How should I understand the last sentence?

Rabbits generally eat pellets and plenty of green vegetables; they will also eat hay. They like to be held but shouldn’t be handled too much the first few days after purchasing, in order to adjust.

  • Which part/words don't you understand? – user3169 Jul 13 '18 at 3:34
  • They shouldn't be handled...in order to adjust is an odd combination. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 13 '18 at 11:12
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    Most rabbits like to be held, (although some do not). However, going to a new home can be stressful for rabbits, therefore it is best not to handle them too much during the first few days. Far from being comforting, excessive handling can add to the rabbit's stress. – James Jul 13 '18 at 13:03

Two separate thoughts are expressed:

  • "They like to be held." A generality
  • "but shouldn’t be handled too much the first few days..." Specific instance in which the general rule does not apply.

For example,

It is is dangerous to touch bare wires in an outlet, but it safe to do so if the mains circuit breaker is shut.


They like to be held but shouldn’t be handled too much.

Understandably, "held" and "handled" seem like the same thing, but there is a slight difference.

To hold something simply means to have in your hands, or cradled in your arms.

To handle something means to feel or manipulate with the hands.

I'm not a rabbit expert, but I would say that the instruction is you can certainly pick up the rabbit, perhaps cradle it. But perhaps limit the amount of stroking (or petting in American English).

Notice that the final part of the statement which you did not bold places a condition that the rule on "handling" only applies in "the first few days after purchasing". So perhaps the overall instruction is to limit (but not entirely restrict) all kinds of contact for that short period.

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