Rabbits sure look harmless, don't they? Their big, innocent eyes and diminutive facial features certainly give that illusion. Bunnies seem like the perfect cuddly toy for children.
In the case of rabbits, looks are deceiving. Like other animals, bunnies can become angry and attack their tormenters. I've found that no matter how obliging my long-eared companions were, they still had a short fuse. One example of this is when they defend their cages or litter boxes. Deborah, my current house rabbit, has actually growled, charged, and nipped my hand when I was rearranging hay in her litter box. She's growled at other times as well when I crossed the line and upset her. This is one of many factors that make rabbits a bad choice as a pet for children.
Though rabbits thump to alert their warren to danger, they also put their big feet down when something bothers them. I still chuckle about the one day when I sat down instead of getting Mark's bowl of canned pumpkin. He sat there, gave me one of his one-eyed glares, and stomped his right foot twice. Being such a mild-manored creature, I wasn't expecting that show of attitude from him.
I mentioned Deborah's growl but most rabbits do that. They also make a honk noise at times when somebody offends them. I had one rabbit named Harry make almost a bark noise when I took the liberty of vacuuming his favourite hiding spot. He also lunged and pawed at the machine's brush as I tried to clean his room. It was actually my office and recording studio but to Harry, it was his.
Rabbits sometimes paw at humans when they want their attention or when they want them to move. Quite a few of my long-eared companions have pawed or nipped me to get me out of their way. They've also done that when they felt angry. The saddest thing about these behaviours is that people assume that the offending bunny is vicious. Most rabbit aggression is caused by fear. Mishandled bunnies have been unfairly put down as a result of this misunderstanding.
Rabbits can also become offended. Many of my bunnies have sulked for hours after vet visits. They've also turned their backs to me as if to say, "I don't want to know you." My friends on the house rabbit lists call that posture the Royal Bunny Butt, or RBB for short.
I've written about all these behaviours in my debut memoir, When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies. Please check it out on the left side of this page. Additionally, I have a brand new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.