Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by Rei Garnet
While it doesn’t happen often, rabbits can die from cardiac arrest induced by being frightened. Wild rabbits usually die of cardiac arrest shortly after being captured by a predator.
The same thing can happen to a pet rabbit. While pet rabbits are protected from predators, they can still die of cardiac arrest induced by loud sounds (fireworks, gunshots, loud machinery, etc.), predators (dogs, cats, raccoons, etc.), and sometimes even unfamiliar things or people.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can die of fright:
What frightens a rabbit?
In order to prevent your rabbits from dying of fright, you must first know what exactly frightens a rabbit.
Here are the most common causes of fright in rabbits:
Loud noises can induce shock and kill a rabbit. Heavy machinery, fireworks, gunshots, and even a barking dog could trigger a rabbit to go into shock.
Preventing your rabbit from acting on its instinct to run away would make their shock worse because they would feel trapped and unable to run away to safety.
Unfamiliar things, people, and animals.
Being prey animals, rabbits rely on familiarity to determine if the situation is safe. Rabbits don’t like unfamiliar things because they are unsure if they will be killed by them.
If your rabbits are prone to being scared of unfamiliar things, people, or animals, you need to adjust to it and introduce it to them slowly.
You can also just let your rabbit run away from any unfamiliar things that scare her. This way, your rabbit can make themselves feel that they’ve run away from what they perceive as a danger to themselves, which would help calm them down.
Predators are the biggest fear of rabbits. Their instincts would sound all the alarm bells in their bodies if they thought that they were in danger from one.
While pet rabbits are well protected from the comfort of our home, common pets like dogs and cats can still frighten a rabbit, especially if it’s untrained.
Here are the most common rabbit predators:
- Birds of prey (owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, and crows)
How to prevent your rabbits from dying of fright?
While the best way to prevent your rabbits from dying of fright is to remove the things that scare them in the first place, sometimes it’s unavoidable.
The best way to prevent your rabbits from dying of fright is to let them free-roam. A rabbit that’s frightened and trapped is the most likely to die from fright.
So if your rabbit is enclosed in a cage and you expect that there’s going to be a fireworks show tonight, consider letting your rabbit free roam for the time being.
That way, when they do get frightened, they can run away to wherever they feel is safe. This in turn would at least give them some kind of comfort that they’re not trapped in the situation.
You can also try to muffle the loud sound as much as you can. You can try closing all the windows and playing some background music to muffle the sound.
Also, keeping your rabbit busy by playing with them and providing treats can help distract them from the noise that scares them. Finally, consult your veterinarian if things go south.
How long does it take for a rabbit to die of fright?
If the rabbit is currently dying at the hand of a predator, then it could immediately die of cardiac arrest induced by fright. Wild rabbits often die this way when they’re about to be eaten by a predator.
But, if your rabbit is terrified of fireworks, for example, then it could take hours for the rabbit to die. An example would be this rabbit that died 12 hours later after being terrified of fireworks.
Rabbits can definitely die of fright, which is usually caused by loud sounds, predators, unfamiliar things, people, and animals. A rabbit that’s in shock due to being frightened would not immediately die of cardiac arrest. It could take hours for a rabbit to die of fright.
To prevent your rabbit from dying of fright, you should let them free roam so that they can run away to where they think it’s safe. A frightened rabbit plus the feeling of being trapped would exacerbate the fear.
So if your rabbit is locked in a cage and you’re expecting a fireworks display, consider letting your rabbit free roam for the night.
You can also close all the windows and turn some music on to try to muffle the loud sounds as much as possible.
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