Why Does My Rabbit Dig on Me? Understanding This Common Behavior

Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Leonard Harper

Rabbits are adorable, fluffy creatures that make for great pets. They are known for their playful and curious nature, and can be quite entertaining to watch. However, if you own a rabbit, you may have noticed that they have a tendency to dig on you. This behavior can be confusing and even frustrating for some owners, but it is important to understand why rabbits dig on their owners and how to respond to this behavior.

One reason why rabbits dig on their owners is that they are trying to get attention. Rabbits are social animals and crave interaction with their owners. They may dig on you to get your attention, or to demand pets or treats. Another reason why rabbits dig is that they are feeling playful. Rabbits are active animals and need plenty of exercise and stimulation. If they are feeling bored or restless, they may start digging on you as a way to play.

Understanding why rabbits dig on their owners is important for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with your pet. In this article, we will explore the reasons why rabbits dig on their owners, how to respond to this behavior, and how to deal with destructive behavior. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about rabbit behavior to help you better understand your furry friend.

Key Takeaways

  • Rabbits may dig on their owners to get attention or to play.
  • Respond to rabbit digging by providing attention, exercise, and stimulation.
  • Destructive behavior can be prevented by providing appropriate toys and training.

Why Rabbits Dig

Rabbits are known for their natural behavior of digging. There are several reasons why rabbits dig, including instinctual behavior, territorial behavior, communication, and boredom.

Instinctual Behavior

Rabbits are prey animals, and digging is an instinctual behavior that helps them survive in the wild. They use their powerful muscles to dig burrows, which provide shelter and protection from predators. Digging also helps rabbits regulate their body temperature by providing a cooler place to rest during hot weather.

Territorial Behavior

Rabbits are territorial animals, and digging is one way they mark their territory. They use their sense of smell to identify their territory and will often urinate in the same spot to mark it. Digging also helps rabbits create a comfortable space to rest and play in their territory.


Rabbits are social animals and use various forms of communication to interact with other rabbits and humans. Digging is one way they communicate their needs and wants. For example, they may dig to get attention or to indicate that they want to play. They may also dig to show their displeasure or frustration.


Rabbits are intelligent animals and need mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Digging is a natural form of exercise and entertainment for rabbits. Providing digging boxes or other forms of enrichment can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

How to Respond to Rabbit Digging

If your rabbit is digging on you, it might be a sign of a behavioral issue or a natural behavior. Here are some tips to help you respond to rabbit digging:

Positive Reinforcement

One way to respond to rabbit digging is to use positive reinforcement. When your rabbit is playing or cuddling without digging, reward them with a treat or praise. This will help reinforce the behavior you want and discourage the behavior you don’t want.

Distraction Techniques

Another way to respond to rabbit digging is to use distraction techniques. When you notice your rabbit starting to dig, distract them with a toy or treat. This will help redirect their attention and energy to something more appropriate.

Providing Appropriate Outlets

Rabbits have a natural instinct to dig, so providing an appropriate outlet for this behavior can be helpful. You can create a digging box filled with hay or a grass mat for your rabbit to dig in. This will give them a place to satisfy their natural behavior and reduce the likelihood of them digging on you.

It’s also important to make sure your rabbit has enough toys and outlets for play and exploration. This can include cardboard boxes, chew toys, and blankets or towels to snuggle in. Providing a comfortable bed and enough alone time can also help reduce stress and encourage positive behavior.

If you have a female rabbit that is not spayed, digging may be a sign of territorial behavior. Spaying your rabbit can help reduce this behavior and make them more playful and calm.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of your own scent and the scent of your clothing and perfume. Rabbits have a keen sense of smell and may be attracted to certain odors. Avoid wearing strong perfumes or scents that may be confusing or overwhelming to your rabbit.

By using positive reinforcement, distraction techniques, and providing appropriate outlets, you can help respond to rabbit digging and encourage positive behavior in your furry friend.

Dealing with Destructive Behavior

If your rabbit is digging on you, it can be a sign of destructive behavior. It is important to identify the cause of this behavior and address it appropriately to prevent any further damage.

Identifying the Cause

There can be several reasons why your rabbit is digging on you. It could be a perceived threat or boss behavior, anxiety, or simply a release of energy. Some rabbits may dig on fabric or even their owners as a way to mark their territory.

If your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, this could also be a contributing factor. Hormones can cause territorial behavior, which may lead to digging on you.

Addressing the Issue

To address this behavior, it is important to first spay or neuter your rabbit. This will help reduce the drive to dig and calm down any aggressive behavior.

Another solution is to provide your rabbit with a designated digging area, such as a digging box. This will give them an appropriate outlet for their digging behavior and prevent them from damaging your belongings or digging on you.

If your rabbit is digging on you out of anxiety or perceived threat, it is important to provide them with a safe and comfortable environment. This could include a quiet and secure space for them to retreat to when they feel stressed.

In some cases, seeking advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist may be necessary. They can help identify the root cause of the behavior and provide guidance on how to address it.

Dealing with destructive behavior in rabbits requires identifying the cause and addressing it appropriately. By spaying or neutering your rabbit, providing a designated digging area, and creating a safe and comfortable environment, you can prevent any further damage and promote positive behavior.


In conclusion, digging is a natural behavior for rabbits that serves several purposes, including survival, marking territory, communication, and entertainment. Understanding why rabbits dig can help owners provide appropriate enrichment and prevent destructive behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions