Understanding our pets and how they communicate with us is the name of the game. Sometimes we go through this process and learn the ins and outs without even realizing it or paying much attention to it.
I get it. We all get busy and forget that learning to communicate with our animals is what can form a lasting bond and help us to understand things in a more complete fashion.
Well, rabbits are no different from my friends. Shockingly enough, rabbits have many ways of communicating and letting us know what they are thinking, feeling or even when they may be sick or unhappy.
It’s essential that we do everything we can to understand when they are communicating these signals to us and act and help them accordingly.
This is what I like to call “Speaking Rabbit.” I’m sure your wondering, how do you speak rabbit or how do you know what they are thinking or feeling. How do I pick up on these subtle little clues? Well, for all the new rabbit owners or even the current owners that are struggling, I have some good news.
I’m going to break that down for you and give you the full-blown speaking rabbit guide here today.
Hang with me for just a few minutes, and I will provide you with a fun way and the top 25 communications to understand with your rabbit.
Let’s dive into them and teach you how to speak rabbit fluently.
25 Ways to Speak Rabbit and Communicate with Your Bunny
For the sake of this post, keep in mind that we are focused on reading your rabbits language and signs that they are showing you or trying to communicate.
You aren’t going to try to speak “rabbit.” The goal of this post is to merely illustrate 25 things your rabbit may do to communicate with you and how you should perceive this communication and what to do with the information.
The Importance of Bunny Communication
One thing we haven’t touched on before diving into the meat and potatoes of this post is of real importance. Recognizing these signals and communications from your rabbit is 100% necessary and an obligation of yours and yours only.
Rabbits are extremely social and have basic needs as any human has.
Ignoring specific signals or behaviors may leave your bunny feeling neglected or not loved. Additionally, some of these behaviors and communication can indicate fear, illness or sometimes even potential death, so it’s imperative that throughout owning your rabbit that you find time to start learning these signs and signals and learn how to adapt and respond to them accordingly.
It’s only ethical as a rabbit owner and what you need to do to ensure a loving, lasting relationship with your bunny for years to come.
Let’s dive into the 25 essential communications and signals you can expect from your pet bunny.
25 Rabbit Communications, Signals and Behaviors
#1- The Still Resting Position
This position can get a lot of rabbit owners confused. Sometimes a rabbit will be laying on its belly and appear to be utterly relaxed but guess what? They may also be sleeping with theirs open!
That’s right, this position usually indicates that your bunny is either perfectly comfortable or sleeping with their eye open!
Leave them be and let them enjoy the peace and quiet.
#2- Cuddling with Relaxation
The cuddling bunny means that they are in pure joy that you are around and give them some loving to show them your appreciation as well.
They may burrow up against your legs or even in your lap. Give them a treat or show them some of the love they are asking for.
#3- Lunging- Ready to Attack
Lunging is a move a bunny can make when they are ready to attack. Rabbits in the wild perform the same movement. Usually, they will begin on their back legs and make a quick strike jump towards something.
Although it may be possible to see a bunny do this when playing, usually it means that they are in predator mode.
#4- Oinking = Satisfaction
Oinking like a pig is a sound a bunny will make to let you know you are doing something correctly and not to stop whatever it is that you’re currently doing. They are loving it. This could be petting, interacting or simply cuddling with your bunny. Whatever it is you are doing, they clearly like it so don’t stop!
At least not until they give you permission to do so!
#5- Giving You the Booty
Giving you the booty is like giving you the cold shoulder. This is where all you’re going to see is your rabbit’s rear end walking away from you. This means I appreciate your time, but I have better things to do, and maybe we can do this again in the future.
Don’t take offense to this, your rabbit has a life to live too!
#6- Droppings. Claiming Territory
Droppings in certain areas can be like a dog marking a tree with urine. Sometimes it’s based on poor placement or training, and sometimes they are merely trying to stake a claim in an area.
Don’t worry about it. It happens, clean it up and understand why your rabbit did it.
#7- Screaming- Ultimate Fright or Pain
Screaming we have talked about before in our post about what happens when rabbits grieve. Screaming usually indicates ultimate pain or fright and should never be taken lightly. As a rabbit owner, a scream is the last noise you ever want to hear coming from your bunny.
When you do hear it be sure to tend to your bunny quickly and find the root of the problem.
#8- Circling= Hormones
Circling means that it’s time to get your bunny to the vet and get them fixed. Circling is a sign of hormonal changes, and they will continue to do this from time to time until you have gotten them fixed.
Don’t worry, nothing is physically wrong with your bunny when they do this, but now you at least know why your rabbits keep spinning in circles for no apparent reason.
#9- Nudging- Means They Want Attention
Nudging means that it’s time to show me love again. Maybe they gave you the booty just a little bit ago to tend to other business, but now they are back. If your bunny gives you a nudge, take the time to interact with them and show them some love. You don’t want to be the person that ignores these kinds of signals.
Your bunny may not be so pleased with you if you do.
#10-Nose Twitching, What’s Going on Around Here?
Nose twitching can mean several things, but usually, it means either they have some sparked interest, curiosity or possibly even some bunny anxiety. If this is the case, make sure you tend to them. If it’s only some pure curiosity, they will stop twitching their nose soon. Not a bunny communication to worry too much about.
#11- Begging on Back Legs to Please the Owner
This is just like a dog surfing the counter, but your bunny will typically do this by placing it’s front two feet on your legs. Your bunny either wants your attention or a treat. When your bunny is in the begging phase, it seems like a good idea to offer some love and a treat to make sure you fulfill their needs adequately.
#12- Eating Their Own Poop for Nutrients?
Yep, except here’s the catch it’s not actually pooping. In rabbits and other small animals, sometimes they don’t digest the food fully and create little blackberry shaped feces that is filled with nutrients that they need for their bodies.
