What Happens If A Rabbit Bites You



Don’t fool yourself and don’t fall for the cuteness of your pet rabbit always. They can too become ferocious at times (And no, not the type we see when humans turn into zombies or any version of them.) Rabbits are known to bite people for many reasons including fear, playfulness, stress or simply mistaking you for food. Again, not the zombie behavior here. When a rabbit bites you, usually there is nothing to fear about and it’s not fatal. But the bites can hurt like hell and often bleed. Other times, rabbits can scratch and bite when playing with you.

Most of the times, a bite doesn’t even require medical intervention, but just hygienic actions are required to clean the wounds and stop infection from spreading. And if the wound seems infected or looks like it might be, in that case, OTC antibiotics are a good option to take. Although, if a rabbit scratches or bites a kid while playing, there are chances of developing a severe infection. Consult a doctor and get the treatment right away. And to reduce the risk of bites and scratches, ensure to trim your rabbits’ claws and provide dental care regularly. 

To be a little bit extra cautious, if you haven’t got a tetanus shot in last decade, it’s best to take one. Well, it might help when your rabbit bits again too.

Why Do Rabbits Bite Humans

There’s no one reason why rabbit will bite or scratch someone. The domestic ones are considered to be the sweetest and the friendliest pets. Usually, they do not bite unless provoked or faced against enemies. But, in those rare cases, when they do, it can be usually due to fear of an attack or playfulness.

Pet rabbits build a strong bond with their owners/parents, and enjoy the time spend playing. However, no matter how strong your bond, animals are known to occasionally bite their caretakers. Domestic rabbits are no exception here. Whereas, wild rabbits either believe in flight or fight, so better stay away from those who picks the latter option.

Are Pet Rabbit Bites Dangerous

Mostly all species of rabbits have sharp teeth that can break the skin and leave deep wounds behind. When bitten, it can be a painful experience for adults as well as children.

Baby rabbit bites don’t usually tend to hurt, mainly due to the growth of their teeth and force of the bite, as much as bites from adult rabbits. If the infection from the bite is not curbed or treated, there is a chance of it turning into a fatal illness.

So, unless the wound gets infected or somehow the bite manages to nick an important blood vessel, there is nothing to fear about when you get bitten by your rabbit.

Do Rabbit Bites Spread Diseases

Rabbits can carry a variety of diseases but not all of them are dangerous to humans or likely spreadable. Basically, only a few of the diseases that rabbits carry can be passed to humans because some types of bacteria and viruses can not survive in the human body. Simply put, a common disease called Myxomatosis that causes death or disfigurement in rabbits cannot affect humans.

The diseases that can affect humans include tetanus, pasteurellosis, rabies and tularemia. These diseases can be life-threatening but can be treated with antibiotics. Rabbits can also spread fungal infections and external parasites; however, they are usually spread through skin contact more than a bite.

What To Do If A Rabbit Bites You

Most rabbit bites can be treated at home. Depending on how hard the bite was made, the severity of the wound can be determined. If the wound is too deep and loosing excess blood, it’s best to get it treated by a medical professional.

Here’s what you can do, immediately after the rabbit bits you, assess the damage caused by the bite and apply pressure with a clean cloth for a few minutes to stop the bleeding.

If the wound continues to bleed, you may need stitches, and there’s when medical help will be needed. And if the wound stops bleeding and don’t look deep, you can treat it at home. Just clean your wound under cool water but make sure you don’t rub it hard and pull open the wound making the situation worse. Use an antibacterial soap to wash the bite, apply antibiotic ointment and dress the wound.

As the day passes, the wound should heal and you must make sure to change your bandage once per day. Keep a tab on your healing wound and look for any signs of infection. Rabbit bite should heal as the days pass depending on the wound seriousness.

If the wound is not healing as expected, it may be infected. As the infection progresses, you may notice severe symptoms such as fever, nausea and fatigue. In that case, visit a doctor immediately.

Source: Rabbit Care Tips

Steps To Take If A Rabbit Bites You

– Get your rabbit to let go

Sometimes, the bite is too deep because the rabbit has clamped its jaws and is refusing to let go. These are rare cases, but it’s likely to happen when they feel a threat to there habitat or have territorial instincts. You need to move the rabbit so that the wounds can be treated on time. To do that, do not push your rabbit too hard or hit them. That can injure your rabbit and cause them to press their teeth further deep out of aggression or fear.

The best approach towards this concern is to distract your rabbit while you hold still. Upon distraction, your rabbit will move on towards what got their attention, leaving your wound alone.

– Stop the wound bleeding

Rabbits have strong jaws and sharp incisors —— their long teeth can puncture deeply into the skin. Use a clean cloth to put pressure on the wound and try to stop the bleeding. Within a few minutes, the bleeding to curb unless the bite is in such an area where it tends to bleed a lot. Once the wound is partially clean, look out for how bad and deep the wound is. Most times, the wounds will not be severe because rabbits teeth are meant to eat plants and vegetables and not cut meat before consuming. Rabbits are herbivores and their teeth are designed as such.

However, if your rabbit managed to bite into a vital artery or if their bite went down to the bone, you may want to seek professional medical attention.

– Clean your wound thoroughly

If the bite wound is not serious, you do not have to worry about rushing to your doctor. You can clean the wound at home using your basic first aid items. Use cold running water or a freshly damp cloth to wash the wound. Use anti-bacterial ointment to clean the wound furthermore and prevent infection. Keep the wound bandaged if the exposure of the wound area to dust and moisture is far too much.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

Bottom Line

If and when a rabbit bites or scratches you, this is what you should do:
  1. Inspect the wound to understand how deep is the wound
  2. Take a note of the how heavily the wound is bleeding out
  3. If the wound is not too deep and not bleeding too heavily, treat the wound at home.
  4. When treating the wound at home, wash the wound immediately in warm running water.
  5. Dry the wound carefully.
  6. Apply ointment and bandage the wound for further infection. 
  7. If within hours or days of home treatment, the wound shows signs of infection or your body runs a fever, consult your doctor immediately. 
  8. And if the wound when inspected is deep and bleeding heavily, do not wait to do home treatment but visit a doctor immediately. 

It’s better to not take risks with your body and get the doctors treat the wound and suggest the right course of treatment, which may include getting vaccinated too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is basic first aid enough to treat a rabbit bit wound?

Yes, basic first aid is usually enough to treat a rabbit bite wound. Bites that create a puncture hole will require extra attention to prevent infection. Wild rabbit bites can carry rabies or other potential diseases too. In such a situations, talk to your doctor.

2. Are rabbit bites serious?

Based on how deep the bite is, the seriousness can be determined. If the bleeding stops, there is no reason to worry. Although, it’s best to show your doctor, get the tetanus shot and roll out any concerns.

3. Can you get sick from a rabbit bite?

Rabbits can transmit bacteria through bites and scratches. Although, catching a disease from a rabbit bite is rare. If you feel the signs, consult your doctor to make sure you have no skin infections or internal infections.

4. Can you get rabies from a rabbit bite?

Yes, you can. Though it’s rare in domestic rabbits, rabies can be fatal to rabbits and humans can catch it too.

5. Does rabbit bite need injection?

Yes, a shot for rabies or tetanus would be recommended based on when these shots were taken last. Consult your doctor to track back when these shots were taken and if you need them now.

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