Why Is My Rabbit Grunting and Clucking?

Why Is My Rabbit Grunting and Clucking
Why Is My Rabbit Grunting and Clucking

Rabbits make many different noises, and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish them, or tell what each one means. Rabbits communicate with their owner nonverbally through making all these different sounds. Two common noises rabbits make are “grunting,” or “clucking” noises. So, what does it mean when a rabbit grunts or clucks?

Grunting may be a result of a male who is ready to mate, or a rabbit who is excited or looking for attention. Clucking is often heard from a female rabbit who is feeding her young or when a rabbit is in appreciation of food or something else. This example usually comes from de-sexed rabbits.

I will be going over different noises rabbits make, as well as what they mean in further detail. When you should be concerned about rabbit noises and how to approach the issue will be covered as well. By the end of this post, you should be able to understand your rabbit, and almost speak their language.

What Different Noises do Rabbits Make? We Know Rabbits Grunt and Cluck, but What Other Noises Do They Make? Since Rabbits Can Not Tell You What They Want to in Words, They Must Have a Way to Let Owners Know Their Feelings. This is Where Their Ability to Make Many Different Sounds for Different Desires, Emotions, and Situations is So Important.

So, what noises do rabbits make?

  • Grunting, which is also known as honking
  • Teeth purring
  • Thumping
  • Growling
  • Sneezing or snorting
  • Sighing
  • Clucking, which is also known as “chirruping”
  • Squealing
  • Screaming

Each of these sounds has their own unique meaning.

We Know Which Sounds Rabbits Can Make Other than Grunting and Clucking, but What do They Mean? Each Sound Has Its Own Meaning Which You Should Pay Close Attention to. These Sounds Can Range from Meaning Your Pet is Happy or Excited, All the Way to Danger. To Understand How Your Pet is Feeling Pay Close Attention to The Noises They Are Making.

Grunting or Honking:

This is actually considered one of the most common rabbit noises. Grunting or honking is usually done by an unneutered male as a sign that he wants to mate with the doe. This is often combined with a behavior of circling another rabbit or their owner’s feet.

If this sound is heard from a spayed female or neutered male, this is usually a sign that they are excited or eager. Examples include feeding time or being chased by another rabbit. It is not uncommon for a rabbit to sit by your feet and honk if they are requesting your attention as well.

Teeth Purring:

Teeth purring is another common sound for rabbits. They will typically make this noise when you are stroking their fur and they are satisfied. You may notice the whiskers and jaws move as they make the noise due to the light grinding that is happening in their mouth.

This can be confused with louder tooth grinding, which is actually a sign of pain. It is important to be able to differentiate between the two.


If a rabbit feels threatened, they may stamp their hind foot on the ground to warn other rabbits of the danger. This vibration can be felt by other rabbits, even if they are not too close to the rabbit performing the thumping.

Pet rabbits may also thump as a way of expressing their anger towards something, for example, something that scares them.


This probably does not come as much of a surprise, but when a rabbit growls it comes from a place of anger. It is most commonly heard in unspayed female rabbits while they defend their cage or other territory. If the threat does not ease, the rabbit may lunge with the front feet as a defense mechanism.

Sneezing or Snorting:

If there is a strong scent the rabbit does not like, they may sneeze as a reaction. This is their way of expressing their disgust sometimes, however, sometimes it is just due to an irritation to their nasal cavities.


When rabbits sigh it is not very loud at all and you may not actually hear it. Similar to humans, if a rabbit sighs it means they are not necessarily fond of a situation, but at the same time they are not completely opposed to it. You may hear a small sigh if you are brushing your rabbit’s fur.

Clucking or Chirruping:

As we touched on before, this sound is typically heard in females and de-sexed rabbits. A female rabbit may make this noise as she feeds her young. A de-sexed rabbit may cluck or chirp to show appreciation of something.


A squeal is a rabbit’s sign that something needs to stop. They may squeal if they are fighting with another rabbit and they are getting hurt. They may also squeal if they are being handled too roughly.


A scream from a rabbit is a very horrific, and unmistakable sound. Rabbits will scream at a very high pitch when they are in danger, for example if they are caught by a predator. If a rabbit is dying, they are also known to scream.

Out of the Sounds Ranging from Grunting, Clucking, to Screaming, Which Ones Should Make You Concerned for Your Pet Rabbit? Each Sound Means Something Different, and Some Range in the Extreme for the Emotion the Rabbit is Feeling. Some Noises Should Grab Your Attention and Cause You to Spring into Action. Your Rabbit’s Health May Depend on It.

One of the most recognizable sounds, and one of the most serious noises, is the scream. If you hear a scream come out of your pet, this means there is something wrong. Whether they are afraid, or they are in a great deal of pain, something is off with the rabbit.

If you hear a scream come from your rabbit, it is recommended to make an appointment with your local veterinarian to be safe.

Loud squealing is another noise to act on if you hear. This means your pet is in pain or afraid as well. This may not be as severe as a scream, however, if your pet is in pain or scared it is best to intervene as to lower the distress they are facing.

While tooth purring is an indicator for happiness and positivity, if the grinding is hard this could be a sign that your pet is in pain. If your rabbit is hunched up and they look like something is not right, this is another indicator they are grinding out of pain, not satisfaction.

A small amount of snorting or sneezing should not be a cause for concern, however, if this happens often you may want to have your pet examined. If runny nose or eyes are present as well, you should probably make sure your pet is not facing any health issues.

When these sounds are occurring, whatever is bothering your pet should be discovered, and if you still feel concerned help from a vet should be sought.

Although Some Sounds Can be a Cause for Concern in Your Rabbit, Grunting and Clucking are Fairly Common Noises for a Rabbit to Make. These Should not Indicate Anything Wrong with Your Pet.

Overall, it is important to remember rabbits make a variety of sounds. Knowing what each one means is important to understanding their needs.

If you have rabbits that are grunting and clucking, not screaming or squealing, you should rest assured your rabbits are happy and healthy!