Harmful is a heavy word, so I’ll say no – rabbits are not the greatest threat to human existence. What can be said is this – rabbits are not always cute and cuddly; sometimes, they bite. Rabbits choose to stick their teeth into people for some reasons that include fear, stress, or thinking that you are food. While the bites may be painful, a human may not develop any medical or health complications.
Some sources note that pet rabbit bites may leave a tingling sensation. The sensation may be a feeling of hurt, and one may bleed. But the wounds themselves are not usually profound. From time to time, a rabbit bite may mean an infection is present, and in that case, antibiotics will need to be administered. On top of that, the victim of the bite will need a tetanus shot, especially if they have not had one in years.
In the parts that follow this introduction, we will explore the reasons behind rabbits and their biting behavior. Also, you will be opened up to the differences between a bite and a nip. The discussion about the severity of a rabbit bite will be addressed, and disease spreading will also be captured. Near the end, you will also get the guide on how to treat a rabbit bite safely and carefully at home.
The Reasons Why – Rabbits And Biting Humans
It stands without argument that rabbits are among the friendliest, cuddliest, and the sweetest domestic animals. Humans can develop stable bonds with their animals. Also, rabbits enjoy the play and the grooming that we engage them in.
However, and because of instincts, animals bite from time to time. This happens regardless of the bond developed between the owner and the animal. Since rabbits are animals, they are not exempted from the rule. Here are some of the reasons why rabbits nip and bite their parents:
1. Fear – when you chase, pick up or restrain a rabbit, they are likely to panic. What follows is a nipping and biting session.
2. Stress – if the living conditions are confined, unsatisfactory, and noisy, the rabbit is likely to developed stress. When the animal is stressed, it becomes prone to biting.
3. Territory Marking (Territoriality) – Rabbits that are neither neutered nor spayed because of hormonal energy will show territorial marking behavior. The animal will bite you since it thinks that you are invading its territory.
4. Illness Or Pain – A rabbit that is in pain will think you are there to add injury to injury, get it? So, it will lash out and bite you, especially when you touch it.
5. Thinking That You Are Food – Well, this is a funny one, but it applies. For example, if you had dipped your hand in a bag of rabbit raisins, the rabbit may pick out the smell and think that you are a moving treat. They will want to munch on your fingers.
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, rabbits may also bite you deliberately. When this happens, you may have done something to upset it. It could be that the animal is either annoyed, frightened or hurt.
Rabbits can also learn to nip and bite through what is called negative reinforcement. For example, your rabbit may want to keep to himself and thus dislike being picked up. They will bite you until the idea registers in your mind. Once you put the rabbit down, it will learn and understand that it will get anything it wants by biting.
Rabbit Nips Versus Rabbits Bites
There is a difference between nipping and real biting. While nipping is an ordinary rabbit phenomenon, biting is very rare among rabbits. Nipping is used to refer to the gentle nibble of a rabbit. When a rabbit nips, their mouth isn’t wide open. Also, the nips usually register the same sensational effect as small pinches. Nips neither break skin nor hurt it. When rabbits decide to nip each other, it is their animal way of establishing dominance. Also, it is usually an expression of affection. In different situations, rabbits nip to get their attention.
When your rabbit nips you, do not feel unsettled as it is nothing to worry you. Most likely, the rabbit is attempting to ask for something or showing you some love. If you haven’t fed your rabbit in a while, prepare for a couple of nips.
Do They Hurt, You Know, The Rabbit Nips And Bites?
As mentioned in the starting kicker, rabbit nips are, for the most part, painless. Since the nips are mere communicative items, their design is not to wound or hurt. Unfortunately, we cannot have the same sentiments about bites.
A bite is probably the highest mark of a rabbit’s ferocity. Before a rabbit inflicts a legitimately real bite, it first opens its mouths widely. Then it clamps down with particular hardness. Sometimes, the rabbit may cling onto the bitten item tightly and show a specific reluctance to let go. This overt defensiveness means that the rabbit feels angry and threatened.
Are the bites painful? Mostly – yes, but it is dependent on how sensitive the victim is to pain. However, most people will agree that a proper and vigorous bite will make them scream a little.
Note that the teeth of a rabbit are sharp and long. Remember that they engage in cutting through leafy greens that are mostly fibrous. The sharpness can cut through human skin with ease when the need arises. In extreme and severe cases, a rabbit bite victim may bleed profusely, with the wound taking long to heal.
Adult rabbit bites are more hurtful than those inflicted by baby rabbits. The explanation for this is simple – the teeth of babies are smaller and shorter. The same case also happened when you compare large rabbit breeds with dwarf ones.
The hurt also depends on the energy behind the bite. If the rabbit feels terrified, it is likely to bite even harder than if it is feeling startled. Whichever the case, you will know when a rabbit bites you.
Are They Painful, You Know, The Rabbit Bites?
As identified, yes – yes, there is pain. However, the question to ask is whether the bite can cause long-lasting harm. If the rabbit bite came from a wild one, its effects are likely to last longer. This is because wild animals are at a higher risk of playing host to parasites or carrying diseases. So, they pose more danger than the bites of domestic rabbits.
