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How to Safely Pick Up a Rabbit

Learn how to safely pick up a rabbit from the animal experts at traveling petting zoo Squeals on Wheels in this Howcast video.


Hello, my name is Jill Phillips, and I'm co-owner of Squeals on Wheels, a traveling petting zoo and pony rides. My name is John Phillips. We have horses, miniature horses. We have miniature llamas and alpacas, chickens, ducks. We have bearded dragons. Our website is

One of the most important things you can learn as a new rabbit owner is how to pick up that rabbit. It's really a lesson in safety, because rabbits have a very fragile spine, and if they're not picked up correctly or you don't understand the cues as when you hold on to them or put them down, it could be very dangerous for a rabbit. The first thing I do when I approach a rabbit, whether inside the cage or outside the cage, is I'll reach in and I'll pet the rabbit to let that rabbit know that I'm there, and I'm not just reaching in like an animal of prey. Once I pet that rabbit a little bit, I put my hand, usually my writing hand or my dominant hand, right behind the rabbits front legs and then I'll put my other hand, right underneath it's rump so that its fully supported. Now he knows that I'm going to pick him up, and right now I'm just going to move him to my lap. So sitting is really the best way to pick up a rabbit, so they're not being held too far up in the air. You'll notice that he's very calm, he's not fighting or wriggling. Now if I had him up against my chest, and I was carrying him standing, and he began to wriggle and kick, I would actually hold onto him a little bit tighter and try to calm him down, because if I put him on the ground when he was kicking and wriggling, they can actually snap their spine and become paralyzed from the waist on down. So this is really a lesson in safety to pick up a rabbit carefully.

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