Why Does My Rabbit Run Away From Me?

Categorized as Bunny Facts Tagged

Last Updated on January 4, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Rabbits are prey animals and are some of the most easily scared animals on the planet. That’s why most rabbits often get spooked by sudden movements or sounds that are new to them.

Therefore, rabbit owners need to be patient with their pets, especially at the start.

The same thing happened to me when I got my first rabbit. I remembered being frustrated that they often just want to do their own thing and be left alone.

I thought rabbits liked to be cuddled and picked up. But that is the furthest from the truth.

Rabbits actually hate being picked up(which is not their fault!).

In this article, I will be discussing the different causes why your rabbit seems to be ignoring or running away from you. I will also touch on what’s normal rabbit behavior and what’s not normal.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Why is your rabbit scared of you all of a sudden?

Why is your rabbit scared of you all of a sudden?

Rabbits are one of the most easily spooked animals on the planet. Even my rabbits Tyr and Freya who is with me for a few years now would get spooked when I suddenly move.

The reason for this behavior is because rabbits are prey animals and they need to react to any sudden movements or else, in the wild, they die.


Use treats to your advantage during the bonding process. You can use treats or hay-based pellets to lure your rabbits into a cuddling/grooming sessions.

You unintentionaly hurt your rabbit.

You may have unintentionally hurt your rabbit by holding them the wrong way or they hurt themself while thrashing when you picked them up.

This is very common to new rabbit owners because they like to hold and pick up their rabbits. But rabbits are very fragile and are easily injured.

That’s why rabbit owners need to be extra mindful when holding or picking them up to avoid hurting them and prolonging the bonding process.

Your rabbit is not feeling well.

When your rabbit is not feeling well, they would usually try to hide or seem uninterested in playing. This behavior is especially true for rabbits who have digestive problems like diarrhea or gastrointestinal stasis.

Rabbit owners need to be aware of these behaviors because the two I mentioned are fatal to rabbits if left untreated. But suddenly getting scared of you is accompanied by other symptoms like:

  • Appetite changes
  • Changes in fecal output
  • Changes in posture
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Difficulty eating

When you noticed this behavior, immediately bring your rabbits to a veterinarian just to be safe.

Your rabbit is not neutered.

Rabbits that are not neutered are prone to having hormone-related behaviors that include suddenly changing moods. This behavior is especially true for female rabbits but is not uncommon for both genders.

You can usually spot that this is the reason by observing for additional behaviors:

  • loss of previously good litterbox habits
  • spraying urine (a sign of love, but still…)
  • mounting/humping of objects such as toys or your unsuspecting head
  • growling and boxing
  • territorial biting/nipping
  • aggressive/possessive lunging and biting
  • circling and honking
  • destructive chewing and digging (especially in females)

Source: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/spay.html

Why does your rabbit run away from you when you try to pet him?

Why does your rabbit run away from you when you try to pet him?

Most rabbits don’t like to be touched because they are naturally prey animals. In the wild, once another animal “touched” then it’s game over.

That’s why when you suddenly touch them when they are not looking or ready, they suddenly get spooked. That’s their instinct kicking in.

You touched your rabbit in the wrong place.

Another reason why your rabbit runs away when you try to pet them is that you touched them in the wrong place. Rabbits don’t like to be touched in the neck, mouth, and stomach area and would usually run when you touched them in that area.

To avoid spooking your rabbits when you want to pet them, stick to petting them in their head and back. Rabbits like those areas the most.

Your rabbit is injured.

Rabbits that are injured or in pain do not like to be touched. Unlike dogs or other domesticated animals where they would usually cry when they are hurt, rabbits do not have an obvious sign when they are injured.

That’s why rabbit owners need to be observant when it comes to their pet’s behavior. But injured rabbits usually have a combination of symptoms other than aggression when touched.

This includes:

  • Low energy
  • Aggression
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low appetite
  • High-pitched squeals
  • Loud tooth grinding

Your rabbit wants to explore.

Experts believe that the best environment for rabbits is the one that mimics what they have in the wild. And rabbits in the wild run around freely, going where they want whenever they want.

