I saw this video on facebook yesterday and I wanna clear something up.
This rabbit is not relaxed. Throughout the video, the rabbit is stiff as a board.
When rabbits are flipped onto their backs, they go into tonic immobility, which is a natural state of paralysis that rabbits and some other animals sink into. This is a protective, stress-induced behaviour that would protect them from potential threats, much like ‘playing dead’.
This is not a cute video of a rabbit enjoying a bath. This is a video of a rabbit showing stress-induced behaviour that has been known to kill rabbits. In this state, the heart and respiration rates of the rabbit lower significantly and if left for a long period of time - such as having a ‘nice relaxing bath’, can cause suffocation or indeed, a stress-induced heart atack.
A study led by Dr. Anne McBride of the University of Southampton found that rabbits show signs of extreme stress after an episode of tonic immobility. Another danger of placing a rabbit on his back is that he could break his back if he struggles against being turned over.
Never purposely place your rabbit into tonic immobility unless for medical reasons - meaning, if you’re a veterinarian or an EXPERIENCED rabbit handler or groomer. Intentionally inflicting severe stress on your pet to gain views for your cute video is fucking disgusting and abusive.
FINALLY. THANK YOU.
YOU ARE ALSO NEVER SUPPOSED TO PUT YOUR RABBIT IN A BATH, THEY NEVER NEED IT NATURALLY AND IT STRESSES THEM, POSSIBLY LETTING THEM DIE OF SHOCK. YOU SHOULD ONLY PUT THEM IN WATER IF IT IS 110% NECESSARY WHEN THEY’RE SICK OR HAVE DIARRHEA, AND DO SO VERY VERY CAREFULLY IN ONLY AN INCH OR TWO OF WATER, AND DRY THEM REALLY WELL, BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY WILL BE FREEZING (THICK FUR). YOU CAN ALSO ONLY DO THAT IF YOU’RE AN EXPERIENCED BUNNY HANDLER, WHICH THIS IDIOT OBVIOUSLY ISN’T