has been some controversy over “trancing” or “hypnotizing” rabbits.
Hopperhome no longer practices nor supports the use of this technique. I
trust the science and the scientists who have studied Tonic Immobility
(TI) in animals and particularly rabbits. The studies show this
phenomenon is “a short-term reversible paralysis which can be readily
induced in susceptible ‘prey species’ such as rabbits.”
about inducing the "trance" in my own
rabbits from the beginning many years ago, I recommended it, but only to
be used for very short periods of time. I have never considered a
rabbit relaxed in this state. My first clue was how they can
immediately come out of the so-called “trance” in an instant. Also, my
rabbits would thump loudly at me when I put them back down on the floor
after they were "hypnotized" and those loud thumps meant only one thing –
danger. As far as I am concerned (and the science backs me up), the
"hypnotic state" (Tonic Immobility) is fear driven and is an instinctual
response to an extremely high stress situation. After all, rabbits
perform this “trance” on their own as a survival strategy under intense
fear when all else fails and they are cornered by a predator. The bunny
“dead” in hopes the predator will loosen its grip and escape is
possible. It is a last ditch response to terror. When I first saw it
demonstrated it was described to me as “bunny bliss."
have listed a link to an article about a "rabbit whisper." However, the
science does not support any suggestion a rabbit is lulled into a state of
calm by turning them on their backs and then speaking softly to them.
Considering the information now available on Tonic Immobility in
rabbits, whispering to a rabbit in this state would hardly relieve their
fright. Certainly, I am guilty of my own ignorance using this technique
on many occasions. Not any longer. It now takes a bit longer to
trim my rabbits’ nails since "trancing" is no longer an option.
Read the articles here:
Article April 15, 2010 Rabbit Whisperer
Pogo bunny may look
relaxed above, but he is in a state known as "Tonic Immobility" using
his survival instinct just so I can easily trim his nails. I don't use
this method anymore unless absolutely necessary.