Why Does My Rabbit Dig On Me?

White Rabbit

Digging is one of the things wild and domestic rabbits have in common. It’s a natural Instinct. In the wild, rabbits dig tunnels underground. This helps them stay safe from predators and other threatening conditions.

You should not be too worried to see a rabbit dig at all. Let us be the first to dispel any first thought that your rabbit may be trying to hurt you. There are so many more reasons. You should probably stay calm.

More often than not, your rabbit is trying to communicate with you. Believe us when we say your rabbit does not mistake you for a pile of dirt.

Why is my Rabbit Digging on Me?

Do you know that friend you think has it all – a great job, a nice home, and an awesome husband? But then one day they catch you looking and you realize they don’t really have it all. You see, your friend is a rabbit.

They keep moping at themself because they can’t be alone. And when other rabbits get upset and start digging, well…they’re not easy to please. So what’s the deal?

Why do some of your hunkiest friends act this way? And how can you stop them from digging? Read on to see what your rabbit has to say about why he’s digging at you, and how you can stop him from it.

I. It’s Inquisitive

You must understand that digging for rabbits, apart from smelling, helps them understand new things. It’s practically Instinct.

Maybe you’re wearing a shirt it’s inquisitive about. Maybe it’s a new visitor he has never met. All animals have their way of braving new territories and things. Digging for your rabbit is one. 

II. It’s Seeking Attention

Maybe your rabbit feels a little bit ignored. This is common especially when your rabbit has bonded with you.

Perhaps you haven’t played with it enough that day and it’s missing its favourite human person. It is typical for your rabbit to hop on over and dig at your feet or body.

III. It’s Asserting Dominance

This isn’t uncommon behaviour. Hierarchy is a very important part of any rabbit colony or warren- wild or domestic. It may seem funny but your rabbit might be trying to tell you it’s the boss.

It may even nip you. You shouldn’t be too worried. Over time, it will learn that the person who pays for its food is the boss.

IV. You Smell Different

Rabbits accustom themselves to new places, things or creatures by smelling. While bonding with you, your rabbit learns your smell. Perhaps when you came near, you hadn’t taken a bath.

Perhaps you changed your lotion deodorant, perfume, soap or anything that reflects on your smell. Your rabbit could be on red alert and see it as threatening.

V. It Wants to Get Down

Sometimes the rabbit is just not in the mood to be carried. It may not want your attention right then. We all need our space sometimes.

It may also be that the rabbit wants to play on the floor and would rather you played with it there also. You probably should just get down.

VI. Trying to Impress the Female

Do you have two different sex rabbits? Or perhaps there’s a do nearby? This is common amongst unneutered male rabbits. It’s a courting technique.

Its instinct is to try to prove to the doe that it has strong enough paws to create tunnels or litters or the female. You just happen to be there during the courting. 

VII. It’s Sad or Depressed

400;”>Rabbits crave social interaction and if you’re the type of owner who is always so busy and locks the rabbits in their cage without at least a companion, your rabbit can become depressed.

Depressed rabbits often exhibit signs of aggression and will not want to be held or petted. They may not only dig at you but also bite just to get the point across.

IIX. No Bonding yet

Sometimes in the early stages of the process of bonding, rabbits can ignore you and go about their business peacefully. When you carry it and/or place it on you, it begins to dig because it doesn’t know you enough yet or trust you.

It’s a caution that you might be moving a tad bit too fast for the relationship to work. Hold your horses or drop your bunny, whichever one works.

IX. Angry

As we even do when we are mad, rabbits will tend to let off some steam by digging on you. There are many reasons why your rabbit may be frustrated at you or something else.

It is up to you to investigate and find out what could possibly be agitating your rabbit.

X. It isn’t spayed or neutered yet

Spaying or neutering (generally called fixing) is removing the genital organs of the female or male rabbits respectively. It must be done by a veterinarian. It is an important procedure because apart from the physical benefits, it helps to reduce aggression in the rabbit.

Rabbits who have not undergone this procedure will show signs of high aggression to you and even within their hutch/cage. These signs will include biting, hitting, digging, etc. 

How Do I Stop My Rabbits From Digging on Me?

Digging is a natural Instinct for rabbits so you can never actually stop it together (if your rabbit does stop digging, that is a serious problem). You can however try to limit it from digging on you or things that it can scratch.

A rabbit digging on you can be adorable until it isn’t. Do not try to discipline your rabbit and force it to stop. That never sits well with rabbits. You can try to limit it in the following ways:

– Provide Them with Toys

Understandably, you cannot provide 24/7 attention to your rabbit. If you aren’t ready to get a second rabbit as its partner, you should buy or get more toys. The Pet Store is filled with chewable items to help keep your rabbit company and reduce its boredom.

It will cause your rabbit to have some more playtime, lessen its aggression or frustration and as a result, reduce all that digging and provide a better outlet.

– Spend time with Them

As earlier mentioned, your rabbits may just be seriously craving your attention. And if it has bonded with you, rightly so. It is also best to play with your rabbit as it wishes. Go down on your knees with it, do a little chase, pet it.

Rabbits appreciate nothing more than an owner who understands their play or attention needs.

– Place Them Down

When the rabbit digs at you, you can choose to ignore it. Take the rabbit off you and place it down. You may then twist away from it. Rabbits, as we have established, are perceptive creatures and they understand signs of displeasure.

If your rabbit really wants your attention, with just the right amount of repetition, your rabbit will understand that you do not like its behaviour. You may also reinforce it’s stopping the digging by giving it treats or a simple petting/ cuddling. Little rewards go a long way. 

– A Visit to the Vet

Robert may actually be vying for your attention to tell you something is wrong with it. Maybe its stomach hurts or there’s discomfort or pain somewhere. Maybe it’s reacting to a treat you started giving it. Maybe something is wrong with its teeth.

The veterinarian will do a full examination and tell you exactly what is wrong with it and how it can be solved. 

– Bond with your Rabbit

As earlier mentioned, sometimes your rabbit may not have yet bonded with you enough to trust you picking it up.

It may assume that you are a predator and will be frightened. It will then make efforts to retreat. You must make deliberate efforts to bond with your rabbit by spending time with it. 


For whatever reason your rabbit may begin to dig on you, your first response should never be panic or fright. Your rabbits can pick up on that. It is important to get to know your rabbit in order to understand possible contexts and reasons for which it may be digging.

Your little rabbit friend is a smart creature and will communicate with you one way or the other. It is up to you to be a pet owner that can actually understand its communication.

Written by Justin Michaels

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