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Rabbits/Humping behaviors

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Question
Greetings.

I have 2 altered Netherland Dwarf rabbits. They are siblings that we have kept together, and they are both altered. Lately though, Jack has been pinning down Nat and going to town, frantically humping and then grunting and falling off to the side. Nat usually stands still and arches her back a little, but on a few occasions she's run off and backed herself into a corner. They've always gotten along, and were fixed about a year ago. Any clue as to why they're suddenly back into the humping game?

Answer
Hi,

even with fixed bunnies this occurs.  Sometimes change of seasons causes hormonal up and downs, usually fall and spring, I've noticed.  Sometimes it's about dominance and asserting such.  Sometimes it's because that's exactly what they intend to do.  With a bonded pair, that kind of behavior isn't unexpected.  Being fixed just means no multiple litters of babies and also they aren't doing it 24/7.  You couldn't keep them together in the same small space if the male wasn't fixed.  There'd be a lot of fighting because the female wold get so sick of it she'd have to in order to have a chance at it stopping.  Injuries would occur.

In fixed pairs they can control themselves more, their personalities are not totally overwhelmed by hormones.  But they will still do this as mature, adult rabbits that are bonded together.

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Lee Meyer (Mr.)

Expertise

I have 7+ years of experience with House Rabbits, rescue groups, and working with shelter rabbits. I have done many educational talks about house rabbits. I have advised potential adopters, supervised bunny 'dates', fundraising/educational rabbit events, and help rabbit owners with their rabbits. I will answer questions about: general behaviors, body language, housing, toys, bunny-proofing, diet, spaying/neutering issues, nail clips, preventative measures, diet, and health questions. I will not discuss: anything that deals with rabbits for fur, food, factory-style breeding, deliberate or casual breeding by pet owners, or experimentation.

My focus is solely on rabbits as loved pets. It's why I'm a House Rabbit Society member rather than an ARBA member. If you don't view your rabbit the same way you would a pet dog or cat, please ask another expert your question.

I am not a veterinarian and cannot conclusively diagnose your rabbit. My advice does not take the place of a good rabbit vet. IF YOU THINK THERE'S A PROBLEM, DON'T WAIT FOR A REPLY, GET TO A VET IMMEDIATELY!!! Sometimes what appears to be a small problem is life-threatening.

The House Rabbit Society has references on their site for vets they have researched. There are US and international links here for vets all over the world with rabbit experience: www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html

I recommend the following resources to all rabbit owners:

House Rabbit Society - online rabbit info (www.rabbit.org)
Book: Rabbit Health in the 21st Century 2nd Ed. by Kathy Smith
Book: House Rabbit Handbook 4th Ed. by Marinell Harriman

Experience

House Rabbit Member since 2004 Discover Your House Rabbit organizer - 2006 Rabbit Adopter since 2004 HAWS Board of Education member (rabbits) since 2005 HAWS Rabbit Volunteer since 2004

Organizations
National House Rabbit Society, Wisconsin House Rabbit Society, Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), Education Board Member for Rabbits, Friends of HAWS

Education/Credentials
BSEE, MSEE (Electrical/Computer Engineering), Marquette University

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