There are a couple of things I will write about that some may feel falls in the too much information category. In case anyone else finds themselves dealing with similar things bunnies do that aren’t quite for polite society, just know you aren’t alone.
So, teenage hormones in any species can be a train wreck for everyone trying to deal with the raging hormone levels and behavior that can go with them. I had read about the territorial aggression and sexual frustration that can be seen in unaltered rabbits. Although my early house rabbit experience was with an unaltered male, he had been a pretty mellow little guy. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Tigger as she neared the age to be spayed, but had read that rabbits who aren’t spayed or neutered can be quite a destructive handful in addition to all the babies they can produce. Tigger’s chewing behavior was decidedly starting to be a problem.
Now this part of female rabbit hormonal behavior I hadn’t seen written about before and would have questioned if I hadn’t experienced it with two little girl bunnies myself. The first experience was with Tigger as she was turning about five months of age. She was getting to be a tiny terror with her attitude going over the edge from sassy cute to just plain ugly. Worse, there came times that she actually frightened me. She was still only about four pounds of bunny, but I found myself one day sitting on the guest bed as she was stalking around me and giving me what I can only call nasty evil looks. I was afraid to take my eyes off of her as she paced behind me, because I truly thought she just might charge me and bite me. There was a look in her eyes I had not seen from her before. It was clear she suddenly regarded me as the enemy for some reason.
So what had set her off? Guys, I apologize, but the little stinker was obviously quite aware I was putting out my own female hormones quite strongly. She was not liking it one little bit. I didn’t really put it together until a few days later when she was suddenly calmer right in sync with me. I had a couple of months before she was old enough to be spayed and another afterwards before all her hormones left her system to see that she was not liking my hormonal times at all. She was four pounds of female rabbit anger and outrage. She did the best menacing stalking I have ever seen in an animal so tiny. I was genuinely relieved a month after her spay when Tigger mellowed out again to just her original energetic sassy self and I didn’t have to keep watching my back at times.
This wasn’t just a fluke with Tigger. The second time I experienced hormonal clashes with a female rabbit was when Blaine and I had agreed to help out by caring for and showing a rescue bunny that was being kept at a local pet store. We went in on a Saturday to clean out the rabbit’s cage and set up a pen for her to run in to let people see her and get to know her. She was just out of recovery from her spay and had been described as a really sweet interactive rabbit. So, I wasn’t prepared at all for a rabbit that wanted to attach herself to my ankle and gnaw away like a rabid animal. It was really hard to tell people what a wonderful pet she could be for them when they would look down at her and ask me, “Isn’t she biting your ankle?” I finally had to step out of the pen completely and let Blaine take over. She didn’t seem to be having any problems with him. Like Tigger, she had recognized that another active female had entered her territory. She obviously still had enough hormones in her system to recognize and respond to what she regarded as a territorial threat.
The second less mentioned thing about our Tigger is that she truly was a little stinker. Very early on, she was laying up on top of her cage with her back to me as I kneeled on the floor to pet her when I got a huge breath of noxious air. I thought, oh wow rabbit, what did you just do? When I moved her behind, there was nothing to see. That is when it dawned on me that Tigger had just let out a silent but deadly (SBD) gaseous cloud large enough and stinky enough to make a skunk proud.
I wish that I could say the SBD was a one time event, but Tigger had a habit of being able to produce an unending supply of gas if she got freaky nervous. She would run around the room spewing toxic gases and would quite literally clear the room, because it was unbearable to stay. We would be gasping with our eyes running as we fled for clearer air. There wasn’t anything the vet could find wrong with her on exams. It was a heck of a defense mechanism against being picked up or chased by Shadow. If she was wanting to be left alone, she knew how to accomplish it!
Tomorrow Princess Lady Bunny …