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So I adopted a spayed female rabbit from a local shelter back in September with the intentions of bonding her to my male Toffee. He was neutered September 15, 2015 and she was adopted on September 26, 2016 but they did not meet for another 3 weeks to allow him to heal. We have been trying to bond them for 4 months but Toffee, the neutered male, will not stop humping her. The only issue is, it is not for dominance. I know for a fact it is not for dominance because when he sees her he makes a honking noise he used to make before his neuter when he tried to hump my leg, as well as him needing a stuffed animal in his cage that he can hump to relieve his sexual frustrations. Do you have any ideas or tips? He has gone to the vet and they're stumped. He has no testicular remnants either.

Thank you,
Freddi Whitall

Dear Freddi,

The only thing that's sure is that Toffee *really* likes his new girl.  :)

Lots of neutered males will behave this way, especially if they have been neutered within 6 months.  It takes an incredibly long time for some males to lose all their sex drive, and some just never do.  Holland Lops are particularly prone to having sex drive long after they are neutered.

That said, this isn't a problem unless the female objects.  (This is one reason we have started an experimental project in which our spayed females keep their ovaries, but lose the uterus.  They behave much more normally like rabbits, and they usually do not object to a male's advances.  It makes bonding much easier!  Results of our study will be coming soon.)

So my advice is:  Be patient.  Let the bunnies have play dates in a very spacious place where she has refuges that allow her to escape his attentions, if she so desires.  If there are any signs of her getting really fed up, separate them physically (let them see each other across a barrier, and even touch/smell) and give them a break.

Repeat as necessary.  Eventually, the male should calm down and the bonding can go more normally.
But it can take a long time with some males.  That's just an unfortunate reality.  :/

I hope this helps.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

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For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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