Why are my rabbits fighting?
June 23, 2004 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Rabbit fighting question. We have two rabbits, a female named Grendel and a male named Robocop. They're both altered. They've been living together happily since November until yesterday. Now they're fighting and need to be seperated lest the fur fly. What could be causing this change in behavior?
posted by robocop is bleeding to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
Making your username rather unfortunate.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:36 PM on June 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

You name them Grendel and Robocop and you wonder why they fight? So this Robocop, has he ripped off Grendel's arm?
posted by caddis at 6:57 PM on June 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think naming them Grendel and Robocop may not have been the best idea. No changes in diet, handling patterns etc I assume? It's probably a "spring is in the air" thing (little late, but still). Is it dominance fighting or real full-out "I want to kill you" fighting?
posted by fvw at 7:04 PM on June 23, 2004

Earthquake sensitive?
posted by Feisty at 7:10 PM on June 23, 2004

robo - could you have changed their diet or shampoo in any way?

rabbit.org has a page describing the various things which could set the bunnies into a rage. It could be smell-related, or even a competition over food.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:19 PM on June 23, 2004

I think it's likely dominance fighting. My two bunnies, Bugs and Bess, get into it now and then. There's an age difference between them and it leads to squabbling. I just step in over and over again until things calm down. I'd separate them if you can't be there to watch them.

If it's full on with squealing, something else is going on. Do they go after each other equally or is one the aggressor?
posted by Salmonberry at 7:40 PM on June 23, 2004

Response by poster: The only new thing that's been added to their diet has been a new type of treat (Nutrapuffs).

Their fights are either Grendel (the bigger one) trying to hump Robo or some sort of mutual lunge. Last night they were going at it, nipping and grunting in a ying-yang of fury, until we split them up. Now they have a cage wall between them, but we still see demi-lunges.

It's strange because they would fight, then groom each other, then fight some more.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:06 AM on June 24, 2004

not very different from what human couples do, then

no, seriously, I second the rabbit.org suggestion -- there's all one can possibly needs for one's lagomorph-related needs. there are also plenty of rabbit-related mailing lists where you'll find hundreds of pointers
posted by matteo at 4:52 AM on June 24, 2004

I knew two rabbits that would fight only when they were given alfalfa. You could withhold the Nutripuffs for a few days and see if it calms them down.

Some rabbits are just mean. My rabbit Beth would fight with people in her youth (but now she's fairly sweet). How old are your rabbits?
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:52 AM on June 24, 2004

Response by poster: Grendel is a year and a half old and was bought from a pet store at a young age. Robo is closer to two and a half, if not three, and was rescued from the local House Rabbit Society (we have emails/questions out to them too) after some bunny-dates with Gren. They never fought then and, as far as I know, the squabbles over the past few days have been the first.

I'll be withholding the treats for awhile and we may try some scent masking tricks with vanilla or trust/grooming tricks with peanut butter. Failing that, it's time for a car ride bond.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:58 AM on June 24, 2004

Make the best of it:

1. Starve rabbits
2. Place in close quarters
3. ???
4. Profit
posted by cedar at 6:23 AM on June 24, 2004

cedar, "Roger & Me" answers to your point-3 question, check it out
posted by matteo at 6:28 AM on June 24, 2004

My girlfriend brought home 2 rabbits that don't get along. They're both males and fixed. One of them was discovered to be male just recently and fixed a week before we got him. I'm hoping he's just a little touchy right now (who wouldn't be?) and they'll get along eventually.

Their names are Bugsy (how unoriginal can you get?) and Lola (which is quite fitting, I thought).
posted by ODiV at 9:26 AM on June 24, 2004

Robocop is the best name for a rabbit, ever.
posted by jennyb at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2004

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