Have you ever had that dream wherein you wish you could understand what your pet is telling you? If you have then we’re probably the same. I wish my rabbit could talk to me the way I talk to them.
It would make rabbit ownership easier, knowing exactly what your rabbit is thinking and if you’re doing anything wrong!
But unfortunately, we have yet to understand exactly what our pets are thinking. We can come to an approximate. In this article, I will be discussing 10 of the most common body language that domestic rabbits exhibit.
Learning what your rabbits are telling you based on their body language goes a long way when it comes to pet ownership. Knowing how they feel especially if they feel ill or in pain might even save their life.
- 1 The Top 10 Bunny Body Language That You Must Know
- 2 Conclusion
The Top 10 Bunny Body Language That You Must Know
There are many ways in which rabbits can show what they feel. As prey animals, they don’t often show that they’re in pain so you have to know the subtleties of their changes in behavior.
I hope that by giving you the top 10 most common body languages that your rabbits exhibit you will be more attuned to what your pets are feeling.
1. Full Binky and Half Binky
I think that the days that my rabbit binky, when they see me, is surely one of the happiest days. Why? Because rabbits only binky when they’re happy and every time that they binky when they see me means that they’re as happy to see me as I am happy to see them.
If you’re not familiar with what a rabbit binky means then let me break it down for you. There are two types of rabbit binky:
- Fully Binky is the binky wherein rabbits jump in the air while twisting their bodies
- Half binky is a fast flick of the ears or a twist of the neck
Only rabbits who are contented and comfortable in their environments will binky. Look closely when your rabbit is playing, does he hop and twist in the air? Try shaking his jar of treats. Do you notice him flicking his ears? If yes, then your rabbit is binkying.
Some rabbit owners who are not aware of this behavior tend to panic when they see their rabbits binky for the first time. But this is harmless behavior. Also if your rabbit is one of those rabbits that are laid-back and never binky, then that’s great too.
Binkys are exhibited by happy bunnies but it doesn’t mean that your bunny is miserable when they don’t exhibit this behavior. Rabbits are individuals with their idiosyncrasies. Besides, there are other ways for bunnies to show that they are happy.
2. Rabbit Circling Your Feet
Even notice how your rabbits seem to run around in circles? Running around in circles is a symptom of rabbits that are ready to mate. However, if your rabbit has already been neutered/spayed then this means that your rabbit is excited.
Maybe you’re standing next to their favorite pack of treats? Or maybe you’re holding their favorite chew toys. Rabbit circling means that they are trying to get your attention. It could be that they’re telling you to feed them their favorite snacks or give them their favorite chew toy.
Also, since rabbits usually circle for amorous reasons, when they circle your feet, this is a sign that they love you. Circling your feet is a sign of affection for rabbits.
3. Rabbit Purrs
Yes, rabbits do purr. Not as loudly as cats though, but they do. Rabbits are the silent type of animals. This can be chalked down mainly to the fact that they’re prey animals.
They need to be silent otherwise they would attract the attention of predators. However, they do use certain vocal cues to show how they feel.
Observe your rabbits when they’re just chilling, they probably have their ears held back and their eyes closed – sometimes half- closed. Usually, you can gently pet your rabbit’s head during this time.
This is the bunnies resting and just vibing with their surroundings. Go down to their level and listen closely. You might hear them softly purring.
I assure you, this is one of the cutest and most heartwarming sounds your rabbits can make. It’s always great to know that you as an owner are doing the right thing and that your rabbit feels that they’re living the best life.
4. Rabbit Spraying
Spraying is when rabbits spray urine on things. This is mostly exhibited by male rabbits but female rabbits can spray urine too. The behavior is driven by territorial tendencies and thus, unfixed rabbits will spray to mark their territories.
As long as your rabbit is not neutered and spayed even if they’re litter trained they will spray urine.
This habit can easily be solved by sexually fixing your bunnies. Spaying and neutering are safe procedures and are always recommended as part of responsible pet ownership.
Know that aside from keeping your house urine-free, neutering/spaying will remove the risks of unwanted pregnancies and reproductive cancers in pets.
