Handling of a rabbit

Forget the magician’s stunt of pulling a rabbit out of the hat by its ears. It is extremely cruel!! You should pat them gently. Put your hand under the chest holding each foreleg separately between thumb and two fingers and with the other hand support the rump. Then cradle the bunny against your body. Remember, that they are delicate and fragile animals (poor backs) .


  • You must move slowly and talk quietly around your rabbits, to avoid startling them. This will make any interactions less stressful and so potentially easier.
  • Correct handling of rabbits is vital, as they have a fragile spine and if they feelinsecure and struggle they can sustain serious, potentially fatal injures such as fractures.
  • To hold your rabbit correctly, you should hold him/her gently but firmly, ensure one hand supports your rabbit’s back and hindquarters at all times and make your rabbit feels secure by having all four feet held against your body. Covering your rabbit’s eyes (with a towel or in the crook of you arm) can helphim/her to feel more relaxed, but you should ensure the nares (nostrils) are not obstructed.
  • To reduce stress during handling and minimise the risk of injury, it is important to use the minimum effective level of restraint, according to the animal’s temperament, health status and the procedure to be carried out.
  • You must never pick your rabbit up by the ears. This would be extremely stressful and is highly likely to result in injury to your rabbit.
  • Slippery surfaces should be avoided; for example, covering the veterinary examination table with a towel can help the rabbit feel more secure.Attempting to handle your rabbit from a standing position may scare him/her. Picking your rabbit up when you are positioned close to the ground is likely to be less frightening for him/her and will reduce the risk of injury if your rabbit is accidentally dropped. We recommend that where possible, all interactions are carried out at ground level, as people are likely to be perceived as less threatening when in this position.
  • Young children should be supervised at all times when interacting with rabbits, and ideally all interactions should take place at ground level. Only adults and responsible older children should be allowed to pick rabbits up, to reduce the risk of injury if the rabbit is mishandled or accidentally dropped.