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Rebellious Rabbits

By: Margie Wilson

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Rabbit behavior changes as the rabbit matures. A baby rabbit is adorable-cute and cuddly – and she sits quietly in your lap. Cherish these months. In fact, take a picture, because it doesn't last long.

"I just don't understand her!"

Around 3 to 4 months of age, the baby grows into a "teenager," and then the hormones start to rage. This causes your dear sweet bunny to become aggressive, often biting, spraying urine, tearing at her cage or your clothing, destroying your towels, furniture, or electrical cords. These behaviors are the normal, progressive stages in a rabbit's growth cycle. They will often circle your feet as in mating behavior and spray urine, much like cats, during this maturing process.

The maturing process causes havoc for the bunny owner. Spaying or neutering your bunny will help tremendously. Besides reducing the overpopulation problem, altering your rabbit halts the bad behavior they show as they sexually mature.

Unfortunately, many rabbits are given up to shelters during this "teenage" phase by owners who just do not understand rabbit behavior. Parents of young children, who bought the adorable Easter bunny in the spring, now find themselves with a "monster." They find their children can no longer pick up, let alone carry, their bunny.

Rabbits also tend to lose their litter training during this "rebel" period, and this is unacceptable for many owners. Sadly for the rabbits, they are often dumped at shelters or, worse, in the wild, only to be killed by cars, predators, or to succumb to the elements.

Parents, understandably, do not want a rabbit that bites their children. This is one major reason rabbits are not good pets for young children. Once spayed or neutered, your bunny will settle down, however, remember her litter box habits, and become calm again. But she will not be as cuddly and docile as she was before.

When Older is Not Only Wiser, but Better

Often, the best rabbit for a home is an older one. Rabbits over a year are generally much calmer. If you adopt one from a humane society, shelter, or rescue group, you will not have to go through the baby stages and the changes in behavior, but you will see exactly what you are getting. Older rabbits are much easier to train, and much easier for parents of children, especially. These rabbits are very rarely, if ever, returned to the shelter.

So before deciding on a rabbit, it pays to learn and be prepared for their life cycle. If you know what to expect, you are well on your way to developing a loving and understanding relationship with your bunny.

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