How to Read Your Rabbit's Body Language

Rabbits are incredibly expressive, displaying their emotions in pronounced ways that allow their owners to better comprehend their behavior. Here are some techniques for deciphering body language so you can understand what your rabbit is saying.

Rabbits may appear quiet and meek, but they are full of personality - and they aren't afraid to let you know precisely what they think.

However, because they do not bark, meow, yelp, or make other spoken noises, it can be difficult to grasp what your bunny is expressing through their dramatic motions. They have their own unique vocabulary, and studying their behavior - or reading your bunnies' body language - is one of the pleasures of sharing your home with them.

Body language of your rabbits

The utter delight of a binky

It can be startling the first time you see your rabbit binky, but this is the ultimate sign of contentment given by rabbits when they exercise. Binkying is distinct from hopping, which is the most common way of rabbit mobility. Binky jumps are frequently higher in height and can include twisting in the air, ear flicking, and head flipping. It's a rabbit's way of saying they're content with their life. But don't be concerned if your rabbit doesn't binky much; some rabbits, like humans, simply have more expressive personalities.

Thumping and kicking

Consider rabbits in the wild: they are prey animals who are continually on the lookout for danger but are unable to communicate vocally. This is where stamping or pounding comes into play: they employ this body language to communicate to others that they are feeling threatened. If your bunny thumps their back legs, it usually signifies they have heard or seen something potentially dangerous. They could even thump you in the chest to express their displeasure: "Not like that, Two-Feet!"

Unlike beating, which serves as a warning, kicking and scratching indicate anxiety or dissatisfaction. It's their survival instinct taking over, and those long claws and powerful back legs are a rabbit's best chance. Kicking can sometimes be an indication of pain. Check up with your veterinarian on a frequent basis to verify your rabbit is not ill or suffering from any ailment that would make handling difficult.

upward and downward

When your rabbit is stressed, it will squat down with taut muscles, almost as if they are attempting to curl into a ball and become invisible. Boxer behavior is demonstrated when they sit straight on their back legs with their paws up and facing you. It's safe to assume this signifies they're upset, and you should back off.

The rabbit flop

The bunny flop is a good example of rabbit body language: they are erect one minute and then flat on their side the next. This can be really amusing and shows a happy bunny.

Keep an eye out for the ears

Many rabbit body language cues, whether lop or not, are encoded in the ears:

  • Your rabbit is cheerful and social if it has both ears up and an inside-looking front.
  • They are worried about something if they have both ears back and a tense body attitude.
  • Both ears up with the inside turned back signals 'Stay away, please' - your rabbit is not in the best of spirits.


Have you discovered the rabbit's penchant for chewing on furniture, wood, cardboard, skirting boards, and so on? It is not always an indication that they are in a destructive mood. Rabbit teeth are constantly growing, and chewing keeps them from overgrowing. Chewing is a natural pastime for rabbits, which is why veterinarians recommend giving your bunny something to chew on. Simply keep them away from the wires!

What's that noise?

While rabbits do not speak, the sounds they do produce can indicate that something is wrong with them.

When your rabbit is furious, feels threatened, or wants to express displeasure, it will grunt. If they are in agony or discomfort, they will grind their teeth; nevertheless, teeth grinding, like a cat purring, can also be a sign of contentment.

Worst of all is the rabbit scream, which indicates intense pain and/or panic and requires rapid attention.

...And what about that odor?

Rabbit urine has a unique odor, and rabbits enjoy spraying it around to indicate their territory. It is critical to determine whether your rabbit is spraying or urinating in an incorrect manner. The latter may be caused by something more serious and will necessitate veterinarian care. Rabbits will frequently spray with a greater odor on vertical surfaces but will urinate inappropriately on horizontal surfaces. 

Reduce the likelihood of territory marking by having your rabbit neutered.

The Influence of Fertility and Hormones on rabbit behavior

Hormones have the same effect on rabbit behavior as they have on humans. If your female rabbit is cranky, gaining weight, or eating more than usual, she could be pregnant. A pregnant rabbit can be hostile and resistant to handling. As she approaches her due date, you may notice her building a nest in her enclosure and removing her fur to line it.

The best method to avoid surprise additional arrivals is to spay or castrate your rabbits. Aggressive behavior is frequent in unneutered rabbits, and 80% of unneutered female rabbits experience reproductive difficulties at some point. Neutering your rabbits is always recommended so that two or more can live happily together. It is critical for rabbits' well-being that they do not live alone.

What does abnormal rabbit behavior look like?

The short explanation is that abnormal behavior is something your rabbit does not normally exhibit. Every rabbit has its own personality, and what one person considers normal may be considered abnormal by another. Each rabbit reacts differently to stress and hazards.

'It's crucial to learn what's typical for your rabbit, and if that changes in any way, consult your vet,' says Rosie Bescoby, a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist at Pet Sense. 'Because rabbits are prey animals, they will try to hide any problems at first. Get to know them well, and learn how your rabbit's body language can indicate both positive and harmful behavior.'

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