Easter Bunnies Behaving Badly?

Date Released: 
06/03/2004

Rabbits have increased in number to be the UK’s third most popular pet. Not only do owners now want the same level of veterinary care for their rabbit as they expect for a dog or cat, but they also hope to have a perfect relationship with their pet.

From time to time, however, behavioural problems can develop that need some expertise to resolve. The rise in popularity of rabbits that live in the house has led to a string of problems associated with litter training and destruction. Many rabbits, both indoor and outdoor, can also become aggressive and unable to be handled. This often leaves the owners with no option but to leave the rabbit alone - heartbreaking for the owner and not very good for an animal as sociable as the rabbit. In more extreme cases, rabbits are rehomed or even put to sleep for behaviour problems.

The domestication of the rabbit has been quite recent and its behavioural repertoire corresponds closely to that of the wild species. The lack of understanding of rabbit behaviour by owners can sometimes lead to the provision of an inadequate environment or inappropriate care and resultant behaviour problems.

“Behaviour counselling presents a real option to both owners and the rabbit and the results are just as good as with cats and dogs. Treatment is even covered by most pet insurance policies!” said Donna Brander, Chairman of the APBC (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors).

The APBC comprises a network of experienced and professional behaviour counsellors who are able to offer the time and expertise necessary to help owners with problem pets. Three of its members, who are experts in rabbit behaviour, have set up the Rabbit Behaviour Advisory Group and hold clinics in London, Southampton and Ipswich. For rabbit owners that do not have access to one of these clinics, telephone consultations are available.

Owners who want help with their rabbit can contact the APBC or Rabbit Behaviour Advisory Group: e-mail: info [at] apbc [dot] org [dot] uk, Tel: 01386 751151, www.apbc.org.uk, or e-mail EMagnus [at] rabbitbehaviour [dot] co [dot] uk, Tel: 07721 062455 or 07974 4219765, www.rabbitbehaviour.co.uk.

CONTACT: Emma Magnus, Tel: 07721 062455 or Georgie Hearne, Tel: 07974 4219765 at the Rabbit Advisory Group or Inga MacKellar, APBC Press Officer: Tel: 01323 870558, e-mail: inga [at] petbehaviour [dot] co [dot] uk