Last Updated on April 10, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Rabbits that are fighting suddenly are a lot of concern, especially if the rabbits are both males.
Male rabbits tend to fight more often than compared to females or opposite genders. This is due to hormones kicking in at around 4 months old.
Two male rabbits could even kill each other if they are both unneutered. Male rabbit fights can lead to gruesome injuries that can lead to blood loss or infection.
So if you do have two male rabbits, you might want to read on.
In this article, I will be discussing the different reasons why your rabbit might be fighting suddenly. I would also discuss what you can do if your rabbit does fight.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
If your rabbit is neutered or spayed,
The main reason rabbits get neutered or spayed is to reduce the amount of hormones in their bodies. Hormones are what compel them to be territorial and aggressive with each other.
If your rabbit is already neutered or spayed but is still fighting, it’s best to consult a veterinarian because it could be a medical issue. A rabbit that is ill or unwell can act out aggressively due to pain and discomfort.
If your rabbit is fighting due to a painful illness, you can look for additional symptoms like:
- Appetite change
- Rapid breathing
- Loud tooth grinding
- Low energy
- High-pitched noise
If you notice any of these symptoms, separate your rabbits and bring the sick one to a veterinarian. Find one that specializes in rabbits.
Additionally, stress could also lead to your rabbit fighting all of a sudden, even when they’re already neutered or spayed. Here are the most common reasons why your rabbit might be stressed:
- Scarce food or other resources.
- Moving to a new home or enclosure.
- Health issues
- Inadequate exercise
- Small cage
- Introducing a new, unfamiliar rabbit
Finally, it could also just happen without any reason. Bonded pairs can sometimes “break up” and fight. If this is the case, then separate them for a couple of weeks and attempt to re-bond them.
If your rabbit is not neutered or spayed,
If your rabbit is not neutered or spayed and is fighting, then consider getting them neutered or spayed. Hormones that causes aggression can start in as early as 4 months.
Male rabbits are more prone to territorial aggression. This is due to hormones that will compel them fight for their territory.
Female rabbits, while uncommon, can still be as aggressive as male rabbits.
You can prevent a lot of unwanted behavior by neutering or spaying your rabbits, like:
Whatever gender your rabbits are, it’s much better to get them neutered or spayed. Doing so would save you a lot of headaches in the future because you won’t have to worry about the two of them fighting.
How do you know if your rabbit is fighting?
Rabbits that are fighting can be confusing sometimes because it can be mistaken for them playing. The main difference between a playing and a fighting rabbit is that it would seem like an instant and deliberate attack.
Rabbits that are fighting would likely target the face area and genitals. If you often find wounds in that area, it’s best that you separate your rabbits temporarily.
You can always re-bond them after finding the cause of their problem.
Here’s an example of two rabbits fighting:
As you can see from the video, fighting rabbits are more aggressive towards each other. Their attacks are more deliberate. They use their paws and back feet to quickly injure their opponent.
As a comparison, here’s an example of two rabbits that are playing:
Rabbits usually fight to assert dominance or when they are protecting their territory. Dominance and territorial fighting in rabbits are most common in male unneutered rabbits.
Female rabbits will usually fight when they’re pregnant or trying to protect their kits. It’s also common for rabbits that are close to their due date to be more aggressive.
Is it normal for bonded rabbits to fight?
Fights between two already bonded and neutered/spayed rabbits can randomly happen. But make sure that they are healthy and that the fight is not a normal occurrence.
If your rabbit is still fighting constantly after trying everything, it could be a medical issue. Bring your rabbit to a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
If it’s a one-time occurrence, then simply separate them for a few weeks and re-bond them. Most of the time, already bonded rabbits can have a “break up” where they fight, and after a separation period, they will re-bond.
Can rabbits kill each other?
Yes, rabbits can kill each other. This often happens when two unneutered or spayed rabbits are enclosed together. While it can also happen with two female rabbits, it’s less common compared to male rabbits.
Rabbits fighting to the death are usually because of the difference in their personalities. Some rabbits are naturally more territorial and aggressive than others.
In addition, rabbit fighting could also be due to the difference in rabbits’ ages and sizes.
Can male rabbits fight to the death?
Male rabbits can fight and injure each other enough to kill them. This mostly happens when two unneutered or spayed rabbits are enclosed together in a single cage.
Male unneutered rabbits are often territorial. Also, male rabbits would often fight to establish themselves as the dominant males in their group.
So, if you cage two unneutered rabbits together, they will likely fight until one of them establishes dominance over the other rabbit.
The most likely reason for a rabbit to die from fighting is injuries. Rabbits’ claws and teeth are sharp enough to puncture the skin. If the injury is bad enough, the other rabbit could bleed to death.
Also, rabbits’ claws and teeth are full of bacteria. If the wound is not cleaned properly after the fight, it could become infected, which, if not treated, could kill a rabbit.
Here’s an example of injuries sustained from two rabbits fighting:
As you can see, the injuries sustained from fighting can lead to a lot of lost blood.
How to stop your rabbits from fighting?
If your rabbits are fighting, immediately separate them until you can find out what the problems are. If your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, then it’s probably hormonal-related aggression.
If your rabbits are both neutered or spayed and have already bonded in the past, you should still separate them for a few weeks and then try to re-bond them.
Sometimes, even bonded rabbits can fight, but they usually bounce back and re-bond after the temporary separation.
If nothing is working, then it’s time to go to a veterinarian for a professional opinion because it could be a medical issue or your rabbit might be in pain. A veterinarian can spot this issue better than us rabbit owners.
Rabbit fighting can vary in reason. Some are fighting because they are not neutered or spayed.
That’s why it’s important that you neuter or spay your rabbit before attempting the bonding process. This is especially true for two male rabbits, who can end up killing each other if they are both aggressive.
While uncommon, two female rabbits could also fight, depending on the rabbit’s level of aggression. That’s why it’s important that you neuter or spay your rabbit regardless of gender. It could save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Finally, rabbits can also fight randomly, even if they are already neutered or spayed. If your rabbit does fight, simply separate them for a few weeks, then re-bond them.
If that doesn’t work, then bring your rabbit to a veterinarian because it could be a medical issue. Aggression can also be due to pain or illness.
Cite this article:
Sources and Further reading
- Buseth, Marit Emilie., and Richard A. Saunders. Rabbit Behaviour, Health, and Care. CABI, 2014.
- Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.
Read our latest posts