Instead of peeing in their litter box…
Your bunny splashes their urine on walls and furniture.
Like they’ve drawn some kind of graffiti.
And if you’re not careful, you can also be a canvas they may ‘paint’ on.
So, why are they doing this?
And if they really are spraying, what are the signs you should look out for?
Continue reading to discover:
- What a rabbit spray looks like.
- Whether female bunnies spray too or not.
- The colors of their urine and their meanings.
- The real reasons behind urine spraying in rabbits.
- And many more…
What does rabbit spray look like?
Rabbit spray looks like it’s splashed everywhere. Say, walls, furniture, and even other pets or people. It’s also usually done on vertical surfaces. While a normal pee is typically a puddle on the floor. And it’s done on horizontal surfaces. Plus, it doesn’t have a strong foul odor, unlike a spray.
But in terms of smell, a rabbit spray will usually stink more than regular pee.
This is because bunnies also release musk in it. Which has a strong smell and is used to attract mates.
What color is rabbit spray?
A rabbit spray’s color can be between yellow and orange. A shade darker than this can be due to their diet or an illness. For example, a reddish tint can be caused by eating a plant with the same pigment color. But, this could also be due to blood. And it’s usually a sign of kidney stones.
What does it mean when a rabbit sprays?
If a rabbit sprays, it means that they’re being territorial or in puberty. They’re marking their areas due to instincts. Or they’re doing it due to hormonal changes. In other cases, they could also be stressed or upset. While female rabbits may do this to their litter. To make them smell familiar.
7 reasons why rabbits spray
#1: They’re ‘scent-marking’
First off, rabbits can be so territorial.
But if we humans mark our properties by sticking a label or putting up a sign…
What do bunnies use to claim theirs?
This is why this behavior is called ‘scent-marking.’
And it’s more common in bucks or male rabbits. But, does or females can also do this.
They may rub the secretions of their scent glands on things they claim. (This might include their humans!) Either the ones under their chin, near their bum, or groin area.
However, rabbits could also spray their urine to mark territories
As well as deposit their stools.
A rabbit’s urine might only smell awful to us.
But to them and other animals, it’s like a ‘calling card’ that contains one’s identity.
This is all thanks to the ‘urinary proteins.’ Or the ones that bind their ‘pheromones’ in their pee.
Which are, by the way, chemicals that incite a certain reaction from their kind. Depending on the message they want to send.
So, bunnies may use it to announce their presence to others. Or to convey a message like, “Keep off. This is my territory.”
In the wild, research says that rabbits also spray urine to mark territories. And they do this to other bunnies as well.
While house bunnies are reported for also peeing on their humans.
This is probably because they like their parents a lot. And they view them as a territory or a very important resource.
So they may cling on and follow their humans everywhere.
Interesting fact: A study found that male mammals (rabbits included) produce more urinary proteins. Compared to their female counterparts. And this may be linked to the reason why bucks are more territorial.
Don’t forget to check out: 15 Alarming Reasons Why Your Rabbit Poops So Much + 11 Tips
#2: They’re in puberty
Do you have a litter-trained bunny who’s spraying pee now all of a sudden?
If so, it’s likely due to a surge of sex hormones.
These, along with territorial instincts, are surely not a nice combination.
This is because your rabbit will be more driven to mark areas and objects. Which could bring chaos (a smelly one!) to your house.
“When does this usually happen?”
According to Dr. Dana Krempels, puberty hits rabbits between 3 to 8 months of age.
And aside from urine spraying, they may also:
- Honk a lot.
- Hump objects.
- Nip excessively.
- Become needier.
- Dig (common in females).
- Circle around your legs a lot.
You might also be interested in: 8 Odd Reasons Why Your Rabbits Nudges You (What It Means)
#3: They’re courting
In connection with the hormones…
Intact male rabbits will also do this during courtship.
Usually, they’ll spray their pee on females. As well as any objects around the house.
And this is done to keep their rivals away.
Since it’s also a method to mark territories. And to make other rabbits aware of their presence.
What to do?
Urine spraying is a normal behavior in rabbits.
But, this may cause a lot of stress (and cleaning!) for you and for other people in the house.
Although this can be managed, the most efficient way to get rid of this is by having your rabbit spayed or neutered.
Why should you opt for this?
If you’re not planning to breed your bunny, it’s best to have them fixed.
This will greatly reduce their hormones. Which are the main causes of this behavior.
As well as other issues. Like too much humping, biting, or fighting.
Getting your rabbit fixed will also steer them away from reproductive cancers. Especially if you have a female bun.
“When is the right time to get a rabbit fixed?”
The Royal Veterinary College says that it’ll vary based on their gender.
They advise parents to neuter a male rabbit at 4 months old. While it’s 5 months for female bunnies.
If you’re planning to breed them, manage the situation instead.
Take note of these things:
- Avoid letting your bunny have a free run in the house.
- Keep your intact rabbits separated from each other. Place them in different hutches to lessen their sexual frustration.
