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Why Does My Rabbit Climb on Me? 10 Reasons & What to Do


Jun 6, 2023
young woman with cute rabbit

Rabbits are adorable, but despite their cute nature, they are often not very lucky to be adopted from the orphanage like other pets. This is why most people do not get to know much about their behavior. However, there is a lot more to learn.

For instance, why would a rabbit climb on you? Generally, rabbits feel safest in their cage, but if you notice a climbing behavior, it could be seeking your attention or the little bunny is scared.

This article further explains several reasons why your rabbit climbs on you. Continue reading to get a better understanding of your bunny.


The 10 Reasons Your Rabbit Climbs on You

1. Showing Dominance

A rabbit will climb on higher surfaces to feel superior or show dominance. The higher the surface, the more superior they feel. At times, they have to climb on top of you to feel superior to you and show you they are in command. Such behavior is often observed in mature rabbits.

Apart from climbing on you, if you want to know that your bunny is just showing dominance, look out for other signs like grunting, aggressiveness, refusing to be picked up, climbing on chairs and couches, and feet thumbing.

Dutch dwarf rabbit color agouti
Image Credit: Volha Suhakova, Shutterstock

2. It Is Time to Breed

Like most pets, rabbits also go through a breeding season. During the breeding season, the rabbits often behave like dogs in that they will begin to climb or hump mostly on your legs. Surprisingly, a rabbit may mistake your leg for a fellow rabbit. Therefore, do not be surprised if you see your rabbit trying to mount your leg.

When your rabbit is in heat, apart from climbing and trying to hump on your leg, you will also notice other behaviors like aggressiveness and biting. Biting is often the behavior of a male rabbit in the wild when trying to hold down a female one in the mating process.

However, the humping does not necessarily have to happen on your leg; the rabbit may also climb your arm or any other part of your body that can be mistaken for a female rabbit. To avoid this kind of behavior, consider spaying and neutering them.

3. Your Rabbit Is Lonely

Just like other pets, such as dogs, rabbits also enjoy spending time with their owners, a sign of affection. A lonely rabbit will climb on you to get your attention, especially if you are not always around. Alternatively, they may run around you excitedly or even give you a tiny bite to gain your attention.

In addition, a rabbit will climb on you in a bid to spend time with you rather than play with its toys. Often this happens when it does not like its toys. Therefore, get your bunny new toys or try to spend time with them because boredom may lead to stress and depression.

rabbit on human lap with love touching and caring
Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock

4. The Rabbit Wants to Groom

Sometimes a rabbit will climb on you just to groom you. It is their little way of showing you affection, trust, and bond. Others will even try to give you a nip. Often a rabbit will try to get to your hair, which feels like the fur on their body, and which makes them feel like they are with another rabbit.

5. Your Rabbit Is Scared

A rabbit may climb on you to seek shelter or protection from something that scares them, such as loud noise and the scent of predators. This also shows that your pet trusts you and can depend on you when faced with danger.

You can tell that your rabbit is scared by observing signs like rapid breathing, folded ears, a stiff body, and nose twitching. It would help if you tried to avoid things that may scare your rabbit as much as possible. For instance, avoid picking them up too fast from the ground, sneaking up on them from behind, yelling at them, or keeping them in tiny spaces.

Too much fear can cause a fear-related heart attack. If you notice any of the above signs of fear in your bunny often, consider consulting a vet.

happy young girl holding bunny rabbit in the backyard
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

6. Curiosity

Rabbits are naturally curious pets. When they climb on you, it is probably because something has enticed them—for instance, a new watch or jewelry, and they would like to inspect it.

At the same time, a rabbit will climb on you when perceiving an enticing smell. They are known to have a very strong sense of smell. In fact, rabbits rely too much on their sense of smell than their sight. A new perfume that smells nice and sweet can capture their attention, and they may even mistake it for a treat.

Curiosity is often observed in recently adopted rabbits or young ones. It should not worry you; it only means they want to know you better. Digging into your clothes and staring at you are other behaviors that show that a rabbit is curious about something you have on you.

7. They Want to Play

Climbing is fun for rabbits, especially the young ones; therefore, they may just engage in it to play around. You will notice that your rabbit is in a playful mood when it is hyper, full of energy, climbs on you, and even gives you a nib on your skin.

Even if they don’t jump or climb on you, you will also know they are playful if they keep playing and jumping around the house. This should not be of concern unless the behavior causes harm to them or to you.

Young woman with adorable rabbit indoors
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

8. The Rabbit Is Hungry

When a rabbit jumps on you, it may be passing a message that it is hungry. As small as they are, rabbits have a big appetite. They will put anything that smells sweet in their mouth and feed on anything edible.

You may notice this behavior mostly when you are having your meals. If you always give them food each time you have yours, there is a high chance they will develop the behavior of climbing on when you are eating in the hope that they, too, will have some treats.

However, be careful not to feed human food to rabbits. They may feed on snacks like grain crackers, cornflakes, shredded wheat, and Cheerios.

9. They Want to Get to Another Higher Place

A rabbit is intelligent and can easily learn how to use your height to reach its next destination. They also love high surfaces; therefore, if climbing on you enables them to reach a higher surface, they will do so. It also means they trust you so much.

young woman holding adorable rabbit
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

10. Your Rabbit Needs Comfort

Climbing on you may mean your rabbit needs comfort, love, and cuddles. Rabbits enjoy it so much when you cuddle them, especially bonded rabbits. They love to stay too close to each other and rely on the comfort of the other. Therefore, if you own a bonded rabbit, expect occasional cuddles.


What to Do When a Rabbit Climbs on You

When your rabbit climbs on you, allow it, and only stop it if the climbing is causing harm either to you or to the rabbit. Stay as still as possible so you may not scare it or make it fall off. However, gently get it off you when it bites you so hard. Biting is a sign of asserting dominance.

In addition, if the rabbit makes a habit of climbing on you and then jumping off, you need to discourage that. Jumping from high surfaces can be a bit risky as it may eventually cause harm and serious injuries like spinal cord injury, especially if they fall on their backs.

Climbing on you can also turn out to be a bad behavior that can be embarrassing, which is why it is advisable to spay or neuter the rabbits.

woman holds a rabbit in her arms
Image Credit: Liuba Bilyk, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Rabbits may not be all that fun, but they also have moments when they are playful and need some love and affection from their owners. With the above information, you can tell what is going on when your rabbit climbs on you.

The rabbit may be seeking your attention, asking for food, or escaping from something that scares them. Therefore, allow it to enjoy spending time with you. However, if the climbing becomes too aggressive, embarrassing, or likely to cause harm, you must stop it.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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