Rabbits are affectionate and loving animals, showing their love to humans by snuggling, licking, and even climbing over. When rabbits are young, they’re avid climbers. But, their efforts to be mountain goats slightly drop off with time.
Many rabbit owners have already searched on the internet, “why does my rabbit climb on me?” Rabbits may climb on people for several reasons but most importantly showing affection, seeking out attention, and looking for comfort. Once your bunny climbs on you, it’s likely to snuffle at your nose. If you cry or speak in an upset tone, it may come for snuggles.
Apart from that, there are some other reasons out there why rabbits climb on people. In this article, we’re going to talk about all that. Once you finish reading this article, we would recommend taking a quick look at another post on why rabbits play leapfrog.
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What Are the Reasons Why Rabbits Climb on You?
Climbing is one of the ways of communication among various rabbits. When your bunny climbs on you, it could be for several reasons. Here we’re going to talk about the most important ones.
1. Showing Affection
In most cases, your bunny climbs on you to show affection by cuddling and grooming. After climbing on you, if your bunny proceeds to lick you, it indicates that he’s trying to groom you. In fact, this is a sign of trust and bonds.
Besides, most rabbits climb on their owners to reach their hair for nibbling. They may feel the hair as the same as their fur. If your bunny does something to you, groom him back by brushing his hair because rabbits like to groom each other.
2. Asserting Dominance
Your bunny may climb on you to assert his dominance over you or another bun in your house. If your bunny is an adult, this type of behavior is expected. Typically, rabbits’ hormones lead them to behave this way. If you notice something in your bunny, visit a pro vet ASAP.
Rabbits do this to each other in the wild as well. To assert dominance, your bunny may bite somewhere on your body while on top of you. Apart from that, they may act territorial, do grunting and feet thumping, and refuse to get picked up but will climb on you later.
3. Using Your Height
Besides being as smart as average 2-year-old children, rabbits are nosy. They’re always willing to know what’s going on around. That’s why they try to use the height of their owners. If your bunny does so, he may use you as a stepping stone.
Since rabbits have almost 360-degree vision, they enjoy being on the high to see better with their amazing eyes. In the wild, they use their vision to keep an eye on predators. However, pet rabbits usually climb on their owners to see the whole room.
4. Just For Playing
Rabbits love playing. Among many different playing styles, climbing is one of them. It’s a fun activity for some rabbits. Typically, bunnies climb on their owners to play or ask their owners to play with them. In general, young bunnies tend to play more than adults.
Rabbits usually love to be on the shoulder while playing. If your bunny climbs on you just for playing, he won’t bite you or dig at you. He just nibbles on you and then hops away. He might even feel so hyper to jump from high places.
5. Seeking Out Your Attention
If rabbits look for the attention of their owners, they may climb on them. As we have already stated that climbing is one of the ways of communication. If your bunny does so, he might be giving you an invitation to groom him.
In addition, your bunny may want to climb all over you until you give him what he actually needs. If you don’t pay any attention to him, he may chew your belongings and valuables, pee on your favorite clothes, and more.
6. Trying to Mate
When your bunny reaches maturity, he may climb on you in order to breed, mistaking your body parts, like feet, legs, thighs, and arms for the female. If he starts trying to hump, he’s definitely trying to mate.
In addition, your bunny can be aggressive while climbing on you. Out of aggression, he might bite you on your feet, legs, thighs, arms, and other body parts. Consider neutering your bunny if you don’t have any plan of breeding from him.
7. Being Nervous About Something
If your bunny feels nervous, he may climb on you. How do you know your bunny feels nervous? He may have a stiff body and folded ears. He might be shaking in fear and twitching his nose rapidly. His breaths might be faster than usual.
Avoid picking him up too quickly. Talk to him in a loud but gentle way. Keep him in a small place. Don’t do anything that can scare him away. If you think your bunny goes through a serious psychological condition, consult a vet ASAP.
