseases - urinary tract infection.


  • kidney failure

  • incorrect diet

  • sexual maturity


See diseases.

See diet advice with safe & unsafe foods.

See benefits of neutering.

Under-eating & not drinking:

  • maloclusion

  • mucoid enteritis

  • GI stasis

  • coccidiosis

  • bladder Stones (calculi)

  • arthritis

  • Tyzzer's disease





See diseases - there are many!

Chewing - excessive (as in cage bars etc)
See bonding and steps to companionship.
See diseases.
Sexual maturity See benefits of neutering.
Dribbling - moderate to excessive
See diseases.
Circling - repeated (not during mating)

Sexual maturity -

  • hormonal changes

  • territory, object, person or rabbit claiming


See benefits of neutering.

Lethargy - constant (hiding or rarely coming out even to eat, reluctance to move or sitting haunched)
See bonding and steps to companionship.
Fear - lack of trust
See handling and gaining your rabbit's trust.
Bullying from another rabbit or rabbits
See bonding and why rabbits fight.
Pain - from movement impairing illness
See diseases such as arthritis, bumblefoot, kidney failure and spinal injury.
Over-Grooming - excessive (tugging at fur & face cleaning)


  • Lack of friendship

  • Lack of stimulation


See bonding and steps to companionship.

See toys & treats

Past trauma/stress See handling nervous rabbits.
Phantom Pregnancy - nest building
See rabbit breeding & phantom pregnancy.
Vent disease - excessive lesion cleaning See diseases - vent disease.
Panting - moderate to excessive

Overheating & Heatstroke:

  • lack of shelter

  • direct sunlight

  • too close to radiator



See the importance of shelter



Overweight See diet, treats & monitoring weight
Screaming - at any time!

Extreme pain

See diseases.

Extreme fear Hear other noises & understand the difference
Distress Call
Toilet Habit Changes - excessive or low (colour changes, bad consistancy, smelly, wet tail, diarrhoea )

Urination problems:

  • UTI

  • wet tail

  • haematuria - red urine

  • bladder Stones (calculi) - inability to urinate


See diseases.

Pooing problems:

  • Tyzzer's disease

  • pathogenic escherichia coli

  • mucoid enteritis

  • kidney failure

  • GI stasis - small or malformed fecal pellets or absence of fecal pellets

  • coccidiosis


See diseases - there are many.




incorrect diet See diet advice with safe & unsafe foods.

Remember: You can avoid most of this
disturbing rabbit behavior by
monitoring your rabbit on a daily basis
Use the daily health checker.

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