What are your bunny’s ears telling you?
When a rabbit is non alert his ears will point straight up and his nose will twitch rapidly. Rabbits’ ears can rotate independently, which means that you may see your rabbit direct his one ear towards a noise and then swivel the other one back and forth to listen for other sounds.
Rabbits are prey to a wide range of animals, so this has a big impact on their behaviour and habits. They constantly process information about their environment to detect potential threats. Pet rabbits also use the same techniques to monitor their environment for positive events, such as the arrival of their owner with their favourite food.
Rabbits quickly investigate any changes or new additions to their environment. A curious rabbit will turn his ears forward, towards the object or sound he is investigating.
Your rabbit’s innate curiosity can help with socialisation. If you sit very still and wait patiently your rabbit will come to investigate what you are doing. This is a much less stressful way to make friends, rather than putting him on your lap or trying to carry him around.
When relaxed, a rabbit’s ears rest at approximately 45 degrees to their body, although a very relaxed/sleeping rabbit will lay its ears all the way back so they rest on it’s shoulders. A resting rabbit may raise one ear every so often when he hears a noise.
The position a rabbit chooses to rest in is a good indication on how relaxed he is. Lying on his side is the most relaxed position.