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Random bites

22 11:33:36

Hi Dr. Krempels! I just have a few questions about my 3 year old male Holland Lop bunny.

1. I just got him from his previous owner a month ago. He is the best bunny ever. He has never bit me before and according to his previous owner, he doesn't bite at all. However, my bunny has bit my father twice already. The first time was before he was neutered, my bunny was climbing and licking my dad's leg while he was reading the newspaper. Then all of a sudden he bit my dad's leg. The second time was after he has been neutered (two days ago), my dad was playing with him and my bunny just suddenly bit his hand. Both my mom and I have also extensive contact with the bunny, but he has never bit either one of us. The bites are not nips as they do hurt a lot (according to my dad). Can you explain his behavior?

2. My bunny has a spot in the cage he likes to poop and pee at (there is no litter box). But he also likes to pee and poop on the towel I put in the cage for him to lay on. Pooping is not such a problem as I can just brush it off, but pee on the towel always requires washing and it can get excessive. Do you think it is related to him not being neutered. If so, now that he has recently been neutered, will he stop peeing on the towel soon?

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.


Dear Sandy,

Holland Lops are notoriously dominant in personality, and your little guy may see your dad as a challenger.  They *definitely* can tell males from female humans!  The very worst thing to do is meet the bites or nips with aggression.  Rabbits do NOT respond to negative conditioning, and any punishment will make the bunny more aggressive and sullen.  The best thing to do when he bites is to cuddle and love him even *more*.  He will interpret this as your father's willingness to let him be a partner, and not feel your father is a threat.

The biting should calm down in a few weeks, once his hormones start to settle down.  But in the meantime, be sure to give him tons of love and meet any little bit of aggression with more love and cuddles.  Rabbits are odd that say.

Your bunny has no litterbox, so he has chosen the towel as his litterbox.  Rabbits like an absorbant place to pee, so this was a natural choice.  I'd recommend that you get a litterbox, fill it with pelleted sawdust litter (e.g., Feline Pine), place the dirty towel in the box so he'll get the idea, and gradually train him to pee in the litterbox.  Launder the towel and place it away from any corner of the cage, since placing it in a corner will invite peeing.

Your bunny is naturally litterbox trained, which is why he's using the towel.  So the sooner you switch to a good litterbox (putting some fresh timothy hay in it for him to much will help him sit there and relax while doing his business), the better.  More tips here:

Hope that helps!