Do Rabbits Like to Be held

Do Rabbits Like To Be Held?

While rabbits are social animals who enjoy affection, they generally do not like to be picked up and held. There are some exceptions to this general rule depending on the personality and preferences of your individual rabbit, in addition to the approach taken when holding your rabbit.

This article will explore the various reasons why some rabbits enjoy being held, while other rabbits don’t.

Why do Some Rabbits Like to be Held?

Rabbits are social animals, and because of their social tendencies, some rabbits may enjoy being held. Some rabbits who have more affectionate personalities may even enjoy being picked up and cuddled.


A major factor that could determine if your rabbit will enjoy being held is the level of trust that exists between you and your rabbit. Unlike some other pets who develop trust with their owners rather quickly, rabbits often can take months to develop trust with their owners.

Many rabbit owners who have rabbits that enjoy being held have taken the time to develop trust with their pet prior to attempting to hold them. Once the rabbit has learned that you can be trusted, they may become more comfortable with you holding them.


Another key factor that will help your rabbit become more comfortable with being held is to socialize your rabbit at an early age. In some instances, owners who began getting their rabbit used to being handled by humans at an early age had success in being able to hold their rabbit without distressing them.


little girl holding a rabbit

The breed of your rabbit may also determine whether they enjoy being held. Given their personalities, certain breeds of rabbits may enjoy being held more than others once a bond of trust has been established. 

The following list mentions some breeds that have personalities which lend to the rabbit enjoying or tolerating physical touch more than some other breeds:

Chinchilla RabbitsJersey Wooly
English SpotMini Lop


Why Some Rabbits Don’t Like to be Held?


Rabbits are animals of prey who are hunted by predators such as foxes, cats, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, and birds of prey in their natural environment. Since they prey animals, they will likely become frightened when you invade their space until you are able to build a relationship of trust.

Additionally, rabbits can become frightened or distressed when they are held picked up because they perceive it as a moment of danger from which they cannot escape, as if they are being captured by a predator.


In some instances, rabbits may not like being held because you are holding them too far from the ground.

If you plan to attempt to hold your rabbit after you have spent time socializing your rabbit and building a bond of trust, you should try to hold your rabbit while you are sitting on the floor. This will create a less distressing experience for the rabbit and also can help to prevent your rabbit from sustaining serious injuries if they escape your grasp. 


Your ability to hold your rabbit will largely depend on the individual personality of your rabbit. Some rabbits do not like being touched at all, while others will tolerate an occasional petting but do not like being held or picked up.

As you are attempting to hold your rabbit, you should pay close attention to their behavior and vocalizations since can be a good way to gauge whether they are content or becoming distressed.

If your rabbit begins to grunt or even scream when you are attempting to hold them, you should interpret this as a sign of discontent or terror and stop your attempt at holding them. Another sign that your rabbit is unhappy being held or that their space is being invaded is when they stand on their hind legs with their front legs “throwing punches”.

How do I Properly Hold a Rabbit?

Since rabbits have fragile spines that can be injured easily and result in fatality, you should always be gentle when handling your rabbit. If you plan to handle your rabbit, it is best to do so when your rabbit is calm and relaxed.

To create an environment where they are more likely to be relaxed, the room should be calm and quiet. As you approach the rabbit, do so slowly and quietly without making sudden movements to prevent startling them.

Whenever you can, you should make your attempt to pick up the rabbit as near to the ground as possible. As you pick up the rabbit, you should cradle them in one arm while supporting their back and hind legs.

With your other arm, cradle the upper body of the rabbit. When holding the rabbit, you should be sure to have a firm but gentle grasp to prevent them from falling or leaping from your hands.


While there may be certain rabbits that enjoy being held given the combination of their breed or specific personalities, there are other rabbits who do not want to be touched at all.

When attempting to hold your rabbit, you should keep your rabbit’s preferences in mind and do not force your rabbit to be held against their will as this can cause distress and even injury.