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.