Most people that have ever owned a farm or even visited any part of nature, has seen a wild rabbit. They are usually brown or tawny colored and cute as a button. Size can vary depending on the area but, you may wonder, if you were able to catch a wild rabbit, would it bite?
Do Wild Rabbits Bite?
Wild rabbits do bite and can draw blood when they do so. While their speed and agility is their primary defense mechanism, if cornered a wild, scared rabbit can and will bite very hard.
A person is, however, more likely to receive a bite from a pet rabbit than a wild one. Since pet rabbits are most often kept caged, their escape option has been removed and biting is a likely response when scared.
Wild rabbits don’t make good pets so, I would guess you are researching this because you have a wild rabbit that is stuck somewhere. In that case, here are some tips for catching it.
4 Ways to Catch a Wild Rabbit
So what should you do if you come across a wild rabbit that is trapped or stuck and you need to pick it up to move it?
Maybe the rabbit has fallen in a deep hole or gotten into a stock tank and can’t get out. What should you do?
Of course, remember that rabbits can bite, it will hurt if they do and it can get infected. That being said, most animals we work with on a day to day basis can have the same reaction to fear.
Dogs, cats, horses, pretty much anything with teeth can bite when afraid, that doesn’t mean they always will. Some scared rabbits will cower instead of biting. Others may try to use their back legs to scratch.
1. Use a Net
The best option is to use a net if one is available. This gives you a way to keep the wild animal at arm’s length.
A pool net, for example, is a nice, safe way to pick up a wild rabbit if necessary. Of course, I realize you may not always have a net around when the need arises, so what other options are there?
2. Use A Jacket, Shirt or Blanket
In the absence of a completely hands-off solution, another good way to catch a wild rabbit is by using a large cloth to throw over the rabbit. If you can do so in a way that blindfolds it, the rabbit is more likely to stay calm and less likely to bite.
Of course, you still need to be very careful when handling it and ensure your hands stay well clear of the rabbits mouth.
In fact, the more cloth you can put between your hands and the rabbit, the safer you will be.
3. Wear Gloves
If you’re running out of options and you don’t have a net or a cloth, gloves can help protect your hands.
Keep in mind that the protection only extends as high as the glove. In addition, a rabbit can bite through even a thick leather glove.
The glove will help protect you but isn’t a 100% way to avoid injury. Still, it’s better than using your bare hands.
4. Using Your Bare Hands
Think of this method as a last resort. You should only use this method if handling the wild rabbit is 100% necessary and you are willing to risk being bitten.
Rabbits are fast, so you should grab the rabbit around the body if at all possible. Then, as quickly as you can, pick up the rabbit by the scruff of its neck.
Using your opposite hand, provide support to the rabbit’s rear end. You can firmly hold the back feet between your fingers if the rabbit is struggling a lot.
What to Do with a Wild Rabbit
If you have caught a wild rabbit, the best thing to do is find a safe place to release it. If the animal was merely trapped, you should free it in the same area you found it.
If you feel the area is not safe, you can either relocate the animal to a nearby wilderness area or contact a local wildlife rescue for further advice.
What To Do If a Wild Rabbit Bites You?
According to the Center for Disease Control, wild rabbits almost never have rabies and are not known to transmit rabies to humans.
That means that if you are bit by a wild rabbit, rabies should not be an immediate concern but, infection certainly is. If the rabbit breaks the skin, even if it just appears to be a minor scratch, you should consult your doctor for further advice.
Your doctor may just advise you to apply a topical antiseptic cream and keep the area clean but, it’s better to seek professional advice.