Bleeding can be considered the most extreme thing in the case of a rabbit bite. But, the bleeding can be stopped if enough pressure gets applied to the wound.
Rabbit Bites And Disease Spreading
It is essential to know and understand that rabbits can contract many diseases through their bites. However, humans are not affected by all the conditions that may come up. There are some types of viruses and bacteria passed on by rabbits that stand no chance of survival in the human body. A common rabbit disease known as Myxomatosis causes death and disfigurement in rabbits. But, the disorders cannot affect rabbits. The following is a tabulation of the rabbits’ conditions that may wreak havoc in the body of a human:
|Pasteurellosis||This bacterium is found in the respiratory tracts and mouths of many animals that include the rabbit. If the bacteria compromise the rabbit bite, you are likely to develop a severe infection.|
|Tularaemia||Although uncommon, this disease is severe. Bacteria carried by rabbits cause it. It is a life-threatening disease but can be managed and treated by antibiotics.|
|Rabies||Yes, rabbits can get rabies, although that occurs on rare occasions. If the rabbit has rabies and then bites you, you could catch it.|
|Tetanus||This is a common wound-related disease. The bite of a rabbit may have a specific bacterial toxin that may get into the bite wound.|
The rabbit’s bite can also transmit external parasites and fungal infections into the human system. This should scare you a little away from your pet – they are transmitted by skin contact.
It all boils down to this – a rabbit bite is highly unlikely to give you a disease. If you’re coming out of a rabbit bite and feel insecure, get your doctor to run some tests.
Rabbit Bites And Infections
No matter its origin, any wound can become infected. Infections come about when an exposed wound picks up bacteria. While bacteria cause infections, there are many microorganisms out there that do not pose any risk.
The bite of a rabbit can be infectious because the teeth of the animal are not sterile. By taking care of and treating a rabbit bite, you minimize the chance of getting infected.
Treating A Rabbit Bite
If you are a rabbit owner, you would be naïve to think that you’ll never get bitten. Although rabbits tend to look docile, it is relatively easy to startle them. Since they are prey animals, rabbits get frequent panic attacks and bite at the slightest feeling of stress.
For that reason, it is crucial to understand what you can do in the event of a rabbit bite. Here follows a step-by-step guide to tell you how you will remain safe in the face of a bite:
Do Some Damage Assessment
Rabbit bites are different – while some are deep and sharp, others are shallow and blunt. The bite’s severity depends on the hardness of the bite, its length, and relative sharpness. As stated elsewhere in the article, rabbit bites do not require out-patient or in-patient treatment. It is only a few of them that require the attention of a medical professional.
After you are away from the biting rabbit, look at the wound to assess the damage. If you are bleeding, take a clean cloth and pressure the bleed. This will help in stemming the blood flow and quicken the clotting process. You will then get a chance to inspect the wound.
How do you know if you need stitches? Well, here are the variables to look at:
1. If the cut is deeper than 0.3 inches, or 1 centimeter
2. If the cut is located on a movable area of the body, such as a joint or a sensitive area like the face
3. If the continues bleeding even after pressure is applied for at least ten minutes
If any of the bullets mentioned above describe your situation, you need to visit an emergency room.
Do Some Wound Cleaning
If the bite is not severe, the bleeding will have stemmed after 10 minutes of pressure application. You won’t have to wait until all the blood trickles down.
After inspecting the wound, you should work on washing it. This will help to take care of any present bacteria. There are germs in animal teeth, and those are the items you want to avoid.
Ensure that clean water runs through your wound. You can use tap or bottled water as long as you can let the water run. Ensure that the injury is flushed thoroughly and carefully to avoid opening it up again.
While you wash, choose an antibacterial soap. You might feel a sting on the wound, but the specific soap is a step by itself. Ensure that the dirt does not get into the cut since it can cause infection.
Use A Topical Antibiotic
A clean rabbit bite wound needs something else. Once you are done with the wash, pat the wound with a lint-free and clean cloth. Do the work delicately to avoid rubbing the cloth against the injury.
Once the rabbit bite wound is dry, get the topical (ointment) treatment. This will immensely help to reduce the changes in bacterial infection. The topic treatment method will promote healing as well as keeping the wound moist. Some creams are manufactured to include pain-relief elements. After squeezing the tub and getting the medicine, rub it in the wound with great gentleness. You should avoid disrupting the wound.
Get The Wound Dressed
If the wound you got from the rabbit bite is not severe and isn’t bleeding anymore, you can leave it uncovered – it will heal just right. However, dressing or bandaging the wound is preferred. This enables the cut and the skin surrounding it to remain moist.
A journal notes that keeping a wound in a moist state helps in the following ways:
1. It facilitates healing by creating a suitable environment for tissue regeneration.
2. It helps to protect the wound against infection.
3. It reduces the chances of the wound getting scarring.
Also, getting your animal’s bite covered or bandage will reduce the chances of it opening up. It will not begin to bleed again, and if it does, the dressing or the bandage will soak the blood up.
Ensure that you choose a dressing bigger than the wound and one that will adequately cover it. Get either an adhesive bandage or a dressing pad (sterilized) affixed with tape (surgical).