Can Rabbits Die Of Fear?

Do you want to know if rabbits can die if they get scared?

A rabbit’s fear response can trigger a range of physiological changes in its body, such as an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones, which can affect its overall health.

In this article, we will let you know if rabbits can die of fear, what the fear and how to prevent them?

Can Rabbits Die Of Fear?

Yes, rabbits can die of fear, although it is very unlikely and the medical term for this is “Capture Myopathy

Rabbit dies from cardiac arrest induced by fear.

We have seen a wild rabbit die from cardiac arrest shortly after being captured by a predator who induced sudden fright in them.

The same scenario applies to a pet rabbit. Even though pet rabbits are out of the reach of predators, they might die of cardiac arrest caused by loud sounds from gunshots, loud machinery, fireworks, etc.

Sometimes rabbits die from the fear of unfamiliar things or even people.

Now that you can grab what the context of the article is, let’s go into detail to look at why rabbits do die of fear or fright.

What Do Rabbits Fears?

For you to understand this better, let us look at what frightens rabbits. Knowing them will help you know how to prevent your rabbit from dying of fear.

Below are what causes fright in the rabbit: 

Loud Sounds

Loud sounds from machinery, gunshots, fireworks, and even dog barking are capable of triggering rabbits into shock. 

If your home is located in a noisy environment, it will be better off to allow your rabbits to roam around.  This is because any time your rabbit is startled by a loud unfamiliar noise, it will be able to run away from it fast.

But if you cage them in such an environment, you would be preventing them from acting on their instincts and it will make the shock more severe on them because they will feel trapped and unable to run away from the place.

Note that rabbits being prey animals rely mostly on familiarity to determine if a place is safe or not. This is why when they face unfamiliar things like people, and other bigger animals they would be frightened.

Please, if you notice that your bunny is prone to be scared of people, bigger animals, or even unfamiliar things, you have to admit it and introduce those things slowly, one at a time.

Another alternative to making your rabbit not be frightened is to allow your rabbits to successfully run away from anything that frightened them.

When you do this, your rabbit will have the confidence that they have turned away from what they perceive to be dangerous to them. This will help them to calm down.


Rabbits fear predators more than anything else.  They instinctively let them know when they are in danger from one. 

However, the case of predators frightening rabbits is more noticeable in the wild, as pet rabbits are well protected in our homes.

Other pets like cats and dogs are capable of causing panic to your rabbits, especially if those pets are not trained.

Below are the most common predators that can scare rabbits. 

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Falcons
  • Crows
  • Snakes
  • Foxes
  • Weasels, and
  • Raccoons.

If you house any of those predators, ensure you keep an eye on your rabbits, anytime you allow them to roam about.  You should also train your dog and cat so they won’t harm your rabbits.

Can Rabbits Die Of Fear

Signs Or Symptoms of Fear in Rabbits

Rabbits can show a variety of signs or symptoms when they are in fear or stress.

Some common signs of fear in rabbits include:

  • Ears flat against the back or side of the head
  • Hunched or crouched body posture
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Teeth grinding or chattering
  • Avoiding eye contact or looking away
  • Attempting to hide or burrow
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Thumping their hind legs on the ground
  • Fleeing or attempting to escape
  • Aggressive or defensive behavior, such as growling or biting

It’s important to recognize these signs in your rabbit and take steps to address the underlying cause of their fear or stress.

Way To Prevent Your Rabbits From Fear?

Let’s talk about how to protect or prevent your rabbit from fear.

1. Remove Those Things That Frighten Them

The best way to prevent your rabbit from fear is to remove those things you know that frighten them, however, removing them won’t be possible and those things can be unavoidable.

2. Allow Your Rabbit To Free-Roam

Allowing your rabbit to be free-roam is a good solution especially if you live in an area prone to loud sounds.

Allowing them to free-roam gives them a chance to act on their instinct when faced with unfamiliar sounds or things.

So, this means that, if your rabbit is in a cage, and you notice that there will be gunshots that night, then you have to consider letting your rabbit free-roam for that day.

When you do this, while the gun sounds are coming they will feel frightened but they would be able to run to any place they feel is safe. This would give them a kind of comfort and make them calm down.

3. Keep Your Rabbit Busy

Another way to make your rabbit comfortable and distract them from unfamiliar sounds that will make them scared is to keep them busy.

You can keep them busy by playing with them and providing them with their favorite treats.

Remember to consult your veterinarian if things get worse.

How Fast Does It Take For Rabbits To Die Of Fright?

It all depends on the situation and the level of fear.

For instance, if a rabbit is dying in the hand of a predator, the rabbit’s death would be almost instantly, this is because he will die of cardiac arrest induced by fear. 

Mostly, wild rabbits die this way, especially when they are about to be eaten by a predator.

However, if your rabbit is terrified by just loud sounds e.g fireworks or gunshot sounds it will take about 12 hours for the rabbit to die.


In summary, the rabbit will die of fear or fright. This fear is mostly caused by loud unfamiliar sounds, predators, and even unfamiliar people.

When your rabbit is extremely frightened, it will lead to cardiac arrest.

However, the rabbit won’t die immediately as it will take hours for them to die.

We hope this article helped you know if rabbits can die from fear and how to prevent them.


  • Breed D, Meyer LCR, Steyl JCA, Goddard A, Burroughs R, Kohn TA. Conserving wildlife in a changing world: Understanding capture myopathy-a malignant outcome of stress during capture and translocation. Conserv Physiol. 2019 Jul 5;7(1):coz027. doi: 10.1093/conphys/coz027. PMID: 31304016; PMCID: PMC6612673.

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