Interpreting Body Language and Behavior

Jul 10, 2011 by

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Rabbits have a language all their own. Here are some tips on interpreting your bunnies’ hops, kicks and grunts.

  • Chinning — Their chin contains scent glands, so they rub their chin on items to indicate that they belong to them. Same as a cat rubbing its forehead on people and objects.
  • Binky — (Dancing and hopping madly): A sign of pure joy & happiness!
  • Standing on hind legs — May be checking something out. Also used for begging. Rabbits are worse than dogs about begging, especially for sweets. Beware of giving the rabbit treats as overweight rabbits are not as healthy as trim rabbits.
  • Flat on the ground, legs spread out to the side or behind — Relaxation, bliss
  • Upside down, legs in the air — Your rabbit will only do this when in total bliss, and often after a big bout of binkying.
  • Territorial droppings — Droppings that are not in a pile, but are scattered, are signs that this territory belongs to the rabbit. This will often occur upon entering a new environment. If another rabbit lives in the same house this may always be a nuisance.
  • Playing — Rabbits like to push or toss objects around. They may also race madly around the house, jump on and off of the couch and act like a kid that’s had too much sugar.
  • Thumping — Rabbits often are displeased when you rearrange their stuff. They are creatures of habit and when they get things just right, they like them to remain that way, and may thump in anger.
  • Thumping — He’s frightened, mad or trying to tell you that there’s danger (in his opinion).
  • Tooth grinding — Indicates contentment, like a cats purr. Loud grinding can indicate pain.
  • Tooth chattering — Loud grinding or chattering can indicate pain.
  • Sniffing — May be annoyed or just talking to you. Some unspayed females sniff loudly when being handled.
  • Grunts — Usually angry, watch out or you could get bit!
  • Honking — Sign of horniness, usually in an unneutered male.
  • Shrill scream — Extreme pain or fear.
  • Feet circling — Usually indicates sexual behavior. He/She’s in love.
  • Spraying — Males that are not neutered will mark female rabbits in this manner as well as their territory. Females will also spray.
  • Pulling out hair; collecting hay — This could be a pregnancy or a false pregnancy. Usually just unspayed females may build a nest & pull hair from their chest & stomach to line the nest. They may even stop eating as rabbits do the day before they give birth.

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