Putting rabbits into a hypnotic-like trance is known in some circles as “bunny bliss” but in fact the opposite is true. Trancing a rabbit is now believed to be putting the bunny into such a profound state of fear that is becomes paralyzed. We recently came across a very well written information piece on the Hopper Home website of Connie Andrews. Here is a bit of what she had to say:
I was uneasy 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.
You can read her entire article online at http://hopperhome.com/trancing_rabbits.htm
Her opinions are supported by two more articles about Tonic Immobility, and she provides links to them on her page.
Hoppington Post is grateful to Connie and Hopper Home for bringing out this information about rabbit trancing, as we believe that large numbers of people within the rabbit community may be doing this, particularly as it assists in nail trimming, scent gland cleaning and general grooming.
And while you are on the Hopper Home website, you may also wish to check out some of the other resources she makes available at no charge for rabbit rescues, shelters, veterinarians and other bunny people.
Photo courtesy of David O.