If you ever see your bunny hunched over buried in their own rear end and come up chewing on something, you just witnessed a little bit of poop eating.
No big deal and it’s perfectly okay. Let nature run its course.
#13- The Loaf Position- The Relaxed Loaf of Bread
The loaf position is when your rabbit is sprawled out on the floor and looks like a loaf of bread. This is a sign of ultimate relaxation and comfort. When your bunny is in this phase, don’t worry. It means that they want to be left in peace and they are delighted and ready to take a nice nap.
#14- The Flop- Relaxation and Happiness
The flop is when your bunny almost resembles the loaf position that we just discussed except this time the back legs will be sprawled out as well.
This is one of the most universal signs that your bunny is extremely happy or excited. Whatever you are doing when this occurs, keep doing it because it’s bringing some pure joy to your bunny.
#15- The Lick and Groom
The lick and groom are just like a human taking a shower and the reason your bunny rarely has an odor. A bunny performing the lick and groom is simply cleaning themselves up and giving themselves a nice bath. Don’t interrupt the process or you may get some grooming of your own that you weren’t expecting.
#16- Peris coping
Persis coping resembles the begging motion, except this time they aren’t begging for anything. Now they are merely on their back legs looking around like some form of a sniper.
They are curious or on high alert checking their surroundings. This isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t mean you are about to have an intruder in your home.
Sometimes rabbits get naturally alerted and want to scope things out. Nothing to worry about with this rabbit communication.
#17- Digging and Burrowing
Digging and burrowing is simply a natural rabbit action among many other animals. They may be curious of something or be following a scent or even pregnant mothers will burrow some to make a nest with straw before having the baby bunnies.
If it’s not destroying the carpet or indoor flooring, it’s nothing to be concerned with and will probably end quickly.
#18- Tooth Purring- Loving the Attention
Tooth purring is another universal sign that your bunny is exceptionally pleased with you. Maybe it’s an ear scratching, belly rub or the treats you are providing but when you hear the teeth purring, this means you are doing something right and your bunny is giving you a big thumbs up.
Whatever you are doing when this happens, take note of it and realize it’s something your bunny loves and include it into your routine for future interactions with your bunny.
#19- Zoomies- Happy or Excitement
Zoomies are quick runs and jump around the room. A lot of rabbit owners state that their rabbits perform zoomies when they arrive home or it’s clearly time to play or interact with each other.
A zoomie is another sign that your bunny loves you and wants to interact. Congratulations if you have reached this stage to earn a zoomie.
Likely at this point, you have built a bond that will last for years to come.
#20- Hunched Over and Ears Back Means Sick Bunny
This is sort of like the screaming bunny and a form of communication and body language that we as bunny owners never want to see or experience. A bunny in the loaf position but with their ears back is usually a sign of trouble and indicates that your bunny may be ill.
If you pick up on this sign of body language, you should take your bunny to the vet and explain the situation.
With small animals, sickness tends to rapidly progress, so it’s important to be proactive in these situations and provide your bunny with care and comfort.
#21-Binky- Jump with A Leg Kick
This is equal to your dog wagging their tail. The binky is the classic jump with the big finish known as the double leg kick. It’s incredible to witness, and when you do witness, it means your bunny is extremely excited and extremely happy.
Interact and spend some time cuddling, petting and interacting with your bunny when they are in this mood. Clearly, you are doing something correct to warrant this behavior so keep it up!
#22- Nipping- Means, Get Out of My Way
Nipping it means it’s time to get out of your bunnies’ way. They may like it if you move out of their way or position yourself somewhere else. They won’t bite you hard so don’t worry, but a slight nip is almost like the giving you the booty body language.
If they give you this nip, take a break, walk away and come back to interact. You were clearly sitting in your bunny’s favorite spot. Shame on you!
#23- Chinning- That’s Mine, and I’m Claiming Position
Chinning means that this is mine and you’re not taking it from your bunny. A bunny will chin you or other objects when they are claiming possession. It’s another territorial behavior where they want to claim ownership.
Don’t be alarmed if your rabbits chin you. This is a good thing and a sign of love from your rabbit.
#24- Grunt Noises, Leave Me Alone
Grunts mean that your bunny is irritated and to leave me alone. Sometimes this isn’t your fault, and they just aren’t in the mood to interact. If your petting or interacting with your bunny and you get the grunt noises, simply respect their wishes and give them a bit of breathing space.
Maybe they are just having a rough day, and you can try again later or even try the following day again.
#25- Oinking Out of Fear or Excitement
Oinking is the most confusing bunny action on this list. It’s confusing because it can either mean pure joy or fear. Using some common sense in these situations is essential. If you are cuddling and interacting, they are clearly oinking out of love and joy, but if it’s a different situation, they may be scared.
Either continue what you are doing or change the scenery for your bunny based on the oink and everything will be perfectly fine.
Putting It All Together. Build the Bond and Love and Learn to Talk and With Your Rabbit
Well, there you have it. Clearly, bunnies have a lot of languages to speak with us, and that may seem overwhelming to anyone who is a new rabbit owner out there reading. Most of these signs and signals you are going to naturally pick up on throughout the ownership and relationship with your bunny.
It’s not important to know every communication with your bunny on day 1, but it is vital that you learn them over time, respect them and learn how to react to specific signals your bunny is trying to give you.
It’s only ethical and safe to do so and missing some of these critical ques could not just leave your bunny sad and depressed but could even lead to death if you miss out on the ques that your bunny may be sick or even the bunny scream.
What’s your experience communicating with your bunny? Did we leave any primary signals or communications off our list that you believe should be added? Be sure to leave a comment below, and we will keep this post updated as the ultimate bunny communication go-to guide.