Rabbits are utterly adorable, and it only makes sense that you’d want to cuddle and pet your bunny all day long. After all, a rabbit’s fur is luxuriously soft. But do rabbits like to be petted and cuddled, and if so, where exactly should you pet your bun?
The sweet spots to pet a rabbit are their forehead, neck, and their spine or back. Whether a rabbit likes their cheeks and sides rubbed depends on the individual rabbit. A rabbit’s ears are a neutral zone. It’s best to avoid touching your bun’s vulnerable areas like limbs, tummy, and chin.
Curious to know more about petting your bunny bestie? We’ve got everything you need.
Do Rabbits Like to Be Petted?
One rabbit isn’t exactly the same as another, so whether a pet rabbit likes to be petted depends on that particular rabbit. It’s pretty much like how you may adore back massages but your best friend is okay with only shoulder pats.
Most often, however, if you pet your rabbit the right way and they love and trust you, your bun adores being petted.
As prey animals, rabbits slowly build trust with new owners, so they won’t like unfamiliar people touching or petting them.
Put yourself in your rabbit’s shoes – you’d also be wary and scared if something much bigger than you is reaching out to pick you up and rub their hands all over you. Right?
So once your bunny trusts you because you are bonding with them and looking after their needs, they’ll love head scratches and body massages. But until then, keep establishing trust with your bun and let them come to you.
Sweet Spots for Petting Your Rabbit
When your bunny is familiar with you and loves you, you can start petting them.
Your bun may have a favorite spot they like being petted. However, if you see your bunny tensing up or sense they don’t like something, stop immediately.
Just like you can say no and give your consent when being touched, so can your bunny. They have boundaries too.
There are various sweet spots you can pet your rabbit:
Your rabbit will love forehead scratches.
Their forehead is on the slope of their heads, just below their ears.
If you scratch your bunny properly, you’ll see them visibly relax.
Not all rabbits will enjoy a nose tickle so see what your pet bunny enjoys. It’s best to lightly rub your rabbit’s nose bridge and see how they respond. Avoid the nose pad itself.
No reaction means your rabbit doesn’t mind the touch, nor do they particularly care.
If your bun recoils, it’s a negative response and you shouldn’t touch your bun there again.
Your bun may respond with the nose rub by touching its nose against yours or your hand. It’s generally a sign of affection, but it can also be a request for attention or food.
This is another area that may be a yes or a no. Even if your bun doesn’t like their cheeks rubbed, it is beneficial for you if they do accept your touch in this area.
You may need to feel your rabbit’s teeth through their cheeks or their jaw to gauge the state of their dental health.
From the forehead scratches, you can gently move to tickling the bridge of their nose and rubbing their cheeks.
Your rabbit will most likely melt into a puddle when you massage and rub their necks.
From the forehead, you can rub across your bunny’s head down to their neck and then massage them here.
Generally, rabbits don’t mind if you pet their ears.
This isn’t like a sweet spot, so it’s best to pay attention to your bun’s forehead and neck.
You can also take massaging further from the neck and rub your bun all along their back. Steer clear of their tail area as this is a sensitive spot.
When your rabbit is into the full-body massage, they’ll melt into the floor and splay their front limbs in front of them and their back limbs behind them.
Where Do Rabbits NOT Like to Be Petted
There are various spots your rabbit may not like to be touched.
Their sides are one question zone, and it depends on the individual rabbit.
When you do a full-body massage, you can gently let your hands rub across your bun’s sides. See how they react.
If they seem to relax or have no reaction, then you can pet them in that area.
Don’t touch your rabbit’s tail area, chin, their limbs, or tummy.
How to Pet Your Rabbit
We’ve got a detailed guide on petting your rabbit, but in short, here are the steps to follow to pet your rabbit:
- A rabbit has a blind spot right in front of them, so approach your bun from the side. You want them to see your hand so they don’t get a fright.
- Gently pet your bun’s forehead. Stroke along their fur’s direction, starting from the bottom (above their eyes) to the top of their forehead.
- From the forehead, move to pet your bun behind their ears or their neck.
- Your rabbit’s weight will melt into the floor when they enjoy the attention.
- Proceed to give your rabbit a full-body massage by stroking them from their forehead, down to their neck, and then all along their spine. Stop just before you get to their tail area.
Where Do Rabbits Like to Be Cuddled?
In general, rabbits don’t like to be cuddled. That is if you mean cuddling to be holding or hugging.
Rabbits like to lie next to their fur parents and then you can stroke them on their forehead, neck, and then down their back.
Sometimes, a rabbit will climb onto your lap if they are really looking for attention, and they’ll make themselves comfortable there.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
No matter what kind of rabbit you have, whether it’s a Flemish Giant or a Mini Lop, rabbits do like being petted – when they are familiar with you and trust you.
Keep note of the rabbit’s body language whenever you pet them – your bunny will let you know what they like and what they don’t like.
Start slowly, and learn where your rabbit likes being petted. The forehead, bridge of their nose, neck, and back are usually sweet spots.
While you can pet a domesticated rabbit, don’t pet a wild rabbit.