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Rabbit Language


It is important to understand the behaviour of the house rabbit so that any change in behaviour does not go un-noticed.

A hop type dance: A sign of pure joy and happiness. This “dancing” includes leaping and spinning in the air.

Chinning: Rabbits rub their chins (which contain scent glands) on items to indicate that the items belong to them and also defines their territory.

Thumping or Stamping of feet: The rabbit is either frightened, annoyed, or sensing danger (real or imagined). Calm him down and reassure him that everything is ok.

Teeth grinding: Soft grinding indicates contentment and is usually heard when stroking or scratching the rabbit. Loud grinding can indicate pain and is usually heard during an illness.

Circling your feet: Usually indicates sexual behaviour (even when neutered), but basically means “I love you”.

Playing: Rabbits like to push or toss objects around. They may also race madly around the house, jump on and off the couch, and act like a hyperactive child.

Spraying: Un-neutered males will mark female rabbits and their territory in this manner. Un-spayed females can also spray.

Territorial droppings: Droppings that are not in a pile, but scattered, are signs that this territory belongs to the rabbit. This will sometimes occur upon entering a new environment or if another rabbit is brought into the house. Droppings in piles indicates that the rabbit needs more litter box training.

Don’t touch my stuff: Some rabbits do not like it when you rearrange their cage as you clean, and may grunt, charge or even nip you. It is best to clean the cage when he is having his run around.

Shrill scream: Hurt or dying.

False pregnancy: Even though a rabbit may not be pregnant, un-spayed females may sometimes build a nest and pull out hair from their chest and stomach to line the nest. They may even stop eating as usually occurs the day before they give birth.

Flipping over: This is a sign of absolute bliss. The first time I ever saw one of my rabbits do this, I thought he was having some type of seizure, but then his brother started doing the same thing. This is a lovely sight, and rabbits that have been digging in the sand will do this afterwards.

Lashing out feet first: You will see your rabbit doing this when he wants to be left alone or when he is wanting to scare off another rabbit or other animal.

Licking: I always suggest that rabbits not be kept on their own as they continuously lick and groom each other. If you are very lucky your rabbit may even do this to you. This is a sign of affection.

Grunts: Usually angry. Beware, your rabbit may bite you

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