The rabbit whisperer
Cliff Penrose, 60, uses a special technique to put rabbits into a trance – leaving them flat on their backs with their legs in the air. He is able to hypnotise then animals by applying pressure and massaging certain parts of the body, including the belly which relaxes them.
Mr Penrose then ”bows” to the rabbit by lowering his head so it does not feel threatened before shutting its eyelids leaving it in a trance.
He regularly hypnotises rabbits before they go to the vet so they can be treated and examined more easily.
But he also treats “problem” rabbits with behavioural issues and can make them less aggressive after putting them in a trance.
The grandfather-of-two from St Austell, Cornwall, said the hypnotised rabbits often live longer as a result of being de-stressed.
He said: ”You can tell when a rabbit is under because his back legs completely relax. The creature is unable to move, in a trance like state, sometimes for up to ten minutes.
”You have to be confident when holding the animals, if you are scared or nervous or stressed then the rabbit will sense that – they are extremely intelligent animals.
”Once I’m holding the animal, it is only a matter of seconds before they are totally relaxed and sparked out.”
Mr Penrose has been breeding rabbits for 30 years but began developing his hypnotising skills when he retired from a China clay firm.
He has hypnotised hundreds of stressed-out bunnies at his home and now has a special hot line for people who have a problem or an unruly rabbit.
Cliff said: ”One of the major problems people have is a rabbit which is biting the owner. Usually the person is just handling the rabbit wrong.
”People often get these pets without a really understanding what they are. They emerge from a trance a happier, more relaxed pet.”
Cliff began developing his technique after a heart attack forced him to quit work.
He said: ”I began breeding and showing rabbits 30 years ago and started learning more about them from the judges at country shows I competed in.
”I picked up bits and pieces of knowledge over the years, but while recovering from three heart attacks and a triple heart bypass, I spent a lot more time with them.
”I discovered that if I was in a bad mood the rabbits would react to that and become fidgety and unruly, but if I was having a good day they would be calm and no trouble.”