8. Being Curious
Since rabbits have strong senses, they always remain curious and inspect everything including their owners around them. Out of curiosity, your bunny may climb on you. Recently adopted and baby rabbits mostly do that.
Not only that, but your old bunny can still do that. For example, you’re wearing a watch that attracts your bunny to you. He may try to chew on it. If he cannot reach the watch, he may try to climb on you until he can get close to it.
9. Being Able to Smell Something on You
Do you know your bunny may have more than 100 million scent cells? If he smells something on you, he may climb on you. Typically, rabbits have quite sensitive noses. The lightest scent to you can be the most intense scent to your bunny.
If you use a new brand of perfume, your bunny may climb on you and sniff you. He might wonder who you are. Apart from that, he might mistake sweet scents on you as delicious desserts. So, he may climb on you to get a surprise treat.
10. Asking for Food
Rabbits may climb upon their owners in search of food, especially when something stimulates their nose. They’re indeed herbivores, but they can human snacks, like fresh barley, corn flakes, shredded wheat, whole-grain crackers, etc.
Although you shouldn’t feed your bunny human food, you may not stop him want some due to the scent. For example, your bunny may try to climb on you while you’re having breakfast. He expects you’ll share some with him.
11. Looking for Comfort
When your bunny feels stressed, he might climb on you for looking for comfort. He will probably want you to cuddle or touch him. In the wild, bunnies also do this gesture to their partners to keep each other warm, especially in winter.
In addition, your bunny may climb on you to give you comfort if you’re stressed, tensed, or sad. He will be able to understand your psychological condition by noticing your facial expressions and observing your behavior.
Should You Let Your Rabbit Climb on You?
If your bunny doesn’t hurt you, you should let him climb upon you. Allow your bunny to be on you as long as he doesn’t act any harmful activity. Once he starts biting you hard enough, you shouldn’t let him do that.
However, if your bunny develops a habit of climbing high places like your head and shoulder and jumping from them, you will need to stop him. He can break his bones. This type of jumping may cause a spinal injury if he falls on his back.
How to Safely Handle Your Rabbit
Now that you know why your bunny climbs on you, it’s time to talk about how to safely handle him. You may take time to get your bunny to trust you. But, if you’re on the right track, he will surely trust you when you safely handle him.
Method – 1: Familiarizing Yourself with Your Bunny
Typically, rabbits come with an extraordinary sense of hearing. They rely on their hearing for a lot of things around them. If you would like to familiarize yourself with your bunny, you must gently speak to him on a regular basis.
Give your bunny enough time to recognize your voice and become easy in front of you. Once he develops trust in himself, he won’t be scared of you while trying to hold him. Keep him far away from loud noises. Choose a quiet and peaceful place.
Method – 2: Holding Your Bunny Gently
Once your bunny trusts you, it’s time to hold him in your arms. For a cuddle, lift him to your chest and shoulder. Spend some time with him on the ground in a quiet location. Make sure that your pet feels that place safe.
When your bunny hops close to you, you can gently stroke him. Don’t rush while picking him up. All the progress you have made so far could undo. Keep in mind that earning a bunny’s trust won’t develop overnight. Don’t ruin the relationship.
Method – 3: Giving Your Bunny Some Treats
Another way of developing a relationship with your bunny is giving him small treats every time he comes to you and positively interacts with you. You can offer him good quality hay and grass, leafy greens, a small number of pellets, or clean water.
As occasional treats, you can give your bunny small amounts of carrots, apples, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. Since bunnies like to eat a variety of treats, you can easily gain your pet’s trust by offering his favorite treats.
If your bunny climbs on you to show affection, seek out your attention, and look for comfort, you should let him on you as long as he wants. But, if he climbs on you and bites you for asserting dominance or trying to mate, don’t hold him.
Anyway, we hope you have learned a lot about why rabbits climb on their owners. If you have a bunny, he might have climbed on you for several reasons. Share your experience with your bunny with us below in the comment section.