Is It Okay To Hold A Rabbit Like A Baby?

Categorized as Bunny Facts Tagged

Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Rei Garnet

You should never hold a rabbit on its back because they could panic and break their spine while thrashing. Rabbits on their backs would enter a state of trance called tonic immobility, or “playing dead.”

They do this as a defense mechanism while being eaten by a predator. Doing this to your rabbits intentionally is not only cruel but outright dangerous.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why you should not hold a rabbit like a baby:

Can you hold a rabbit like a baby?

Holding a rabbit on its back like a baby
CC0 Public Domain

You should never hold your rabbit on its back or like a baby.

In order to understand why you should never hold a rabbit on its back or like a baby, we must first discuss how a rabbit survives in the wild.

A rabbit’s primary method of surviving in the wild is by running away.

If you hold a rabbit in its back like a baby, you’re essentially taking away the only survival tactic they have by removing their four feet from the ground.

If you hold a rabbit on its back, your rabbit will enter a state of trance called “tonic immobility.”. Rabbit trance is a defense mechanism that allows a rabbit to escape the horror of being eaten by a predator.

Tonic immobility is also sometimes called “playing dead.”

Doing this voluntarily to your rabbit is not only cruel but also dangerous. Your rabbit could break their back if they suddenly panic and thrash.

What would happen if you hold a rabbit like a baby?

A grey baby rabbit being held on its back like a baby
Little Grey Bunny” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Mike Procario

A rabbit that’s being held like a baby or on its back would enter a state of trance called “tonic immobility”. They do this to lessen the pain that they think they would experience while being eaten by a predator.

They also do this so that predators that only play with their food and do not actually eat it will think that they are dead.

You see, rabbits on their backs is not a natural state for them to be in. Wild rabbits will always have all four feet on the ground so that they can run away at the first sign of danger.

The only time wild rabbits would be on their backs is when being eaten by a predator.

Intentionally putting your rabbit on its back to enter a trance is not only cruel but also dangerous. Rabbits have sensitive spines that can easily break.

If your rabbit suddenly panics while being put in this position, they can thrash and break their back. Rabbits with a broken back would never survive that injury.

Can rabbits die if you hold them like a baby?

While putting them on their back would not kill them, your rabbit could panic while you’re doing this and could end up injuring themselves.

There are a lot of stories from rabbit owners where their pets thrash so hard that they break their backs and die. The same can happen to your rabbit if you put them in an unnatural position, like holding them like a baby.

The only time wild rabbits would be in their back is when they are being eaten by a predator. Your rabbit would likely panic if you hold them this way.

How to properly hold your rabbit?

Explaining how to hold your rabbit using a text is not really effective in my opinion. I’ll just attach a video on how to do it.

Just remember that you need to hold your rabbit’s feet at all times while lifting them up.

Remember, rabbit’s main defense mechanism is to run away. Never make them feel like they can’t run away by removing their feet from anything solid.

Here’s a video on how to properly hold your rabbit:

Conclusion

You should never hold your rabbit on its back or like a baby.

If you do, your rabbit will enter a state of trance called “tonic immobility”.

Rabbit trance is a defense mechanism that allows a rabbit to escape the horror of being eaten by a predator.

Intentionally putting your rabbit on its back to enter a trance is not only cruel but also dangerous.

Wild rabbits will always have all four feet on the ground so that they can run away at the first sign of danger.

Your rabbit would likely panic if you hold them this way.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (December 8, 2022) Is It Okay To Hold A Rabbit Like A Baby?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/holding-a-rabbit-like-a-baby/.
"Is It Okay To Hold A Rabbit Like A Baby?." Bunny Horde - December 8, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/holding-a-rabbit-like-a-baby/

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.