Relentless Rabbit
December 7, 2014 2:36 PM   Subscribe

 
Are normal pet rabbits this cuddly, actually? I always pictured them being more aloof and cat-like.
posted by Zephyrial at 2:40 PM on December 7, 2014


They can be cuddly, but often times they aren't. My experience with them as pets from when I was a kid growing up in the sticks was that they are very, very skittish. Very rarely do they really warm up to larger mammals (i.e. humans) because their brains are hard-wired to be stuck on "I'm prey and everything is out to eat me" mode.
posted by surazal at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Prey, my tuchis. My ex's rabbit used to headbutt my dachshund off the couch for fun. She'd then chase her around the coffee table like a total jerk.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:50 PM on December 7, 2014 [22 favorites]


Do mother rabbits lick their kits? I read somewhere that cats often like to be stroked because to them it feels a bit like their mom's tongue, so being cuddled and petted is like being back in the nursery box again. This rabbit is probably making the same association.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2014


BUN
posted by Greg Nog at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2014 [9 favorites]


Rabbits usually aren't so cuddly -- this one is almost like a dog, how much it insisted on pets.
posted by chimaera at 2:54 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well that's just terrifying.


/Anya Jenkins.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:57 PM on December 7, 2014 [35 favorites]


The rabbit's owner, who goes by the username SpicaSirius, uploaded the original, non-watermarked version to YouTube, and has a channel featuring several other adorable rabbit videos here.
posted by Aster at 3:00 PM on December 7, 2014 [16 favorites]


I don't know anything about bunny body language other than that thumping is bad (and presumably that noise is a growl, since the video identifies it as growling). When I was watching the video, I noticed the bunny's nose wiggling a lot and the bunny's ears being down. Do bunnies just breathe that way? What do the ears being down mean? Was that just a function of receiving head pets? I know better than to think bunnies are like cats, but if that had been a cat, I would definitely have read it as a distressed animal who wanted soothing, not a spoiled brat.
posted by immlass at 3:03 PM on December 7, 2014


Are normal pet rabbits this cuddly, actually? I always pictured them being more aloof and cat-like.

They're not that cuddly, but they are tenacious. One of my favorite childhood memories is the pet rabbit we had that would, through Houdini-like contortions and genius, escape its cage every night in order to piss and shit on my sleeping brother.

When my parents finally gave up trying to "cage in" its cage, and moved it out of my brother's room, it would spend half the night throwing itself at my brother's door.

That rabbit was awesome.
posted by barchan at 3:09 PM on December 7, 2014 [66 favorites]


Immlass, I think this is a lop-eared breed, so the ears are normally flopped down like that.
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bunny personalities are all over the place. Some love being petted, some don't. The growling is definitely a sign of displeasure, though. The thumping, on the other hand, is usually a signalling method but if it works to get more petting, hey why not?

One of my buns, who we've had for a couple years now, is probably the grumpiest bunny I've ever known. But I've been working with her steadily and today, for the first time, she actually did the "stick your head under the hand" thing to get more petting when I stopped. Moral of the story is you can't exert your will on a bunny.
posted by tommasz at 3:12 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


so I recall reading a while back that the way wolf society works is that the wolves higher up in the social order within a pack demonstrate their position by sharing food with wolves lower down. Because of this, when a human feeds a dog every day, the dog will tend to think "oh, wow, that human is a total boss, I want to do what they say."

Rabbit society works backwards from that; rabbits lower in the hierarchy have to give food as tribute to rabbits higher up. As such, pet rabbits tend to think of humans who feed them every day as being more or less their slaves.

This narrative is a bit simplistic, but nevertheless it seems to help explain this behavior...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


bitter-girl.com: Prey, my tuchis. My ex's rabbit used to headbutt my dachshund off the couch for fun. She'd then chase her around the coffee table like a total jerk.

I did say they don't like to warm up to larger mammals. Your rabbit probably just viewed your dachsund as a ridiculously proportioned competitor. ;^)
posted by surazal at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


immlass, I've only had a couple of rabbits and that was some time ago, but my impression of them was that when distressed they either freeze or flee, so I'd say it wasn't in distress. Also, that wasn't the owner's description in the OP video -- Aster linked the original above.
posted by tavella at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2014


On this page someone says that growling is a bit different for smaller breeds of rabbit.

"Some of the smaller breeds, particularly the Lionhead types, will use it for communication ("I want my treat NOW!"). If I am working with a growling rabbit at the shelter, I use caution. If he is Tigger, our Lionhead, I will nuzzle his nose with mine and tell him to stop."
posted by Kevin Street at 3:15 PM on December 7, 2014


buick: I can't imagine any rabbit, ever, voluntarily giving up food. Stealing it, sure.

