Monday, October 25, 2010


Hey, bunnies are cute. Sweet, adorable little fluffy balls of fun.

Oh yes, and territorial agressive fur-chomping paper-ripping pen-rattling little monsters that'll kill you as soon as look at you. Yeah. That's them.

You may remember that at the age of about eight weeks Augustus decided to assert his dominance over his six-week old companion Snowdon by chasing him around violently and taking chunks out of his fur. We separated them for a couple of weeks before allowing them to be together again and they've been fine ever since, doing bunny-trains around the living room, grooming each other, snuggling up for comfort. Ahh, yes. Bonded, though definitely with a pecking order.

Things were good.

Then about a week ago there was a sudden surge in butt-sniffing and one or two little chases. Snowdon, the slightly younger, was not quite 1500g (the minimum weight our vet considers it safe to neuter at) but he was close enough and we didn't want the bad behaviour to get worse so we booked them in for their little snips.

The day before the operation things kicked off again briefly. No worry - they're booked in to get fixed the next day!

Operation: successful. Laser surgery. They ate well afterwards and seemed fine. For a few hours.

Then frantic chasing and fur-ripping again. We tried separating them for a few hours. Put them back together. Twenty seconds later it kicked off again. Separation. Reintroduction. Fighting.


Did we leave it too long? Augustus could feasibly have been fixed a week or so earlier but we thought it would be better to get both done at the same time, and there were no warning signs to presage the oncoming fury.

The vet says we have to separate them for 3 months (though allowing them to 'visit' through the bars of their respective pens). We alternate which one gets to have the run of the living room and which has to settle for the pen, and they don't like this. Foot-thumping, cage-rattling and Tasmanian Devil paper ripping. Rip rip rip rip rip.

Lots of anger.

The hope (I stress hope) is that after three months when the testosterone currently in Augustus's system dissipates they will still feel the bond they've had until now, though apparently there's no guarantee. The whole point of having a pair of them is that they can keep each other company. Having to keep them separated after that point would be awful. I must say I'm feeling a little...down about this. Not sure what else we can do though.

Here's Augustus B. Bad doing hard time for crimes committed, surrounded by savaged broadsheets.


  1. Please don't despair. I feel certain they can be fully bonded. At one time, Pink and Elvis went through that. I got one after the other, with the idea they'd be friends, and even after the neuter, they tussled endlessly and violently, with little Elvis (the lionhead) getting the worst of it. And it was particularly heartbreaking to me because Elvis clearly wanted to be friends and snuggle, while Pink would bowl him over, chase him, pee on him (squirting him right in the face was a favorite) and then tear his hair out in clumps. I have specific suggestions, which I'll send tonight (I'm at work right now). There are ways to help the bonding along, and yes, they are both going to have to get past the neutering--it takes 60-90 days definitely for the hormones to subside. And then a couple more months besides. Now they're tightly bonded and snuggle constantly, along with Peaches (a girl) I introduced later. She was accepted almost immediately by both of them.

  2. Glenna is right. Your adorable boys will still have some left over hormones for a bit. I have a bonded pair of boys that are inseparable now that they are both fixed. I have found my lionheads can be a bit freaky anyway, so the time apart will be good for them. Good luck and nose rubs to too cute duo.

  3. I agree - it takes a while for the hormoes to die down after the op I heard... then they'll be fine.
    Good luck!

  4. Agreeing also: your vet is right--keep them separated but able to see and sniff each other, allow each his time out and about so no one space can be claimed by either bun. Alternating cages will also help reinforce the idea that neither one owns everything. Once the hormones are out of both systems, rebonding can take place. The bathroom (specifically the bathtub) is a good place for initial reintro; it's neutral turf and the slippery tub will ensure that neither can find traction enough to do harm to the other.

    Amazing how such sweet little puffballs can be such terrors at times, isn't it?

  5. Thank you all for the support. I like the bathtub idea, Jade. And I can't wait to hear Glenna's ideas too!

  6. The bathtub is a great idea, because the slipperiness causes stress, and when two bunnies get stressed out, they look for comfort in each other. A lot of it is territoriality, so a good thing to do is find a friend who wants to play host for a few days. Pack up the terrible twosome and drop them off in a strange environment, and they'll gravitate to each other also. It's neutral territory. (Although make sure they have two cages/enclosures should a fight break out.) I tried it, and it worked wonders--they came home much calmer. Another thing is to pack the two of them in a big cat carrier or cage and take them for a ride in a car (works for putting babies to sleep too, I'm told). And I've heard about putting the two in a cage and setting it on top of a washing machine and getting the cycle going, which will stress them out just enough.

    I had two side-by-side cages, so even though they seemed to want to kill each other when they were out, they'd press up against each other as much as the bars would allow to sleep, so that was a good sign. Elvis so desperately wanted a cuddle. When I opened both cages they'd run into each other's cage, tear up stuff, eat food and mostly, spray everything in sight with pee. So charming.

    I just kept trying, night after night, letting them out, watching them tear around (adolescent buns need the exercise too), then tear into each other. It tapered off--didn't suddenly go away--over about a six month period. And then when we got Peaches, who was a throwaway bunny, we introduced her to the boys and rather than taking months, they adopted her immediately--I think it took two days. Now the three are inseparable, which is good and bad. It's adorable, but frankly, they only have eyes for each other--they don't care about cuddles from a mere human, which broke my heart. Oh, well, they're happy, which is what counts.

  7. Thanks Glenna. We'll give those a try come January!

  8. Bonding is really tough, and I can only imagine re-bonding is more so.

    The car ride trick worked for me. My buns were great at their intro at the shelter, but when we got home it was not so good. Biff got territorial about "his" house. After a week or two I took them for a train ride (to get to the car) then a car ride the next day, and as I was trying to get them into a neutral box, one hopped in the other one's carrier and they've been in love ever since. I cannot recommend the car ride enough.

    On a lighter note, Augustus' coat has come in beautifully as he's matured.

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