Can Rabbits Die Of Fright?

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A brown rabbit frighted. Can rabbits die of fright

Last Updated on July 25, 2021 by Rei

While it doesn’t happen often, rabbits can die of a heart attack induced by being frightened. Wild rabbits usually die of a heart attack 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 a heart attack 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?

A rabbit that's about to be eaten by a predator.

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 sounds

Loud sounds can induce shock and kill a rabbit. Heavy machinery, fireworks, gunshots, and even a barking dog could trigger a rabbit to go into shock.

If your place is prone to loud sounds, consider letting your rabbit free roam. Most of the time, when a rabbit is startled by a loud unfamiliar sound, it would run away from it extremely fast.

Preventing your rabbit from doing 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 doesn’t like unfamiliar things because they are unsure if they would be killed by them.

If your rabbits are prone to being scared of unfamiliar things, people, and animals, you need to adjust to it and introduce it to your rabbits slowly.

You can also just let your rabbit ran away from any unfamiliar things that scares her. This way, your rabbit can make themself feel that they’ve run away from what they perceived as a danger to them which would help calm them down.


Predators are the biggest fear of rabbits. Their instinct would sound all the alarm bells in their body if they think that they’re 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 rabbits predators:

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Birds of prey(Owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, and crows)
  • Snakes
  • Fox
  • Weasels
  • Racoons

If your area is prone to these predators, you should keep an eye on your rabbits whenever you let them out. You should also train your dogs and cats to not harm your rabbits.

How to prevent your rabbits from dying of fright?

A scared rabbit trapped inside its cage

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 frighted 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 gonna 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 for the worse.

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 a heart attack induced by fright. Wild rabbits often die this way when they’re about to get eaten by a predator.

But, if your rabbit is frighted by 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 so terrified of fireworks.


Rabbits can definitely die of fright which is usually caused by loud sounds, predators, and unfamiliar things, people, and animals. A rabbit that’s in shock due to being frightened would not immediately die of a heart attack, 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 + the feeling of being trapped would exacerbate the fear.

So if you’re 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.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (November 14, 2021) Can Rabbits Die Of Fright?. Retrieved from
"Can Rabbits Die Of Fright?." Bunny Horde - November 14, 2021,