The mother will put her chin on top of a kit's head to keep it still - this is why rabbits freeze when you put your hand flat on their heads (useful if you're at the vet), and also why they're handy places to stack pancakes. In adult rabbits, they'll stick their heads under each others chins to demand grooming. This is what's going on here, I think.
posted by Leon at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2014 [18 favorites]


Is this video an ASMR thing? It's got that freaky crackly sound from a microphone with the gain way too high.
posted by Nelson at 3:44 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's nothing I like better than a cantankerous rabbit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:48 PM on December 7, 2014


Thanks for the explanations! I am bunny ignorant and I assumed the bunny really was just anxious for more pets, but it's nice to hear how people know that and how the buns are different from cats (or ferrets, which are the small animal I know the most about).
posted by immlass at 3:48 PM on December 7, 2014


I am disappointed by the lack of pancakes
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:01 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had a bunny who would flop next to my laptop when I was sitting on the ground and lay her head on my hands as I typed. When I ignored her unsubtle pleas for petting, she ripped the s key off the keyboard with her teeth. It was a real "oh my god, I've created a monster" moment.
posted by book 'em dano at 4:02 PM on December 7, 2014 [12 favorites]


book 'em dano: she ripped the s key off the keyboard with her teeth

That an oddly... specific action for a bunny to take. Was it the 'S' key every time? :P
posted by surazal at 4:13 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought she might be trying to tell me something, but all I came up with was "ssssssss". Maybe she was a Parseltongue?
posted by book 'em dano at 4:26 PM on December 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


We had house rabbits for many years. They typically did act like this. They also got along very well with the dog (lab mix). They want face rubs and grooming-like behavior for affection and comfort. They will often nuzzle to get more of what they want, and thump or vocalize for the same, or when they are excited. Actually, when happy-excited, they often hop and get their form of the zoomies. It's all very cute.

What isn't cute is the fact they are a digestive tract wrapped inside of fur. Although in theory you can train them to poop and pee in litter box areas, that's a lot easier said than done. They constantly poop. They also constantly chew. Remote control buttons are a favorite, as is any semi-soft wood, and electrical cords. They are prone to intestinal blockage problems (not due to the remote controls or anything, just life even with a great diet), and if they get very stressed, such as when you try to trim nails or the like, you have to very well hold them or they can jump and twist so hard they break their own back (more typical in the very largest).

Although very cute and cuddly at times, they are basically smaller, smellier, harder to train or control, more chewing-destructive, and modest life-span pets than cats or dogs. Hands down I'd get a cat or dog before a rabbit, and aside from the very short life span, I'd also vastly prefer a rat, which will exhibit the very same behavior as a rabbit as far as cuddling and so forth, but are more trainable and less work due to their size. We've had rats that would come when called and, I kid you not, squeaky-laugh when tickled, begging for more. The poor little rats just don't last long, making them heart breakers.
posted by Muddler at 4:30 PM on December 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


"...I kid you not, squeaky-laugh when tickled, begging for more."

Like this?
posted by Kevin Street at 4:35 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought she might be trying to tell me something

Maybe she wanted escargot?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:42 PM on December 7, 2014


i had a rabbit that was a total dick. like, i would try to take the water bowl out of its cage and the thing would growl and do this pouncing thing. i had never known that rabbits could growl, and i thought that i got some feral angry rabbit. when it got out of its cage it found every wire it could to gnaw through and generally just ruin shit

things got weird when i started a new job where my boss was named the same as the rabbit. so i would be talking about how the rabbit got out of its cage to crawl in my bed and growl at me, and my boss would walk by. that was awkward
posted by angrycat at 4:45 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


buick: I can't imagine any rabbit, ever, voluntarily giving up food.

Well, sure, they wouldn't voluntarily give up food... to the likes of you, peasant.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am not a bunny person, but I do volunteer work in a bunny shelter with probably 200 bunnies or so most of the time, and one of my takeaways just from being around them so much is that their personalities and behavioral quirks vary just about as much as anyone's does.

I've definitely seen bunnies growl and thump like that when they didn't appear to be distressed. I reckon it's just like people with nervous laughs and caustic senses of humor or something. He could also just be really spoiled and is expressing displeasure with the ceasing of scritches.

Like I said, I am not a bunny person, but he doesn't seem too distressed to me despite the superficial distress signals, and in my experience, bunnies who are angry or threatened don't hesitate to bite, so the fact that he doesn't bite is significant too.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


omg I could not keep my bunny caged. He would whack against the bars when I was sleeping and make an unholy racket.

I ended up having to switch rooms because he took over my bedroom.

He was normally pretty chill (if not terribly cuddly), and he would often put himself under my feet so I could pet him while I was on the computer. He did hiss at me when I tried to take away the radio power cable from him, only to electrocute myself - I didn't know whether to be pissed or frightened because when did rabbits hiss aaggghhh
posted by divabat at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have four rabbits, and I can attest that they demand pets from lesser beings. Alice, our largest bunny, will bite if denied pets. Hard. It's a pecking-order thing. Lower bunnies groom higher-ranked bunnies. Alice is lord of the household. She always gets groomed, never grooms. Cooper, on the other hand, will lick you to show fealty.
posted by domo at 5:06 PM on December 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I like that this is published under "News & Politics".
posted by dmh at 5:09 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


A truly ruthless bunn...

ok I'll show myself out
posted by Namlit at 5:12 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Aww. I had a flop eared rabbit as a kid that was litterbox trained and would run and put her head under your hands in expectation of petting.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 5:33 PM on December 7, 2014


