Can Cottontail Rabbits Be Domesticated?

Noted for having a white underside and stub tails, the cottontail rabbit offers a unique set of characteristics that play a role in determining its viability as a pet. Many potential rabbit owners find these rabbits to be a compelling option, but it’s important to ask, “Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated?”

Cottontail rabbits cannot be domesticated as they are aggressive, do not train well, and should be left in the wild. Even a cottontail rabbit born and raised with humans is going to have aggressive tendencies that are difficult to control.

It’s best to look at other types of rabbits that do well with humans and can be trained safely.

Key factors to consider include:

  • Ability to Train
  • Aggression
  • Eating Habits

Cottontail rabbits are not the same as other types of rabbits, which means they are going to act out when aggravated. They are not as forgiving, which means the idea of having them as a pet is just not a good idea!

It makes more sense to look at other types and see which one works well for you.

This guide will go deeper into answering the question “Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated?” while also assessing key factors that make this type of rabbit difficult to domesticate.

Best Book on Cottontail Rabbits (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

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Challenges of Domesticating Cottontail Rabbits

1. Signs of Aggression

Aggression is often noted in this species and it is something that plays a role when trying to pinpoint whether or not the rabbit is a good pet.

When a cottontail rabbit becomes aggressive, it will lash out and this can lead to serious injuries. This is a major problem with children and/or other small pets in the house.

Due to this being a reality, it becomes challenging to have a cottontail rabbit in the house. In some cases, people will hand-raise a cottontail rabbit at home assuming it will be fine, but there comes a point where they are going to lash out.

Experts Say...
The average cottontail rabbit is going to have aggressive tendencies, which can include biting and/or hitting once restricted by another animal including humans.

This is something the cottontail rabbit can’t control and it’s going to show at different times.

As the rabbit starts growing older, you are going to see its tolerance for others go down. This is regardless of how long you have had the cottontail rabbit or its relationship with you.

This is a rabbit that has evolved over time to have this flair of aggression and it is important to keep this in mind when bringing them into your house.

Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated

2. Difficult to Train

When asking “Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated?”, you have to focus on how easy it is to train a cottontail rabbit.

You don’t want the rabbit to leave a mess wherever it goes and/or start acting out all the time. With other types of rabbits, you are not going to have this problem at all and they will adapt to your situation. However, the same doesn’t apply to what you are going to get with a cottontail rabbit.

They won’t respond well to training because that is not what they are meant to do.

Experts Say...
Cottontail rabbits tend to have a streak of independence, which means they are not going to respond well to any type of training.

An animal that is difficult to train is not one that should be coming into your house.

This is a major issue that is listed when asking “Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated?” because it does matter over the long-term.

You can’t have an animal that is going to avoid listening to you and/or is going to become impossible to train.

Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated

3. Dominance

This is noted as soon as the cottontail rabbit hits the age of 3-4 months.

They are going to start guarding items around the house and/or trying to pinpoint areas that are its own. This is difficult to manage because they are going to try to dictate terms and won’t listen to any training methods that are used on them.

This means you are going to have an aggressive cottontail rabbit at home that continues to choose spots as its own around the house.

As you can imagine, this is a challenging spot to be in.

Final Thoughts

“Can cottontail rabbits be domesticated?”

Cottontail rabbits are not meant to be domesticated and they should be left in the wild where they belong. They are at home in those conditions and they will thrive when left outdoors.

Bringing them into a house as a pet is not a reasonable thing to do for the average rabbit owner. It is better to go with house rabbits that are easy to train and will respond well to your training methods.

Here is more on wild rabbits – cleaning rabbit poop, rabbit’s eyesight in the wild, wild rabbit resting in one spot, and wild rabbit playing leapfrog.