Rabbits are beautiful animals and a popular pet to many. They are fluffy, cute, and they don’t take a lot of looking after. Amazingly, they are also pretty good at understanding us and communicating to us if you know what you are looking for.
The happy rabbit
The ‘binky’ is when a rabbit jumps in the air with pure excitement and twists its body, this is a show of pure joy. A calmer, more reserved rabbit may softly grind its teeth or give a small cluck like a chicken, these too are signs that you have a happy rabbit.
Potential poor health
As with knowing when a rabbit is happy/scared/curious, the body language could also let you know when there is a problem. Although ear shaking can be normal, frequent ear shaking can be a sign something is wrong. Loud tooth grinding should also be checked by a vet.
If your rabbit has ever licked your hand or face, you will be pleased to know that this is a very rare sign of affection. If your rabbit slowly circles your feet it could indicate courting behavior, but it could also indicate that they are wanting a pet or a snack.
A rabbit thumping its hind legs is a big sign that they aren’t happy about something, and it could lead to a bite if ignored. Hissing, growling, and snorting are other signs of anger and annoyance, so it is wise to leave them be if they are communicating this. If these are directed at another rabbit, be sure to step in and defuse the situation as rabbits do tend to fight quite badly.
If you notice that your rabbit is lying completely flat to the ground, ears flat, and lying still, this could indicate that they are scared about something. This could be a predator, or perhaps an item that they are frightened of. A really scared rabbit can even scream, almost sounding like a human scream.
If your rabbit is purring, this is a sure sign of contentedness. Another sign could be the rabbit grooming itself. If you see a rabbit laying with its tummy on the floor and its legs stretched out, this is another sign that they are feeling content. An extremely content rabbit might sprawl out on its back.
Rabbits have glands underneath their heads to mark their territory. If they are chin rubbing or ‘chinning’ this would indicate that it is marking its territory. The scent can be smelt by other animals, but it cannot be smelt by a human so it isn’t something that you should discourage.
A curious rabbit will sit upright, with its front paws dangling, and will be completely focused on something it has seen.
Being able to communicate with your rabbit will always be a positive, but it is important to remember that all rabbits are different. It is good to get to know your own rabbit’s personality so that you are reading the correct queues in their body language.