Is it possible that rabbits can understand human language? It would be like carrying on a one dimensional conversation because the human would be talking to the rabbit but the rabbit would not be talking back to the human. If rabbits can understand when humans talk to them how much are they really understanding or it just seems like they understand human speech but they really do not?
Rabbits can understand some human speech and it must be noted they have their own complex language. Rabbits mainly communicate through body language. They do have some vocalizations though. You can learn your rabbit’s complex dialect by patient observation. Rabbits have a lot of subtle ways in which they communicate with humans and other rabbits.
If rabbits can communicate with humans by certain forms of communication then obviously they can understand human language. By nature it takes two to be able to communicate so a rabbit and a human must be able to understand one another to communicate with one another. Rabbits will use different parts of their body to talk to humans and other rabbits.
They use their ears, nose and eyes to communicate fear or other moods they may be feeling at the moment. If you see the third eyelid in the very corner of the eye the rabbit is communicating they are extremely fearful or stressed out. Rabbits are second language learners so this means they can learn some human speech.
Rabbits are prey-based animals so they will scan a lot especially their immediate surroundings to see if there is any potential dangers that are either occurring or will occur. The rabbit will take immediate action to avoid the danger or the threat. This could involve fighting the enemy or fleeing from the danger.
Rabbits are territorial creature as well and they will communicate with others (including humans) what the consequences of those territorial incursions will be. Rabbits will live in groups and there is a definite hierarchy within the groups. The rabbits will show their rank in the group through dominant type behaviors.
Ears-Rabbits will communicate with people, animals, or other rabbits quite clearly with their ears. In fact, a person can learn a quite a bit of how much a rabbit is understanding their words by watching their ears. Their ears are sonars that keep the rabbit tuned to what is going on around them. If the ears are forward then something has their complete attention and they will have their full focus on you.
If one ear is back and the other ear is forward the rabbit is listening to more than one person. If two people are in the room the rabbit has one ear forward and one ear back then this means they are listening to you and the other person in the room.
This ear posture you really need to be careful with and that is when the ears are both back. It could be communicating to the person that the rabbit is submissive which would be a passive behavior and the rabbit will not become aggressive. But conversely the rabbit could be angry and could be getting ready to attack you. This is the aggressive behavior you need to be aware of. A third message is the rabbit could be very scared of you and you do not know what the rabbit will do. They could either attack you or run away from you.
Eyes-If the third eyelid (we mentioned this earlier in the article) appears in the corner of the eye then again the person needs to be watching what the rabbit will communicate. The message will be threefold because it will communicate the rabbit is either extremely stressed, is very afraid or the rabbit is uneasy. So, you did or said something that caused the rabbit to react to you in this way. If you see this third eyelid be on alert because you do not know if the rabbit will run from you or charge you. The rabbit is a small animal but they have claws (if left uncut) will cause you some serious pain.
If the rabbit chooses the flee method it will take off to some hiding place in the backyard or in the house and this could be bad. If the rabbit lodges itself in a place you cannot get to then you may have a very hard time getting the rabbit out in the open again. Rabbits can be very flighty animals and the least negative tone from your mouth could send them running.
Full Speed Ahead-The little fur ball is running at full speed through the house and is chasing you then the rabbit is communicating that they are having a great time with you and thoroughly enjoying themselves. This communicates the rabbit is completely comfortable with you and the people in the house. They love their surroundings as well. The reverse of this is the rabbit is scared because of something you said and they are in full retreat because they have become very frightened.
Leaping In The Air-The rabbit is running full speed and then leaps into the air. In mid-air the rabbit does a half turn. The rabbit will do a twist in mid run. The rabbit is communicating to you I am so happy for whatever the reason the rabbit is feeling so good about.
Boxing Anyone?-The rabbit is angry about something you said or did. The rabbit is standing on the hind legs and it is punching with the paws. The message is if you take a few steps closer to me I will knock your head off.
Bunch Or Else-The rabbit is flying around the house pushing (maybe you) pulling, and biting bed linens the message the rabbit is sending you is this: I want everything organized and in order and until it meets my standards I will not stop.
Tunnel Evermore-The rabbit is showing tunneling behavior and the message is not clearly defined. It could mean the rabbit is reverting to its prehistoric tunneling behavior. Or it could mean the rabbit would rather be outside and digging out its home underground.
Chewing To My Heart’s Content-This is a natural mode of communication by the rabbit. The interpretation is I must keep my teeth ground out and I need to keep the vines (electrical cords) from growing and covering the entrance to my burrow. This is why electrical cords must be covered so the rabbit will not get hurt or destroy your electrical cords.
Chin Up-The rabbit will rub the scent glands under the chin to mark their territory. The message is stay out of my territory or who will pay the penalty. The scent cannot be smelled by humans.
Circle It-If the rabbit is circling around the human’s feet or another rabbit there are a couple of messages being communicated. If it is around the human’s feet the rabbit is saying pay attention to me I want your attention. If the rabbit is circling another rabbit it could be a courtship ritual. But if the rabbit’s ears are down and the tail straight up an attack is about to take place. Remove the rabbit from the other rabbit.
Climbing The Highest Mountains-The rabbit is climbing this is natural exploratory behavior and the rabbit is just exploring new territory. The rabbit is also playing.
Dig It-The rabbit is engaging in natural digging behavior. The rabbit is saying I am digging my burrow or I want to hide. I need to escape or I need a place to lay down. It also means I have to go to the bathroom. The rabbit will do this digging behavior on the human’s chest or lap. It also means I need some affection.
Floppy-The rabbit literally throws himself/herself on their side. This means I need to chill and I am relaxed. I need to take a nap now.
Grunting Or Growling-This vocalization you need to be aware of. The rabbit is extremely annoyed at a human behavior or another rabbit’s behavior. So, the message is I am angry so leave me alone. Or if a human is holding the rabbit you better put the rabbit down. This vocalization maybe followed by scratching or biting.
Honking Honey-This vocalization is accompanied by one rabbit circling the other rabbit. This is a courtship vocalization in essence, what the rabbit is saying is will you be my valentine.
Snorting-This vocalization means the rabbit wants some attention and affection from the human pet owner. Or it could be an upper respiratory infection. Or the message may mean the rabbit is sick or irritated.
Conclusion: It maybe that rabbits can understand human language in a limited capacity. They will respond to human language mainly through vocalizations or bodily movements. They may communicate many messages through their eyes or paws and they will make numerous vocalizations. If a pet owner observes a message that may communicate aggression they need to be careful that they do not scratched or bit.