Bunny behavior and body language
Understanding rabbits and their behaviors is important when wanting to add them to your family. Rabbits do make great pets but they are not the same as your dog or cat. Read through this list of behaviors to educate yourself on bunny behaviors!
Binkying (Twisty jumps)- When rabbits are excited they will run, jump, and twist in mid-air. This is called a binky. Your bunny is happy and getting their exercise in!
Biting- Biting usually means they are angry or scared. If you are handling them and they really don’t want to be messed with, they could potentially bite you. If they feel threatened by anything such as an aggressive dog while you are handling them, they may bite out of fear. Give them space if you’ve been bitten and regroup later with a treat and head rubs. Never hit your rabbit. That will only make the bonding process worse for you and the bun! Abuse does not correct rabbits.
Buzzing sound- If your rabbit is making a buzzing sound, it usually indicates they are happy or ready to mate. Even if your rabbit is fixed, they can still make this buzzing sound.
Chinning- Rabbits have a scent gland under their chin. If you see them chinning things, they are essentially marking their territory. It does give off a smell but not strong enough for us humans to smell. So next time your rabbit starts chinning you, they’re saying “you’re mine!”.
Circling- Rabbits do this when they are looking to mate. It could be displayed as a courting behavior, or they just want your attention. A good head rub, quality time, and a treat will get them to stop. Until the next time that is.
Grunting- Grunts usually indicate that they are unhappy or angry about something going on around them. If they feel threatened they may grunt, scratch, or even bite. They are territorial of their things such as food, food dish, bed, ect. So if you are cleaning out their area while they are inside of it and they begin grunting, just relocate them to a different area while you clean. If your rabbit is grunting, it’s best to give them some space.
Honking- If your bunny is honking, then he/she most likely wants to be more then just friends. This is an act of courting. They also could just be happy.
Flopping- This is usually a very dramatic and entertaining action your rabbit will do when they are extremely comfortable and feel no threats at all. Not to mention it is adorable to watch! It usually starts out with a long stretch and then a dramatic flop to one side or even a full roll.
Frog legs- Your rabbits hind legs will be stretched out behind him/her into a frog shape. They are content, relaxed, and feel safe.
Leaving random poos in the house- Sometimes you will see random scattered poos here and there. These are territorial poos to let other animals or anyone in the house know that this is their area. Especially when they enter a new environment this may increase for a period of time until they feel like it’s “their” space. Simply vacuum or sweep them up as necessary.
Licking- If your rabbit is licking you this shows signs of complete trust. They love you!
Lunging- This mostly happens when they feel you are invading their territory such as reaching your hand in to feed them. They are being territorial. Some ways to get them used to it is to have a treat noticeable in your hand. Open the cage and let them run up to you before sticking your hand in. Slowly and gently hand them the treat just outside of the cage door. When they approach you, be sure to give them head rubs so they associate cage opening with something good!
Mounting- Sometime families adopt two bunnies that are the same gender and then they catch one mounting the other one and immediately panic thinking they got one boy and one girl. Not saying that it’s not true because it does happen a lot especially when you buy from an uneducated breeder. Although even the best breeders still have room for error. If you are ever worried about their genders, take them to a vet to have a professionals opinion. Mounting is to usually show dominance or if not fixed yet, they could be trying to mate.
Nipping- This can mean multiple different things. They may just want attention from you. Rabbits sometimes groom each other by nipping softly. It doesn’t usually mean they are angry. A bite is different then nipping. Nipping is a soft bite. If you are bit by a rabbit it will usually break the skin and hurt pretty bad.
Nose-nudging- When a rabbit is nudging you with their nose they usually want to be pet or they want you to get out of their way. If you are petting your rabbit on the head and stop, they may nudge you for more pets.
Playing- Rabbits play by grabbing their toys in their mouth and throwing them around. They also like a “digging box”. If you shop at Costco or any wholesale store that gives away boxes, grab a few next time you’re out. Your bunny will thank you. Fill the box half way with newspaper, toilet paper rolls, ect.
Ripping up carpet- Every rabbit has different behaviors. When you start off with a baby bunny, they are not hormonal so they usually don’t have any extreme behaviors yet. It’s usually a few weeks after you’ve brought them home that their personality really sets in. If they are digging up carpet try to have more toys for them in their area to deter them from scratching the carpet.
Screeching- If you ever hear your rabbit scream a high pitched sound, which is horrifying to hear, they are either in excruciating pain or extremely terrified. Some rabbits that are not very socialized with people may have trust issues. Never pick up your rabbit without them being aware of what you are doing. If they are asleep, be sure they are awake and alert before picking them up. Side note: Also educate yourself how to properly handle a rabbit.
Spraying- Males that are not fixed will nine times out of ten spray urine to mark their territory. When I say nine times out of ten, what I really mean is nine point nine out of ten times. It’s very unlikely that they won’t spray urine. Some females can spray as well but it’s more common in males. Females still leave urine as territorial markings but they usually don’t spray it out like males do. Getting them fixed will reduce their hormone levels and will likely stop them from spraying. It can take anywhere from one week to 4 months or in some cases even longer for their hormone levels to drop so don’t get too impatient or give up on them! Sometimes getting a higher litter box works great for the time being so any urine that is sprayed in the box will stay inside instead of spraying outside of it.
Thumping- This is usually a way of expressing anger or that they are irritated with something going on around them. Un-neutered males will thump when with a female to show dominance as well. It also could mean that they are wanting attention.
Tooth clicking- This light sound usually means they are pleased and content. Similar to cats purring, you will mostly hear this sound while petting your rabbit while they are completely calm and comfortable.
Tooth grinding- There is a difference between tooth clicking and tooth grinding. Clicking is more of a purring sound. Tooth grinding means they are in pain. Usually this will be accompanied by them looking very sickly. Hunched over, eyes closed, and not very active. If this is happening, immediately seek a vet.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.