Understanding your pet rabbit behavior helps to fulfill its emotional and physical needs. Rabbits are intelligent creatures that can express their desires through different gestures. These adorable pets have unique behaviors, wherein some of them are comical. If you want to have a deeper bond with your bunny, If you want to establish a stronger connection with your bunny, delving into rabbit behavior meanings and rabbit body language is the first crucial step!


Ear Positions


Bunny curious about its surroundings

Bunny curious about its surroundings


One of the ways to know your bunny’s mood is by looking at the position of its ears. However, the position of the ears may depend on the breed of the rabbit. By observing their ears, you may find it hard to understand the behaviors of lop-eared bunnies. Illnesses may also affect the rabbit’s ear position.

It can be a good sign if your bunny’s ears point upward. It indicates that your pet is happy, pleased, and safe. You can also tell through its relaxed body. A rabbit with upright, twitching ears means your bunny is curious due to loud noise or sound. If its ears stay in this position, your rabbit is trying to figure out where the noise is coming from. But if it rests, your pet decides that the noise is unimportant.

Your rabbit may have half of its attention if its ears are upward while the other is downward. Although your bunny listens to the noise, it decides it does not deserve its full attention. A bunny’s ears that are wide apart and flat back is a sign that your pet is scared. Your pet’s body can also be tensed and crouching. 

Ears held against its back mean your bunny wants to be left alone because it is displeased and angry. It is a reaction that you may get from your pet if you try to pet or pick it up. Take its warning seriously to prevent yourself from getting bitten or scratched. 




Under your pet’s chin is a scent gland it uses for marking its territory. You may see your rabbit wiping its chin on items or other parts of the house. It is its way of saying that your pet owns the area or the object. Another purpose of chinning is to leave to a track, preventing your rabbit from getting lost. It helps your rabbit, especially if it is new in an environment.





Nipping you lightly may not be a negative sign from your rabbit. Your bunny may only be asking for your attention. Or it wants to return a favor after you have groomed, brushed, and petted it. However, it can also be a sign that your pet is agitated. Once the rabbit licks you, it tells you it loves and trusts you.

On the other hand, biting may assert dominance over other bunnies. It may also be telling you that you are crossing its territory. A bunny may bite you if you pet or pick it up, even though it is unwilling. Another reason is that your pet is defending its food or is frightened. It may show that your rabbit still needs to trust you fully.

It is terrible pet rabbit behavior that you must correct. Some things you can do are spaying or neutering your pet or dispersing its food in the cage. You can also approach it above eye level to prevent intimidating it. Mother rabbits are defensive of their babies, so you must limit physical interaction. 





Thumping is an action wherein the rabbit stomps its hind feet quickly. It results in a thumping sound. A rabbit that thumps and then immediately hides may warn you that it senses danger.

Other times, your bunny may also thump his foot to express its annoyance toward you. The best way to help your bunny stop thumping is by providing a safe environment. Giving it all its needs is also advisable.





A pet rabbit relaxing inside its litter box

A pet rabbit relaxing inside its litter box


Owners are worried when their rabbits fall over their sides, exposing their bellies. Sometimes it is a gesture that your bunny is tired yet satisfied. Your bunny is also expressing its satisfaction with the way you are taking care of it. It also feels comfortable, happy, and relaxed.





Grunting is one of the ways a bunny expresses its displeasure. It is a pet rabbit behavior that may also accompany biting or boxing. Rabbits that grunt may be unneutered or unspayed. It may also happen if you move the items in its cage. Bunnies are very particular, wanting the objects in the position where it desires them to be. 

Besides displeasure, your rabbit may also feel angry, warning you to back off. You must not mess up with a grunting rabbit since it may bite or scratch you if you don’t leave it alone. Giving treats to your pet can also help you to win its trust. A threatened and territorial rabbit grunts more often.





Another pet rabbit behavior that indicates an angry or territorial bunny is lunging. It happens when your pet’s body becomes tense, and its ears go laidback. You may also notice its upright tails. Most owners observe this behavior when cleaning their pets’ hutch. Bunnies also get angry when their owners put them on the other side of the cage. 

The bunny is saying to you that you should not touch its stuff, and it doesn’t like what you are doing in its habitat. Your pet may growl at you after it lunges when your presence threatens it. You may also have mishandled it, hurting your bunny unintentionally. Thus, it deems you a dangerous and unfriendly owner. 





Screaming is an unusual behavior that you must watch for. Your bunny may have experienced excruciating pain, a seizure, or extreme terror. Dying bunnies also scream before their last breath. If the screaming is caused by injury, your bunny may also experience trembling. You may also notice its teeth grinding it is in a hunched posture. 

Extreme fear may also cause your pet to scream. It may sense a predator by smelling, seeing, or hearing it. As preys, it is normal for bunnies to experience fear. However, extreme fear may lead them to severe stress and death. If your rabbit is experiencing intense fear, keep it away from predators. Also, ensure to make its environment is safer.

Although it is rare, you may hear an outraged bunny scream. Obviously, it is not having a good time with you. You can win your bunny’s trust by giving it a treat and spending most of your time with it. Aside from that, you must learn how to handle it properly. Mishandled rabbits tend to get more frightened and aggressive.



Nose Nudging


Nose nudging is a pet rabbit behavior that you may observe sometimes. If your pet nudges or tosses things at you, it is trying to get your attention to play. Your bunny shows playfulness if its nose is pressing softly and its body is relaxed. It may also be asking you for some petting or grooming.

Your bunny may also show its objection through nose nudging. While cleaning its hutch, you may see your bunny nose forcefully nudging the items. It is upset that you are moving its things. Also, nose nudging can signify that your pet is getting territorial. Your pet is also warning you not to touch its possessions.



Wagging Tail


Rabbits are wagging their tails to show defiance to their owner. Your pet may show disapproval after you have done something it hates. Another reason is that it may feel unhappy. Some causes of their unhappiness are sickness and isolation. Insufficient attention and separation from their partners may also result in the behavior.

Mischievous bunnies may mock other rabbit companions by wagging their tails. Another possible reason is contempt toward their owners. It can also be a form of excitement, overflowing energy, or to tell you to back off. If your bunny doesn’t want to be petted by you, don’t force them to show affection. Wait until it gets over its emotion and goes near you willfully.



Tooth Grinding


There are two reasons why your bunny is grinding its tooth. The first one is that it is contented and enjoys your attention. The tooth-grinding is almost like a soft purring sound. Another reason is because of health issues. Clicking or snapping of teeth can be a symptom of diseases. You must bring your bunny to the vet for diagnosis.



Frequently Asked Questions



What pet rabbit behavior indicates that my bunny wants to mate?


Your bunny may want to mate if it is honking, a sign that it is courting. You may also notice it circling, spraying, and mounting. But as a reminder, not all mounting bunnies want to mate.



Why is my rabbit hopping?


A hopping rabbit shows pure joy and happiness. It may also include leaping and racing around. Your pet may also perform a binky by jumping in the air while twisting its body. It is a sign that your pet is being playful. 



What pet rabbit behavior indicates that my rabbit is unhappy?


Some of the indicators that your bunny is unhappy are growling and squealing. Your pet may also hiss or show its third inner eyelid


Why is it important to understand your pet rabbit behavior?

Knowing your pet rabbit behavior is vital to provide your bunny’s desires and needs. The more you understand it, the easier for you to win its trust. You must also be patient with your pet’s behavior, even bad ones. Instead of hurting it, you can win its trust by spending more time with it. Properly handling it and giving some treats also help.


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