Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by
If there’s one thing rabbit owners dream of it’s the ability to know what our rabbits are thinking. For one, it would be a huge help in caring for them if we know exactly what they think. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have conversations with our favorite companions?
While this is still a far-off dream, you and I would have to suffice ourselves with approximating what our rabbits are feeling by the sounds that they make. In this article, I will be discussing 9 of the most common noises that your rabbit makes and what they all mean.
I hope to give you more clarity on your rabbit’s behavior so as to help you bond with them better. So if you’re as excited to dive into this topic as I am then read on further.
9 Sounds that a Rabbit Makes
Rabbits are generally considered quiet animals and sure, while it is absolutely true that they don’t make as many noises as say a labrador or a cat, rabbits do use sounds to exhibit feelings of happiness, stress, and amorousness.
Here I will be breaking down 9 of the most common noises a rabbit makes and you might be surprised to learn that you’ve probably heard your rabbit making some of them.
When rabbits stomp their hind legs, the sound that results is a loud thump. This loud thumping noise can be repeated many times.
I’ve written an entirely separate article for rabbit thumping so if you want to get into the nitty-gritty details of this behavior you can go ahead and click the article.
Generally, though, a rabbit’s thump is a sign of distress and annoyance. Rabbit’s in the wild thump when they are in fear or if danger is present. Rabbits thump to let their colonies know that there is a danger present.
Domestic rabbits also thump whenever they feel in danger or if sudden sounds or new things are suddenly found in their environment.
Thumping is also a sign of annoyance. Maybe your rabbits find something displeasing. Better to remove these strange objects from your rabbit’s immediate vicinity to lessen their stress.
Growling is a sign of aggression. Often rabbits growl before they lunge, bite or kick. This is especially common for territorial rabbits. Females are more territorial than males and this behavior should be corrected.
You might think it cute that rabbits growl cos after all, what harm can cute little rabbits do? Rabbits can kick and they can kick hard. This might not cause injury to adults but it can hurt other pets and little children.
Rabbits can also scratch or bite and while rabbit scratches and bites don’t usually get infected you would want to avoid it as much as possible.
If rabbit growling and aggression is caused by hormones then this could easily be reduced by neutering or spaying. However, if your rabbit growling is not caused by territorial tendencies – maybe grooming stresses your rabbit- then maybe try to acclimate your rabbit first to the activity.
Use treats and other positive reinforcements to let your rabbit know they’re in a safe space and that this certain activity is an avenue of positivity.
Rabbits do scream and I know it can come as a surprise to a lot of people. A scream is what you would imagine it to be, a high-pitched and shrill sound. A rabbit will only scream if they are in extreme pain.
Rabbits are experts in hiding if they’re ill or in pain. And no, it’s not because they don’t want to inconvenience you as their owner. This comes because of their nature as prey. If a rabbit is obviously sick then a predator would make them easy targets.
However, when you touch a rabbit for example on their stomachs or their hind legs and they scream then this is a definite sign that your rabbit is in great pain. This kind of behavior merits a vet visit especially when your rabbit exhibits other symptoms such as:
- Misshapen stool
- Blood in stool
4. Soft purring
So you might be thinking, rabbits purr? They sure do! This is a sign of contentment for rabbits and although they don’t purr loudly like cats you can hear it if you listen closely.
Rabbits purr when they are just chilling with their eyes half-closed or when you are petting them gently. Once your rabbit is bonded to you they will definitely enjoy getting some pets.
For rabbits petting them feels like grooming and grooming is a sign of affection for rabbits. So the next time you pet your rabbit listen closely and you might get to hear that content purring.
Rabbits grunt for various reasons. Sometimes rather than growling they grunt to show their displeasure or aggression. They may nip at you as well after grunting. This could be because of territorial behaviors.
Nipping is not a good habit that should be encouraged thus, make sure to get your rabbit sexually fixed if they exhibit any aggressive territorial behaviors.
Grunting accompanied by honking and circling (running in circles) means that your rabbit is ready to mate. So you have to be vigilant for this kind of behavior unless you want unexpected litters of rabbits.
Also, just like territorial behaviors, this can be corrected or drastically reduced by spaying and neutering.
Clucking might sound like a hiccup and can usually be heard from female rabbits. Female rabbits usually cluck when they’re feeding their babies.
If you have a female or a male rabbit clucking that isn’t feeding kits however then this means that they are extremely content.
7. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is normal behavior for rabbits. A rabbit’s teeth need to be continuously trimmed down as they also grow continuously throughout their lives.
Soft teeth grinding shouldn’t be a sign of worry but when your rabbit can be heard audibly grinding its teeth then this means that your rabbit is in pain and should be taken to the vet immediately
Yes, I know this could be surprising, but rabbits do hiss. Rabbits hiss when they want to warn you to get away from their space. Rabbits will usually give hissing rabbits a wide berth.
You should also do the same, get pets and children away from hissing rabbits. You do not want your rabbit biting or scratching anyone.
Wheezing will sound like labored breathing. This sound should not be ignored. Some rabbits can be prone to respiratory issues so if you feel like your rabbit is having a hard time breathing then I suggest you take them to the vet fast.
These are just some of the sounds our pet rabbits make. And I hope I was able to educate you on most of them. Do you have any other information you’d like to share? You can share it in the comment boxes below.