Snapping or Bitting as a sign of pain
Snapping or biting on its own may not be a definitive sign of pain but may be used as a good indication that something is wrong with your bunny. As a whole, rabbits are generally a quiet and loving animal. A bunny that snaps or bites when touched or picked up can be a very good warning of pain if preceded by other unusual behavior. The unusual behavior can be as covert at a sudden mood change or as obvious as limp.
Though some rabbits develop a habit of biting if mishandled or abused, the biting and snapping usually starts as a response to pain and can later develop into a defense against the pain by attempting to avoid being touched or approached. The difference between an aggressive rabbit’s snapping and biting and snapping or biting of a rabbit in pain is that in the aggressive rabbit, the snapping and biting is routine and happens regularly. The bunny that snaps or bites in pain, is one where snapping and biting vary rarely is a behavior previously exhibited by the rabbit.
Big Foot was the most gentle Flemish Giant I've ever encountered. Sweet nature and loving. One day, in addition to not eating his normal amount of food, he bit me when I tried to pet his back. If your bunny suddenly snaps or bites you, review its behavior over the past few hours or days and note any actions that are not normal for your bunny.
The pain usually has to be quite severe before the rabbit starts biting. Other signs that may indicate your rabbit was in pain before the biting incident might be a sudden change from a bouncy happy rabbit to a quiet brooding rabbit. Has your bunny been spending a lot of time staring at the back corner of its hutch? Has your bunny not been eating as usual? Has your bunny started avoiding you when you try to take it out of the hutch? Has your bunny started grunting at you when you put your hands in its hutch? Have there been changes in the way your bunny hops?
Rabbits do not whimper or whine when in pain like cats or dogs, so it is important for you as its owner to be constantly vigilant of any unusually behavior and talk to a rabbit trained veterinarian right away when your bunny is not “its normal self.” Never try to diagnose your bunny’s health problems alone.