Rabbit owners tend to lay rabbits on their backs believing they’re relaxed, this position is called the rabbit trance. Sadly, putting your rabbit in this position causes temporary paralysis. Some rabbits do roll over and lay freely on their backs. But the truth about a rabbit trance is that you are causing tonic immobility.
Tonic immobility occurs when a rabbit is laid on its back, causing heart and respiratory rates to increase, and the stress of this can be fatal. If a rabbit suffers from respiratory and cardiovascular disease, this position can be extremely dangerous. Studies show that rabbits induce voluntarily, short- term reversible paralysis, as a prey species. This voluntary movement is driven by fear and is an instinctive response to a situation of extreme stress. Common in different prey species playing dead in hopes that the predator will loosen their grip and can escape.
The Dodo created a video called “Not so cute” teaching people about how placing your rabbit into a trance is not a good idea.