What Is Your Rabbit Saying?

Grinding Teeth: A rabbit that is gently grinding its teeth is telling you it is happy. They generally grind when you are doing something they like, such as petting them. Grinding of the teeth and a hunched over posture generally mean the rabbit is in pain, though.

Laying Down: A rabbit that is sitting with all four feet still on the ground and ears up and facing toward the front is content. The more relaxed it gets, the more stretched out it will get. A really relaxed rabbit will stretch its hind feet all the way behind it or else out to one side. Sometimes they will even roll all the way onto their side or even slightly onto their back. That is an extremelly relaxed bunny that feels completely safe!

Wiggling The Nose: Rabbits do not wiggle their nose to breath, and they can smell things just fine without moving their nose. A scared rabbit will not wiggle its nose at all. This is a sign that the rabbit is ready to run away, if the rabbit is showing other signs of being scared. A very relaxed rabbit will often not wiggle its nose either, because it is just too relaxed to move at all! 🙂 If the rabbit is not ready to flee, the nose will wiggle according to how interested it is in something. The more excited a rabbit gets or a rabbit that is upset will wiggle its nose quickly. A slower nose wiggle is a sign that the rabbit is calm and fairly relaxed.

The Happy Jump (Binky): A rabbit that is happy will often jump into the air and twist its head and body in opposite directions. This is called a Binky. Different versions of the Binky include doing it while on the ground, doing it while running, or doing a sort of half-Binky where just the head or the ears will be flicked.

Shudder: Similar to the Binky is a shudder of happiness. The rabbit will sit up on its front legs a little then twist its chest and back making it looks as though it is shuddering.

Territory Marking: A rabbit will mark its territory in one of three ways; spraying, chin rubbing, and leaving pellets. Spraying is done by both bucks and does, though bucks tend more toward spraying. This behavior can sometimes be prevented by spaying or neutering before the rabbit reaches sexual maturity. Chin rubbing is when a rabbit rubs its chin on an object. Rabbits have a scent gland on their chin, and leaving the scent tells other rabbits that this areas or object is theirs. Leaving large droppings on the floor is another way to say that an area belongs to them. Of course, a rabbit that is not litterbox trained will leave droppings all over anyway.

Ears Forward: Ears foward, often with the neck stretched out a bit, indicates curiosity.

Aggressiveness: Rabbits show anger by being aggressive. They will turn their ears to the side then back, and the tail will lift away from the body. If the rabbit raises onto its front legs, with the legs spread well apart, the rabbit is thinking about charging. They may bite. If the ears are flattened against the back, the rabbit is especially upset.

Running Circles: If a rabbit is running circles around your legs, that is usually as sign that it wants to play and/or is happy to see you. Know that you are well-loved by your bunny if you are circled like this! 🙂

Playing Tag: Rabbits like to run, plain and simple. They are designed for speed and agility, and they love to prove this. Some rabbits will invite you to play a game of tag by facing sideways a bit of a ways off. They will get you to chase them, then if you give up interest, they will stop running and chase after you to get you to continue playing tag.

Begging: Rabbits will ask you pretty plainly when they want something. They usually nudge you with their nose, place their front paws on you and stare at you, or dance around in their cage to get your attention.

Thumping: A rabbit that is nervous will sometimes hit its hind feet hard against the ground to produce a thumping noise. Some will thump to get attention, too.

Grunting/Whining: An irritated rabbit will often make a sort of grunting and/or whining noise. Pregnant does are very prone to doing this. Also, does that are ready to breed will often whine until they feel they are pregnant or they are no longer ready to breed.

Screaming: If a rabbit screams or squeels it means it is in pain or extremelly scared. Such a scream is often let out when a fatal wound is inflicted on a wild rabbit by a predator.

Tossing Objects Around: Rabbits toss objects around to play with them. They will also do it to get attention, especially when they are in their cage and want out.

Ears To The Side: A nervous rabbit will turn its ears to the side.

Flattening Its Body: If a rabbit suddenly flattens its body and puts its ears down it means it is scared and is trying to hide. Wild rabbits flatten themselves into the grass in order to help protect from being detected by a predator. Loud or unusual noises or shadows overhead will often cause a rabbit to flatten.

Social Grooming: A rabbit that licks you is grooming you. Either that or there is something tasty on your hand, but that usually leads to nipping, too. Grooming you means the rabbit is comfortable with you and considers you to be a big rabbit rather than a possible predator.

© Usagi no Tsukiyo Rabbitry