I must now molest a sleeping kitty, because I don't have a bunny.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:36 PM on December 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


Well, that sounds completely normal.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:49 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


My only experience with a rabbit was with Brown Buck. He had been a stud at the university research center and was scheduled to be "retired". A neighbor saved him from this fate and adopted him as a pet. He was HUGE, at least 4 or 5 times the body mass of the average house cat. He could gaze peacefully on the front lawn of our apartments and nothing in the neighborhood would dare mess with him. An interesting if somewhat unresponsive pet...
posted by jim in austin at 5:50 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why is the track-suited, bunny-petting dude wearing a surgical mask?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:21 PM on December 7, 2014


Probably Japanese?
posted by bird internet at 6:28 PM on December 7, 2014


Brought back happy memories of my pet bunny, who unfortunately had to be put down last year after a long and happy, cage-less life. I gave her an entire bedroom to run around in for herself and she sure loved that.

She definitely knew how to communicate that she wanted petting by nuzzling my hand or sticking her head under my hand. They make little purring noises when they're content but it's not quite like a cat purr. They're quite smart too and will find a way to get into places you thought were secure.

All in all, they make loving pets but they are heartbreakingly fragile and short-lived. Still, nothing cuter than a cranky bunny!
posted by The Hyacinth Girl at 6:34 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am not a bunny person, but I do volunteer work in a bunny shelter with probably 200 bunnies or so

We've just got your test results back, ernielundquist. You might want to sit down for this.
posted by uosuaq at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2014 [35 favorites]


Lot of good eating on that fussy bun.
posted by angerbot at 6:59 PM on December 7, 2014


Piss off General Woundwort at your peril.
posted by bibliowench at 7:11 PM on December 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Why is the track-suited, bunny-petting dude wearing a surgical mask?

Wearing surgical masks out in public is quite normal in Japan.
posted by misozaki at 7:28 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


After reading through this, I'm now curious how bad a bunny bite is.
posted by barchan at 7:29 PM on December 7, 2014


Rabbits that are kept indoors and treated well live 10-12 years on average.
Pet rabbits are quite easy to litter train- most of them figure it out on their own, especially if they're fixed.
Rabbits are social animals and bond well with, and want affection from, humans. With some exceptions, they don't like to be picked up, but they do like attention.
It is possible for a severe rabbit bite to draw blood, but unless very very distressed they tend to stick to light nipping, which is slightly painful at the most.

It's weird that, even though rabbits are a very popular pet, there are still so many random anecdotes about them passed off as fact, and that people still find it "hilarious" to joke about eating someone's pet.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:47 PM on December 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I wish I coudld go back in time to the early 90s and bring a wireless printer with me to show our then rabbit. "No cords. How do like them apples, fucker?".

My experience of rabbits is that the one thing they have in common is a low frustration threshold and a high degree of neediness. Door closed? I'll just eat my way through it. Bike placed a mildly inconvenient spot? Shred the tires. Puppy getting attention instead of me? Kick puppy to oblivion. Human using pen instead of petting me? Bite pen in half.

Unfortunately we never had a timid rabbit. That would have been nice.
posted by fshgrl at 9:28 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well that's just terrifying.


/Anya Jenkins.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:57 PM on December 7


Is this a cultural reference of some sort? (ahem)

(ps - yay for bunnies!)
posted by it must be bunnies at 3:40 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is this a cultural reference of some sort? (ahem)

Once more, with feeling.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:00 AM on December 8, 2014


Mine used to beat the crap out of our toy poodle and jump in your lap without warning when she wanted attention.
posted by Cocodrillo at 4:02 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Everybody needs a hug.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:25 AM on December 8, 2014


Bunnies can bite so hard they take chunks of flesh. I have scars from Alice. She's unusually aggressive for a rabbit. As she's gotten older she has mellowed and hardly ever breaks skin now. I think this has more to do with the level of freaking out (ie. screaming and dropping the rabbit) that takes place after a severe bite than a reluctance to do harm. She'll leave a baseball-sized bruise if you hold her down to give medicine or clip her nails or clean her glands. We've gotten better at avoiding her bites, but it still happens every once in a while. Right now, she is a week into a month-long treatment for parasites. Once a day, we have to hold the hellbeast and force a syringe of foul-tasting medicine down her gullet. I might post pictures of the latest wounds.
posted by domo at 5:50 AM on December 8, 2014


The thing is also, if you think cats are weird, Bunnys are CRAZY. They hopple about being all cute and wham, bite you in your foot, or start humping it, or soak you in urine because they love you, or they just drop dead, carrot in mouth. Unpredictable fluff, in my experience.
posted by Namlit at 6:25 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always pictured them being more aloof and cat-like.

This is being cat-like. This is almost exactly what my cats do.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:01 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


...Yeah. I think I'll just stick with cats, thanks.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 3:07 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


A friend's housemate had a bunny that when it wasn't chewing through every cable in sight, including the power cable for his brand new MacBook Pro and the speaker cables of his B&O sound system, would be jumping into someone's lap and soaking them with quite another kind of bodily fluid.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:27 PM on December 8, 2014


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