Rabbits look innocent.
If you have one, you’re probably aware they can bite.
But the big question is… can they bite your finger off?
Before you panic or feel afraid, check out the facts first.
Read on to find out:
- Reasons why rabbits bite.
- When to see the vet or a doctor.
- 15 tips on what to do if a rabbit bites you.
- Whether a rabbit can bite your finger off or not.
- And so much more…
Can a rabbit bite your finger off?
A rabbit cannot bite your finger off, but they can leave a wound on it. It’s good news that their bites aren’t strong enough to cut off a finger. But their teeth can be sharp enough to cut your skin. Depending on how hard they bite, the wound can be deeper.
What should I do if a rabbit bites me? 15 tips
#1: Stay calm
One of the first things you should do is remain calm. Panicking can only make things worse.
For example, if your rabbit is carrying any type of disease from bacteria or parasite…
Panic can speed up the spreading of the infection. Take deep breaths to clear your mind.
Ask someone to help you stand up if you are on the ground.
Don’t do anything to the rabbit. Unless something seems wrong with them. For now, focus on treating your wound.
When you’re calm, your mind can come up with the best course of action.
#2: Stop the bleeding
The next thing you should do is give yourself first-aid treatment. If your wound is bleeding nonstop, make sure to stop it first.
This is crucial in case of a rabies infection.
Though rare in pet rabbits, they can get rabies too.
Based on a study, rabbits were once used to develop the first anti-rabies vaccine. This means that they are more prone to rabies infection.
If this is the case, both you and your rabbit will need help ASAP.
Following the same study, you can find out the signs of rabies in bunnies.
Here are 11 signs to watch out for:
- Head tilting.
- Ear infection.
- Head tremors.
- Weak front limbs.
- Excessive wheezing.
- Their joints make a loud cracking sound.
Warning: If you suspect rabies in your rabbit, don’t worry about how they got it. You can do that later on. This is an emergency. Visit the doctor and the vet ASAP for you and your bunny.
If you think there are no signs of rabies, you are safe to proceed to tip #3.
#3: Clean the wound
Once the bleeding stops, disinfect the wound by cleaning it. The deeper the wound, the more time you should take to cleanse it.
Wash your finger with soap to kill any potential bacteria.
Use a small amount of ointment to treat the area. If you use betadine, it’s best to only use a small amount too.
Too much can be too harsh for your skin.
Once you’re done cleaning it up, pat your skin dry. Cover it up with a bandaid.
This will prevent any bacteria or parasites from entering the wound.
#4: Keep the wound clean
It’s also important to maintain cleanliness for your wound.
If not, it can be at risk of developing an infection. A dirty wound will only invite bacteria buildup.
If your wound is taking a while to heal, always change your bandages to a clean one.
You can’t let a bandage soaked in blood sit on your wound for too long either.
It can slow down the process of healing.
Most small animal bites can only take 3 up to 7 days to heal. But if the wound is deep, it may take longer than that.
#5: Get enough rest
If needed, you should take time to rest. This is crucial if the wound is severe.
If an infection has also started, this is more reason for you to rest.
It won’t hurt to take longer breaks if needed.
It’s one way to make sure things don’t grow worse than they already are.
Even if you think a rabbit bite won’t do much, it’s still important to rest if you’re not feeling well because of it.
#6: Drink antibiotics
If you’ve visited the vet or the hospital and determined you have Pasteurella from a bite…
You have to drink antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
This is a common disease found in bunnies. The bacteria known as “Pasteurella Multocida” a.k.a “P. Multocida” can be a big threat.
For rabbits, it can infect their lungs. It makes it hard for them to breathe.
For humans, it’s uncommon. But if you have a weak immune system, you are at high risk, as claimed by a study.
Symptoms of Pasteurella are:
- Skin irritation.
- Joint infection.
- Excessive bleeding.
In severe but rare cases, pneumonia and lung issues can occur.
To treat this, you can drink amoxicillin. But of course, you should also follow your doctor’s orders.
To treat your bunny in the case of P.Multocida, you can give them enrofloxacin. Research stated that it’s very effective for treating infection.
On the plus side, it also has little to no side effects for your bunny.
But if the case seems severe, take your bunny to the vet ASAP.
#7: Get anti-tetanus
If you haven’t gotten an anti-tetanus shot recently…
It can be safe to consider getting it.
Research reveals that tetanus is not natural for bunnies. This means that it’s normal for them not to carry it.
While you won’t get tetanus from your bunny, an open wound can invite the bacteria in.
Tetanus can be a deadly infection and needs to get treated ASAP.
In the event that you can’t get to a hospital…
You can drink penicillin to try killing the bacteria. At the same time, you can also take muscle relaxers. You will need it for controlling spasms.
#8: Don’t touch them with your wound
If your wound doesn’t seem too bad, what you can do for now is avoid touching your bunny.
