Trancing, also known as Tonic Immobility, is a handling technique to keep a rabbit still by placing it on its back. While the rabbit may look unconscious and immobile, studies have shown that it actually increases heart rate and blood pressure. In short, the rabbit is in fear and in a state of extreme stress!
The ability to go into a trance stems from their natural root as prey animals. When a rabbit is attacked by a predator, it can go into shock which triggers them to go limb by lying on its back. It’s not a defense mechanism but a behavior driven out of fear. In fact, the rabbit continues to be very aware of its surrounding and fully capable of feeling pain.
We have seen people taking advantage of trancing to perform tasks on rabbits such as cuddling and grooming. However, it is NOT an ethical practice and should NEVER be conducted. While it looks harmless, it can result in stress-induced conditions such as loss of appetite leading to GI stasis. In extreme cases, rabbits can develop acute heart failure and die.
There are some exceptions where trancing is inevitable. For example, veterinarians may choose to place the rabbits in a trance to facilitate a treatment or a diagnostic test. However, this should be a last resort and not to be used for just routine checks. In short, trancing is dangerous and should only be done when absolutely necessary.
We will like to thank Bunnify Boarding Place for sharing with us photos of their ‘untranced’ rabbits during grooming sessions. If you are interested to learn more about proper handling and grooming of your rabbits, please contact them at their Facebook or call/WhatsApp to +65-87741766. let’s do the right things for our rabbits!