This bite was placed on my hand last night. Hoppy was on the couch with my wife, who was watching TV. Being a "teenager" (he's six months old, which is around 16-17 years old in human years), he's become quite territorial, and he wants to claim the couch as his own. How does he do that? He leaves a pile of poop on the couch. Of course, rabbit poop is small and hard, like Cocoa Puffs, and it can be cleaned up very easily. That is what I proceeded to do as I grabbed our hand broom and dustpan and made my way to the mess.
What I didn't notice at the time was that Hoppy was busy courting my wife. Lately Hoppy has had... uh... a big crush on her... and I'm in the way. Usually when he's courting, and I come around, he'll stare at me like, "Get away, man." He thinks I'm trying to "steal his girl". If I try to pet him, he'll nip my hand a little, just to tell me he's busy and please leave him alone. But he never attacked me before like he did last night.
Anyway, back to the story. I went over to the couch to clean up his droppings, and Hoppy was right next to his mess, courting my wife. Not paying any attention to him, I tried to sweep up his poop, and suddenly he lunged forward at me and bit my hand with such might that when I pulled my hand back in surprise, I actually took Hoppy with me! He was hanging in the air, his teeth still firmly placed in the base of my thumb. Luckily he wasn't hurt.
* * * * *
Last night was the result of a buildup of distrust, I think, over the last month or two, since he hit puberty. This is probably because of two reasons:
1) I'm "competing" with him for my wife, as I mentioned above, and
2) I'm the "strict parent." I'm the one that punishes him when he does something wrong. For example, he likes to pick and dig at our carpet. It used to be just the edges, but we hid those. Then he moved to the middle of the room and began to pick there, pulling up strings and sometimes leaving small holes in the process. We tried the positive approach, trying to give him toys and other things he can dig and pick at. But that didn't work. So we had to start punishing him. Of course, you can't scold a rabbit like you can a dog or a cat, and you definitely cannot hit a rabbit. What you have to do is find something humane that he doesn't like, and do it when he does something wrong. For example, some people use a spray bottle and spray water at their rabbit. As for me, I pick Hoppy up and hold him in my arms. Hoppy hates to be picked up. Perfect, I thought. So that's what I do. And usually it works. But I think Hoppy hates me now because of that.
Whatever the reasons, we are going to have to find a way to coexist together in this house, because neither one of us are going away.