- Make the 3 sides of their litter box higher. This is to reduce the pee splashes on walls and objects whenever they spray.
Do neutered rabbits still spray?
After the surgery, it may take around 30 days before the spraying stops. As well as the other problematic behaviors linked to it.
Such as excessive mounting and destructive chewing.
#4: They’re stressed out
Apart from hormones, stress can also make a rabbit spray pee everywhere.
Because they feel anxious at the moment.
They’re also unsure of their surroundings. So they’ll become so hung up on marking their areas.
“How can I tell if a rabbit is stressed?”
Based on experts, the common signs of it in bunnies are:
- Hiding away.
- Being aggressive.
- Having low energy.
- Pooping more than usual.
What may have caused this?
It might not look like it, but rabbits also find it hard to adapt to changes.
Due to this, they can show unwanted behaviors. And these include urine spraying.
Some of the common reasons are:
- Changing their feeding schedule
- Having a new pet or people around.
- Moving their hutch to a different location.
So, you may also notice this if you have visitors at home. Or you did some changes in the layout of their space.
This is why be careful and avoid stressing your bun. Slowly introduce them to a new person or pet.
And if you need to make some changes, do it one step at a time.
Like gradually moving their hutch inch by inch. Until it’s in the new location and they don’t even realize it.
#6: They’re upset
Does the spraying also come with frequent leg thumping?
If this is your case, it looks like your bunny is upset with something.
And they might also show their displeasure by headbutting. Or by digging on you.
“What are the things that can make a rabbit upset?”
There are many.
But to mention a few, the ones on the top of the list are:
- Disturbing their space.
- Being alone for long hours.
- Having a stranger or another pet nearby.
- Creating loud noises (these also spook them a lot).
How to spot an annoyed bun?
First, take note that a happy rabbit will also have a relaxed tail. While an upset bunny will usually move their tail up and down.
And if their tail is raised, expect that they’ll spray pee anytime soon.
Like what the ‘angry’ rabbit did in this short clip:
Reading recommendation: 15 Reasons Why Your Rabbit Pees On Bed + 15 Tips To Stop It
#7: They’re marking their kittens
This last possible reason only applies to does or female rabbits.
Because after giving birth…
They also spray urine (and substances from their scent glands) to their babies.
“Why do they do that?”
Female bunnies do this to mark their kittens.
Since the smell is strong, they’ll be able to recognize their babies easily. Especially if there are other litters around.
Rabbits who just gave birth may also do the ‘chin rubbing’ on their kits.
This is another way of spreading their scent. And it’s because they have scent glands under the chin.
So, by doing this, they’ll also be able to leave some of their odor on their younglings.
Amazing, isn’t it!
Did you know that female rabbits are so strict about this?
Yup. Vets say that they can kill kittens from other litters. This is by only judging their scent.
And they could also attack their own babies if they smell differently.
This might be the case if a young bunny accidentally rubbed on other rabbits.
If you want to know more, read this article: Why do rabbits eat their own babies?
#BONUS: They feel unwell
Sometimes, spraying can also be a sign of an illness.
This is more likely if your bunny is already spayed or neutered. Or if peeing outside the litter box is a new behavior.
They might be experiencing polyuria. Or excessive urination.
And specialists say that this can be an indicator of:
- Liver disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Excess sodium chloride intake.
A rabbit who pees a lot may also become thirstier than usual. But it could also be due to boredom. As well as stress.
Note: List down all the symptoms your rabbit is showing. Then take your bun to the vet at once.
People also ask:
Do female rabbits spray?
Female rabbits also spray. They do it to mark territories or as a response to the surge of their sex hormones. But, they’ll also do it to their babies after giving birth.
Rabbits may not fully recognize their litter by their appearance – unlike us.
But, their sense of smell is superior to ours.
So by sniffing a familiar odor, they’ll be able to tell which are their babies. And which don’t belong to the litter.
Why do rabbits spray white stuff?
Rabbits spray white stuff because of too much calcium intake. This can be normal due to their diet. But, if it’s also thick or sludgy, this could be a sign of kidney stones.
According to PetMD, the latter condition is called ‘urolithiasis.’
It’s when the extra calcium in the body causes kidney stones to form in the urinary tract.
And research shows that 69.4% of its cases in rabbits were caused by calcium carbonate.
While 23% were from compounds. And 3.3% was due to mixed.
“What are its signs?”
- Weight loss.
- Tooth grinding.
- Blood in urine.
- Reduced appetite.
- Straining while peeing.
- Swollen urinary bladder/kidney.
- Thick beige to brown-colored pee.
What may have caused this?
- Lack of exercise.
- Less daily water intake.
- Rabbit pellets (with high calcium content).
Note: If your bunny shows some of the signs above, bring them to the vet asap. They’re likely in pain so they need immediate relief. Usually, vets will massage the bladder to get rid of any urine buildup. But surgery may also be needed for some cases.