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I hit/spank my rabbit

22 10:18:59

QUESTION: Hey Dr. Krempels,
I have this habit of spanking/hitting my rabbit.  I have my reasons for doing it, so it's not like I'm just hitting her for the heck of it.  I want to know what the rabbit see me as after I hit her a few times.  Will she be scared of me forever? Will she trust me again? Did I make her scared of humans in general?

When I hit her, I would hold her down to my lap then hit her. She would try to escape but I wouldn't let her, so i hold on to her tight.  Afterwards, I hear her making some squeeky noise then she bit me. Does that mean that she was frightened?
I do love my rabbit. I try my hardest not to hit/spank her and force things on her.  I'm just worried that she won't see me as the "owner" that takes care of her anymore. As of now, I feel like she sees me as a stranger that she just want to get away from.

Thanks for your time.

ANSWER: Dear Dylan,

What you are doing is best classified as animal cruelty.  You must STOP this sick behavior immediately.  Spanking a rabbit will not only hurt her physically, but psychologically.  She may already see you as an enemy.  Spanking will NOT deter her from undesirable behaviors, and it will make her hate and fear you forever.  STOP THIS NOW.

There is NO WAY ON EARTH that a rabbit could do something bad enough to warrant the type of torture to which you are subjecting that poor bunny.  I would be very surprised if she would forgive you for holding her down and spanking her, even though she is trying to escape and *crying out*.  Good lord!!!  What kind of force are you using on her?!?  This is one of the most cruel things I have ever heard anyone freely admit to doing.

What on *earth* makes you spank her?  From your description, it sounds as if you do this randomly, just to show her "who's boss."  If this is the case, then the best thing I can suggest to you is to give your bunny to a person who will not abuse her, and PLEASE get some  counseling for yourself to see why you feel a need to physically abuse a helpless little animal.

Bottom line:  NEVER NEVER STRIKE HER AGAIN.  IT IS THE VERY WORST AND MOST CRUEL THING YOU CAN DO, ESPECIALLY THE WAY YOU DESCRIBE IT--HOLDING HER DOWN AND HITTING HER. What on earth would make you do that?  My mind is simply reeling from this.  It will not make her obey you or see you as "the owner."  It will make her full of hate and fear, and scar her for life.  STOP.

I wish I could come and rescue your rabbit.  If you cannot control your desire to hit her, then PLEASE find a home for her where she will not be abused.  Perhaps you may not mean to be cruel, but if this--as you put it--a "habit" that you cannot control, you must get your rabbit to a safe place and get treatment for yourself before you do something you will regret forever.

I hope this will help you do the right thing.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I wish my rabbit has a better owner too. I love her, I really do. She's the cutest thing ever, all white with blue eyes.
After spanking her and forcing things on her, I don't understand why she still licks me.  Not just that, she licks me MORE than ever... which I find to be very weird though. Do you have any thoughts on this cause I'm not understanding this behavior? Or is it just that rabbits don't have a long span memory (as in they live for the moment, then forget everything in the past)? I have observed her today, and I noticed in her eyes that she is scared when a person approached her.  I guess it's my fault she's this way, but I'm going to try my hardest to treat her better. What I did was awful but she still comes to me, and from the looks of things, I'm guessing she still loves me.  Now, I come to appreciate her loyalty cause I know not every rabbits are like her.

Here's a pic of her: Photobucket

ANSWER: Dear Dylan,

I'm glad you are receptive to my message, but saying "I will try to treat her better" is not enough.  YOU MUST NEVER STRIKE HER OR ABUSE HER AGAIN, IN ANY WAY.  

Yes, she's fearful of humans.  And that's because she has been abused.  Stop the horrible behavior now, and she will eventually lose the fear.

I, too, am amazed that she still licks you after this, but it could be because she is very young and afraid, and hopes that you will stop the torture.

I know you will NEVER RAISE A HAND TO HER AGAIN, and be completely kind and gentle to her FROM NOW ON.  You must never, never, never physically hit a rabbit.  Not only will she become fearful, you could kill her.  She is very small, and no sweet little creature like her deserves to be struck, EVER.

DO THE RIGHT THING.  If you cannot stop abusing her, then give her to someone else, where she will be safe.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: hey Dr. Krempels,
I am sure that my rabbit have reached sexual maturity because she is at least 6 months old... that i am sure.  The hateful thing is aggressive now.  she bit me today and I bleed.  now i have a fear of getting rabies. it scared me, and my siblings.  I threw a few sandals at her and she started growling at one of it.  I was in the garage and she just stands there w/ her tail aimed up and wait till someone went out.  when i stepped out a few steps, she ran towards me so i slammed the door at her.  

she used to be cute, and now she is mean, aggressive, and less lovable.  my family does not want a bunny that will bite. i plan on giving her back to the feed store so someone can have some use on her.  i love her, but if she's gonna be aggressive, i swear i will throw another sandal in her face.

i stopped abusing her the last time i sent u this message.  but now, she claims everything to be hers. i picked up her litter basket so i can wash it, and she ran after me.  i picked up a dust bin and she ran after me wanting to jump up after it. i am really pissed off at her right now.
in fact, i feel like going outside and throw another sandal at her. i think she needs to be discipline and knows the rules around here. by the way, i dont wish on spaying her cuz i have financial issues right now. i hope she doesnt get too stressed out and becomes sick again.

do u suggest i give her back to the feed store? no one else wants her, and i dont have time to give her to the rabbit rescue (which i know is far away) since cuz the feed store is a walking distance from my house.

another thing, when i threw sandals at her, does she actually know that i am the one throwing it at her? or does she thinks it's the sandal that hits her?

I just realized I had put myself on hiatus, and you cannot access me via the AllExperts site.  If you wish to respond for help in placing your rabbit, please write to me directly at




You do NOT have the temperament to have a pet.  Please get this rabbit to a safe home.  She needs to be spayed to be calm, but the way you have treated her so far makes it no wonder that she hates and fears you.

If you tell me your general geographic area, I can put you in touch with a local rabbit rescue and the people might be able to come pick her up.  Please do not subject her to one more minute of this abuse.  She is an innocent animal and deserves better than what you have given her.

Please let me know approximately where you are, and I will contact local rabbit rescuers who can come get the rabbit.

STOP throwing things at her.  It is cruel and horrible, and will make things worse.  She is mean because you have been cruel to her, and if you continue this road, it can only lead to tragedy.  I wish I could come get her myself.  If you are anywhere near me, I will do just that.  Just let me know.