6 Reasons Why Your Rabbit Bites Your Clothes

white rabbit sitting on a couch.

Adorable, cuddly, and full of personality, that’s what rabbits are. No wonder they’re among the most common animal companions, along with cats and dogs. Their cuteness quotient and gentle nature make them a great addition to any family. However, they also have weird behaviors that can be perplexing, especially to new bun owners. Why do rabbits bite your clothes, for example? Or jump over each other?   

If you’re considering getting a rabbit, understanding why they do what they do can help you take better care of your pet. So how about we talk about their fascinating but sometimes annoying trait of nibbling on your shirt, pants, or whatever you’re wearing?  

Why Do Rabbits Bite Your Clothes?  

Biting clothes or other random objects is one of the ways buns communicate and interact with their environment. It’s just rather unfortunate if it’s your favorite shirt that got the receiving end of those teeth. After all, your bun doesn’t know that’s the exact shade of pink you love, does he? He’s just trying to tell you something or acting on impulses hardwired into him by Mother Nature.  

Let’s look at some common reasons why your bun bites your clothes: 

1. Following Their Instincts   

Rabbits are natural chewers and diggers. They’re born that way. In the wild, they live in tunnels that they dig and chew plant material like hay for dinner. Chewing is also an essential part of their well-being. Remember that their teeth keep growing – by as much as 5 inches a year! Those pearly whites must be worn down; otherwise, they get too long and cause your bunny grief.  

Common dental issues caused by overly long teeth include periodontitis, jaw abnormalities, traumatic injuries to the mouth, and malocclusion. These issues often lead to pain, making your bun stop eating.   

So when your pet chews your clothes, carpet, or wires, he’s just being his usual self and exhibiting a deeply embedded behavior.  

white rabbit peeking out of underneath a brown towel.

2. Out of Boredom  

Rabbits are social creatures. They enjoy their alone time, but too much of it can make them feel bored. Also, they’re very intelligent and enjoy learning new things. That’s why it’s not a good idea to keep your pet in a cage most of the time.  

If your sweet, furry pal has had enough of being on his own, he might chew on your clothes, the carpet, wires, or whatever objects he can sink his teeth into just for something to do.  

3. Due to Anxiety or Frustration  

Being prey animals, rabbits scare easily. Ordinary sounds, such as the clanging of metal utensils in the kitchen or a TV with the volume set too high, can give them jitters. A fearful rabbit’s instinctive reaction is to hide.   

In the wild, digging a hole in the ground is one of the ways they conceal themselves from predators. A pile of clothes makes a great substitute, so you can’t blame your furry pal for digging and biting into that bundle of laundry in the corner.  

4. Unnatural or Strong Scents  

Aside from having excellent hearing, rabbits also have an incredible sense of smell. Strong or pungent scents make them anxious, as they associate those smells with danger.   

Think back to the last time your rabbit bit your clothes when you held him. Were you wearing too much cologne, or have you just finished chopping garlic? Your pet could have found the odor unbearable and wanted to get it away from you by biting your clothes.  

5. Out of Annoyance  

Yes, we get it. Your furball is so irresistibly cute that you can’t help hugging or kissing him all the time. But while rabbits love attention, too much of it can get their goat. You wouldn’t like it either if someone’s in your face all the time, would you?   

So get the hint the next time your pet bites your clothes while you’re holding him close. It could be his way of saying, “lemme go.” Remember, rabbits need their space, too.  

6. Due to Hormones  

Hormones sometimes magnify certain behaviors. If your bun is intact, biting may be his way of asserting himself. The presence of female buns can aggravate the problem because digging and chewing are some of the ways male rabbits show they want to mate.  

white rabbit and brown cat nose to nose.

How to Stop Your Rabbit from Biting Your Clothes   

You don’t have to tolerate your furry pal’s unwanted behavior. Fortunately, some strategies have worked for other bun parents who faced the same issue. You can try the following techniques and see if they’ll help stop the habit.  

Give Your Pet Toys  

Toys help your rabbit pass the time and stimulate his mind, which prevents boredom. Don’t forget to add safe chew toys to satisfy his instinctive need to chew. You can give him a grass mat or, if you’re short on cash at the moment, even ordinary household items like empty toilet paper tubes will do.  

Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit  

Rabbits tend to become aggressive during mating season. Spaying or neutering your fur baby will help eliminate or tone down hormone-driven behaviors. If you don’t intend to breed your pet, consider having him desexed.  

Provide More Hay  

Hay is not only an integral component of your rabbit’s diet, but it also makes an excellent bedding material. Intact buns tend to dig more in the spring. This instinctive behavior is their way of preparing to breed. So if you notice your furry companion’s heightened digging activity during springtime, you can provide more hay to dig through and create a mock burrow with.  

Calm Your Rabbit  

Buns tend to bite when they’re scared. Determine what’s spooking your pet and eliminate the cause, if possible. If it’s something you can’t remove, help your bun calm down by giving him a place to hide. Petting or talking to him in a soothing tone can help him realize there’s nothing to fear.  

Try Harmless Deterrents  

Does your rabbit only bite clothes he finds lying on the floor? Try spraying your laundry with deterrents safe for rabbits. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are substances you can use for this purpose. Hopefully, the scent and taste will discourage your pet from taking a bite out of your clothes.  

Rabbits bite your clothes because they’re telling you something. Recognizing the reason behind the habit can help you address the issue and find the best way to stop this unwanted behavior. Also, understanding your rabbit can lead to a more rewarding relationship with your furry companion.  

More on Rabbit Behavior

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