5. Rabbit Thumping
Rabbits thump when they stomp their hind legs on the ground. They can do this once, twice, or several times. Rabbit thumping is mainly a sign of alarm or fear in your rabbits. Some rabbits will hide after thumping. In the wild, rabbits thump to alert their colony that danger is present.
In a home set up, rabbits thump when something is out of place. Maybe the dog got a new dog that tends to bark a lot. Or maybe you got a new house plant in the living room? Loud children might be playing outside?
Rabbits are creatures of habit and any changes in their routine or surroundings can be stressful to them.
Rabbit thumping is also a sign of annoyance. It could be that your rabbit is nudging your or they’re asking for their companion rabbit for some grooming time but are ignored. They can thump to show their annoyance, think of it as a mini rabbit tantrum.
6. Rabbit Nesting
This behavior is exhibited by female rabbits. As the term suggests, nesting is a behavior done when rabbits are preparing for the delivery of their babies.
In the wild, females are the ones who create burrows and nests for the young bunnies. Thus nesting can include some destructive rabbit behaviors such as digging (sometimes rabbits dig on your carpets) and they can also pluck some of their furs to line their nest.
Spaying can reduce this behavior but it seems that spaying can’t totally eradicate a bunny’s maternal instinct. Even if a rabbit is not pregnant, false pregnancies, rabbits can still dog to burrow and build their nests.
In cases like these, it is then better to redirect their behaviors to more acceptable things that they can dig (e.g. scratch pads, digging boxes, etc.)
7. Rabbit Grunting
This is another vocal cue that rabbits use. Rabbit grunts as a sign of warning or a sign of aggression. Territorial rabbits may grunt when you come too close to their space.
This vocal cue can be followed by lunging, kicking, scratching, or biting. While lunging or kicking might not hurt a full adult, biting/scratching can cause injury to little children, rabbits, or other pets.
You can reduce aggressiveness by having your rabbits sexually fixed. Also, bonding with your rabbits will make them less likely to be aggressive to you. Building trust is always a great way to keep aggressiveness at bay.
8. Rabbit Screaming
Yes, rabbits scream. I know this might be a surprise but to be fair, rabbits rarely scream and, they don’t scream for no reason at all. A bunny screaming is exactly what you think it is – it sounds like a loud shrill sound that your rabbit produces.
Only rabbits who are in extreme pain will scream. It is probably because you’ve touched a part of their body that is extremely painful.
Screaming is a vocal cue that your rabbit is in pain, but extreme pain is always accompanied by physical cues.
Your rabbit should show changes in behavior when they’re in so much pain. Pain and illness in rabbits are usually accompanied by the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Bloody stools
- Sore body parts
- Extremely hot/cold ears
9. Teeth Grinding
There are two types of teeth grinding. It could be barely audible such as soft teeth grinding or it can be loud and grating, aptly named as loud teeth grinding.
Rabbits tend to grind their teeth to trim them. Rabbit’s teeth grow continuously, so they should also be trimmed down continuously. Also. soft teeth grinding is a sign of happy and contented rabbits.
If however, you can audibly hear your rabbit grinding their teeth then this means that your rabbit is in pain. As mentioned, rabbits are masters in hiding if they’re ill because acting vulnerable in the wild will mean certain death.
Loud teeth grinding means that your rabbit is self-soothing and would thus need to see a vet.
10. Rabbit Tail Wag
All rabbits have tails, and yes they do wag! Do you think they wag their tails out of happiness? Absolutely not. Another interesting rabbit behavior is their tail wags.
Unlike dogs who wag their tails more often to show excitement and happiness, rabbits wag their tails as a sign of annoyance.
Did you know that in rabbit language, wagging a tail is rude? Next time you introduce yourself to a new bunny notice how their tails behave.
They could thump and wag their tails and this is a definite example of how they don’t like this rabbit. Don’t worry though, although rabbit tail wagging is rude, it rarely results in a fight.
And there you go, the top 10 most common rabbit behaviors. I hope I have enlightened you on the mysteries of your rabbit’s body language.
It is important that you are aware of how your rabbit acts because it is only the way available for them to communicate how they’re feeling. Does your rabbit have unique behaviors they exhibit? Let me know in the comments below.