This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. Yea. There do not appear to be any scientific studies that promote doing this for the purposes of bonding or human pleasure. Build up gradually until you are gently lifting your rabbit. Simply scoop the little one up carefully and turn them over onto their front slowly. “there is a view that the immobility response occurs in stressful situations and that rabbits lying on their backs are terrified and waiting to be eaten.”. I am an Associate with Amazon Associates and other affiliates. A cautious rabbit will slowly tip-toe around with their ears forward and their tails down. Read full details through the link at the bottom of my home page and thank you for being here! Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 191,453 times. You are trying to see if there's a problem with your rabbit. The ONLY way to reunite baby bunnies with Mom is to get the bunnies back in the ORIGINAL den. Many also refer to this process as trancing, hypnotizing or mesmerizing. Trancing your rabbit. Using TI as an alternative to anesthesia is still indicated due to the risk/benefit ratio. The rabbit will lie motionless, thereby giving the impression of being already dead and encouraging the predator to release its grip, giving the rabbit a last chance to escape. While I did find photos and videos of rabbits tranced, I just could not bring myself to put on one my website. 6. Noting that previous research describes the physiological responses to TI, the authors set out to study the behavioral responses in rabbits both during and after this maneuver. Its a Dwarf Lop and its female. Don't rush. start by laying it on its back on your lap with its rump higher than its head. Dr. Varga draws on scientific studies, including the Paper by McBride et al to come up with her opinion that TI should not be done routinely or for bonding purposes. This is a last resort, though. McBride, E. A., Day, S., McAdie, T. M., Meredith, A., Barley, J., Hickman, J., & Lawes, L. (2006). RWAF encourages the sharing of this poster. The idea is to trick the predator into loosening its grip just long enough for the rabbit to escape. They concluded that both the physiological and behavioral responses were indicative of a fear motivated stress state. Use the Size-O-Meter to find out! Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small…. What They Do: Rabbit turns its back to you and sits or lies down, without even looking back. If your rabbit was injured and you needed to look at their injury without them struggling). This article has been viewed 191,453 times. Before holding a rabbit for the first time, it is best to let the rabbit get used to you. They completely lose the ability to right themselves. The stress can be harmful, and there is a definite possibility of the rabbit being hurt or even dying, which is why it is suggested to only do this when absolutely necessary and as quickly as possible. This often occurs when earlier in their lives, they were locked in a cage and never got out. Last Updated: February 19, 2020 When I first got my little 2-pound bunny Pudge, I would occasionally hold him in my arms on his back. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Further, Dr. McBride points out that terms such as hypnosis and mesmerize may suggest to people that this is a relaxing event for your rabbit when in fact, the scientific and behavioral evidence supports the fact that this is, in fact, a fear-driven stress event. Let me approach this by summarizing some scientifically sound information from some experts: Dr. Varga acknowledges the controversy of this topic by noting that some practitioners will place rabbit’s on their back in order to perform short procedures (such as nail clipping) but that the controversy stems from the viewpoint that rabbits become frozen due to fear. If your rabbits are in a trance, they are as scared as they can possibly be. That’s just the beauty of affiliate marketing! Height can often be intimidating to smaller animals and sitting down reduces height and can make you seem less intimidating. There are so many "cute" YouTube videos of rabbits "sleeping" when the rabbit is actually being abused and is in TI. That is debatable. Please don't trance your rabbits if you don't need to. I can't report every single one of them. Pet them until they’re calm. When rabbits are tranced, they are at the highest possible fear level, and they can possibly die from fear, so talk to your vet before even considering this controversial procedure. They’ll probably pause a lot to look and listen, or they might stretch out as far as they can with their back feet staying in the same place. Dr. Varga describes the physiology behind this freeze response, which she describes as a “transitory and reversible state of profound motor inhibition,” that occurs in prey species under threatening or stressful conditions. 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