You can get skin infections if there are any bacteria or parasites on your bunny’s skin. You can do the same thing if you own other pets too. It’s not only for the rabbit that bit you.
This will help reduce the risk of any infection, including fungal infections.
It can also be a good thing to leave your bunny alone for a while.
Let them relax too. Something must’ve caused them to bite you.
That’s why you need to learn what can make them bite you. More on that as you read on.
#9: Avoid using your wounded finger
Other than not touching your pet…
Don’t use your wounded finger for anything else. This is crucial if you also don’t want to cover it up with a bandaid or such.
Touching things with an open wound is a dangerous thing to do.
You never know what bacteria you might get by touching random surfaces.
If you’re always using your hands for work…
Try to disinfect the things before you touch them.
#10: Provide constant treatment
It’s also important to keep treating your wound. While it’s healing, don’t forget to drink your medicine.
Don’t miss out on your antibiotics.
If you give it proper care, it can speed up your recovery. At the same time, not giving it proper care can make it worse.
Even if you think it’s already healing, you should still treat it like you did on day 1.
Sometimes, wounds grow bad because we skip treating them for a day. It can happen when we assume that they don’t need any more medicine.
You know what they say, “Don’t celebrate too early. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
#11: Learn how to prevent another bite
If everything seems fine, then you only need to know how to avoid getting bitten once again.
To learn how to prevent another bite, understand the root of the issue first.
Knowing the cause is the cure. So, try to think about what caused your rabbit to bite you.
Here are a few potential reasons to look at:
- They felt shocked.
- They feel stressed.
- They’re trying to be dominant.
- They’re angry about something.
- They thought you had food in your hand.
There are many possible reasons, but these 5 are the common ones.
If you want to know more about why rabbits bite you and to learn more tips, you can check out our other article about it.
Rabbits can bite out of fear, stress, or hormones. Whichever it is, you need to avoid it.
This will help both you and your rabbit.
#12: Train them how to stop
If your rabbit seems fine and your wound is not that bad, you can also train them to stop biting you.
If this has become a common problem, you need to help your rabbit to fix it.
A good way to train them is by positive training. Most rabbits won’t respond well to yelling or shouting.
As a reminder, NEVER hit your bunny for any reason at all. It will only make them misbehave even more.
Even if they keep biting you, you must never hurt them or yell at them too.
What you can do instead is give them treats and praises.
Rabbits are food motivated, so this trick will work like a charm.
If your rabbit tries to bite you, tell them “No” or “Stop”. Be clear with your tone of voice so they can remember it.
You can pick any word you want them to associate as a “command”.
If they listen, don’t give the treat right away.
Get up, walk away, and wait for them to follow you. Once they follow you, give them the treat and praise them.
This can show them that they need to calm down around you, so they can get rewarded.
They are smart so they can pick up the pattern. You only need to keep it up until they get it.
Be patient. It’s for you and your rabbit’s best interests.
If you want to know more tips on how to stop them, you can see this video:
#13: See a doctor
If you feel uneasy and you are also in pain, you should visit a doctor right away. Even if the bite wound seems small and there is no bleeding…
It’s still better to get a quick health check for your safety.
Sometimes, bites can cause a great amount of shock. It can affect you internally. There could be a problem that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
So, go and visit your doctor.
#14: Check if your rabbit needs help
Even if your rabbit seems fine after the bite, it’s also good to check their well-being.
Rabbits are good at hiding diseases. It’s part of their instincts.
So if you feel alright, turn your attention to your bunny.
Something must be wrong that made them bite you like mentioned in tip #11.
Before things turn fatal, see if they need help.
Check their teeth for any wounds or infections. You can also pay attention if their body has gone stiff or limp.
A sick bunny will also make weird noises such as grunting, wheezing, and screaming.
Lethargy is another big sign. If there are changes in their behavior…
Your bunny could be sick. Don’t hesitate and proceed to the final tip.
#15: Visit a vet for tips
Though most rabbit bites aren’t deadly and it’s rare for them to bite too hard…
It’s still best to take your bunny to the vet. In case they’re sick or in pain, a vet can treat them right away.
Biting is normal but it’s not a good habit for your bunny. That’s why they also need to get checked ASAP.
People also ask:
What does it mean when a rabbit bites your finger?
When a rabbit bites your finger, it means that they’re asserting their dominance. If your hand smells like food, they can also bite it by accident. Biting can also be a sign of grooming. In some cases, they’ll bite if they’re angry or traumatized.
Do rabbit bites cause infection?
Rabbit bites can cause infections such as pasteurellosis, tularemia, and rabies. Though it’s rare, you can still get infected. If a person has a weak immune system, they’re at a high risk of getting infected by Pasteurella.
Most of the time, their bites aren’t serious. It only needs proper care and treatment.