Rabbit Behavior

Rabbits are very communicative and social and you can learn a lot about your rabbit from watching his body language. Visit the fascinating site The Language of Lagomorphs to see photos and find out many interesting things about bunny body language. Below are some observations about bunny behavior that are helpful to know:

  • Both ears up with inside of ear facing forward - friendly, happy bunny
  • Inside of ears turned outward - getting annoyed
  • One ear up and one ear down - more annoyed, could go either way
  • Ears up with inside turned to back - annoyed, getting angry
  • Lays ears back from position described above, crouched body - prepare to be bitten
  • Looks at you and waggles ears - happy, wants to interact
  • Turns back on you - you have been dismissed
  • Thumps and turns back on you - you have caused great offense
  • Moves away from you flicking its back feet - you have causes annoyance
  • Flopped with both back legs out side together - relaxed
  • Flat as possible on tummy with ears laid down in relaxed way - wants to be petted
  • Pushes head under your hand or under your chin if you are cuddling - wants to be petted
  • Pokes you with nose - marking or accepting you
  • Licks you - grooming behavior; a great favor for a rabbit to bestow; you can reciprocate by petting him
  • Purring sound when you are petting - this is tooth purr; happy content rabbit
  • Jumping and twisting in the air (called a binky) - happy rabbit
  • Racing wildly around the room - in the absence of any fear stimulus this is a happy bunny (if he is happy he will stop and groom or flop; if frightened will try to hide or stop and freeze)
  • Stands up on hind legs (called telescoping) - checking things out
  • Frozen with heart racing - terrified
  • Yawning - indicates anxiety
  • Consumption of moist fecal pellets - normal behavior essential for nutrition
  • Pulling out fur and making a nest - normal behavior for unspayed female bunny
  • Digging in litter box - may just like to dig; may indicate dirty litter box
  • Chewing on bars of cage - bored; give him toys, more attention, more freedom, chewable items, adequate hay