If you’ve had your bunny for any length of time, then there may have been that occasional instance where they have peed on you. Just why do they do this? Can it be something you did wrong, were they annoyed with you, or do they simply lack the intelligence or understanding of what they are doing?
Just like with any small pet, there can be many factors at play. Your bunny may not actually be seeking revenge because you gave them fewer greens for breakfast. The reasons may surprise you!
Can Rabbit Pee Be More Than One Reason?
Rabbits do pee for more than one reason, besides the need to eliminate liquid waste from their bodies. Obviously, they aren’t as highly intelligent as humans who may plan a noon or midnight bathroom break.
There can be many different instances why your rabbit suddenly pees on you. In order to understand rabbit behaviour better, here are the most common reasons why. This is also to not be confused with when rabbits pee normally.
To Claim You As Their Property
Just like other mammals do, rabbits will also spray urine to mark their territory. This is to let others know to not come near. They can go and find their own territory. And as for us, this might mean that they consider us their property too! While this may happen once or twice on you, if your bunny constantly does it, it may be due to other issues.
Your Rabbit May Be Stressed Out
If you’ve just adopted your rabbit, and they are peeing on you when you pick them up, it could be due to stress. Just like other mammals, they don’t like to be picked up. They may not understand that you mean them no harm. It’s also possible they have a health condition that is causing them trouble when you pick them up.
Some rabbit-human interaction is good. Be sure to slowly introduce them to your hand, then gentle pets. Gently hold your hand around the rabbit. And after the first time you pick them up, only hold them for a few seconds and a few inches off the ground. You can slowly introduce them to being held in your arms, or on your lap. Eventually, they will understand this is cuddle time and nothing to be afraid of.
Male rabbits will spray female rabbits as part of their courtship. Rabbits will mark their territory to deter others from entering, or even as a form of aggression on other males. There are specific hormones that are released within the urine when the rabbit sprays. The spray could indicate aggressive behaviour and to warn other rabbits.
If you see your rabbit trying to mount your hand, it could be related to mating. This behaviour generally starts around 10 to 12 weeks old.
Are there other rabbits nearby when your rabbit pees on you? Are they distressed for any reason? They may be giving you warning, just like a cat will bite or scratch when they’re being picked up. It may be better to not pick up your rabbit, particularly when you’ve just adopted them.
Can I Stop My Rabbit from Spraying?
It depends on the cause. If it’s hormonally-driven behaviour, you can have your rabbit spayed or neutered. This is when the testes of the male rabbit are removed, and the female has her ovaries removed. This can work for random spraying of their habitats, as well as spraying you too.
Neutering and spraying can also reduce other types of aggressive behaviour towards you and your rabbit, rabbits with other rabbits, and rabbits with other pets. Your rabbit will be happier and calmer after being spayed.
The last thing you want to do is isolate your rabbit because you do not understand their natural behaviour. Spaying and neutering can make the entire family happy. And you won’t have to worry about unwanted bunnies that will end up at the local SPCA to be euthanized because there aren’t enough homes for the millions of unwanted pets.
Spaying and neutering will also do more for your pet rabbit than prevent unwanted spraying on you or your furnishings. It will also keep certain medical conditions, such as cancerous tumours, from forming.
What If My Spayed/Neutered Longtime Pet Rabbit Is Peeing On Me?
Spaying and neutering doesn’t remove all the hormones inside our pets. The adrenal gland in the brain can still produce hormones. The good news is that this behaviour will be significantly reduced. Younger rabbits are more likely to do this behaviour in the spring and summer. This may also mean that you need to clean their habitat or cage more frequently.
But spraying on you could also mean there is a serious health issue that needs to be addressed. This is true especially if your pet bunny has loved being handled by you in the past. A trip to the vet clinic may be in order. Your pet rabbit may have a urinary tract infection, arthritis, or some other aging condition.
Also pay attention to what else is happening around you when you pick up the bunny. If a new pet dog or human is nearby, it may have nothing to do with you. Your bunny fears losing control because they are stuck in your arms when danger is nearby.
Remember to never ever punish or hit your bunny because they have peed on you! In fact, you should consider it an honor if they are claiming you as their prize! But it’s important to see how your rabbit is doing. It is possible they are in distress and need a trip to the vet clinic for proper diagnosis.
Other times, it’s nothing. It may seem shocking the first time (unless you also have a human baby!), but after that, you’ll just shrug it off, gently place your bunny back in their home, and wash up.
Your bunny will appreciate your love and understanding that this is normal bunny behaviour. Soon you’ll both be bonded and living a happy and healthy life!