That’s why, when your rabbit doesn’t seem to like to cuddle, usually, they just want to explore your place and play on their own. This behavior is more common when the rabbit is in a new environment.

When your rabbit wants to explore and run around, you should let them and never force your rabbit to cuddle with you. Forcing your rabbit to do anything would just scare them and in turn, prolong the bonding process.


Never rush your rabbit to come and play with you. Instead, hold a treat and let them come to you.

Why does your rabbit run away when you try to pick him up?

Why does your rabbit run away from you when you try to pet him?

Rabbits don’t like to be picked up because in the wild, once a predator animal “picked” them up(usually with the predator’s mouth) it’s game over for the rabbit.

Furthermore, it could also be that your rabbit has an injury and is in pain whenever you try to pick them up. If you notice any additional odd behavior like refusing to eat, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian just to be safe.

Finally, if you want to pick up your rabbit, be very careful that you hold them properly because rabbits are prone to thrashing when picked up. Thrashing could lead to serious injuries like sprain, or worse, you could drop them.

Make sure that you’re holding them properly before getting up and risk dropping them.

Why does your rabbit run and hide from you?

Why does your rabbit run and hide from you?

Your rabbit may hide and run away from you when he/she is not yet used to you or doesn’t trust you yet. Don’t worry though because this behavior is very common especially when you just got your rabbit.

Just let them hide and be familiar with your place, and after a while, provide them with some treats to start training them to trust you.

In addition, remember to never force your rabbit to play with you especially at the start. Rabbits are prey creatures and are easily scared of just about everything. Forcing them to do anything would just prolong the time they start to trust you.

Your rabbit is in a new or unfamiliar environment.

Rabbits that are in an unfamiliar environment would tend to hide and be easily spooked by any sudden movements and loud sounds.

When they are in this period of getting to know the place, rabbit owners should be patient and just let their rabbits explore on their own or let them do whatever they want.

When you try to force your rabbit to do anything when they are in this period of getting to know your place, it would just scare them even more and prolong the process.

Don’t worry though because once they are familiar with their place, they will be dashing everywhere and be very playful.

Your rabbit is just being themselves.

Rabbits naturally want to hide and run away at everything because they are naturally prey. A lot of inexperienced rabbit owners would get frustrated because they expect their rabbits to be very affectionate like a cat or a dog.

Rabbits owners need to understand that rabbits want to be left alone except when they want food. They don’t like to be handled or picked up.

How do you stop your rabbit from running away?

How do you stop your rabbit from running away?

Rabbits at the start are very cautious and would likely run away from you if try to play with them. One thing you can do to gain your rabbit’s trust is to give them the space they need and wait for them to come to you.

After they come to you on their own terms, give them some treats to show them that you are not a threat. Remember, no sudden movements or loud noises because rabbits are easily spooked, especially at the beginning of your relationship.

This bonding process would usually take weeks so be patient and never rush your rabbit to bond. Don’t worry because all that effort is definitely worth it.

It’s a special kind of bond when a prey animal trusts you. Rabbits are one of the sweetest pets to have once they trust you.


Rabbits naturally don’t want to be picked up and would likely thrash and risk injuring themselves if you force them to do anything. The reason for this behavior is that rabbits are prey animals, and they need to be alert to survive.

To safely gain your rabbit’s trust, you need to have patience and let your rabbit naturally come to you on its own terms. Forcing your rabbit to play or cuddle with you would just prolong the bonding process.

You can speed up the bonding process with the help of treats. Rabbits love treats and would likely come to you on their own if they smell that you have one.

Lastly, your rabbit may be running away from you because they are in pain or sick. Rabbit owners need to be aware of any sudden changes in their rabbit’s behavior because unlike a cat or a dog where they would make a sound to tell that something is wrong, a rabbit would just stay silent.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (January 28, 2022) Why Does My Rabbit Run Away From Me?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/run-away/.
"Why Does My Rabbit Run Away From Me?." Bunny Horde - January 28, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/run-away/


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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.