Rabbits are known to participate in many strange behaviors. One behavior that rabbits have been collectively known for is having a fascination with their owner’s feet. This fascination, as well as the behaviors that go with it can make owners uncomfortable and confused, especially if they don’t understand where it is coming from.
So, why does your rabbit have an obsession with your feet?
Rabbit may gravitate towards their owner’s feet if they are not neutered. This behavior typically includes grunting, nipping, and chasing feet. This may be a territorial dispute if there are other rabbits, or a lack of space available as well.
I’m going to be discussing why a rabbit may gravitate, or be “obsessed,” with their owner’s feet. I will also be covering ways to alleviate this fixation with feet in your rabbit.
Why is Your Rabbit Obsessed with Your Feet? There Are Various Reasons Why a Rabbit May Have an Interest in Your Feet. It Could be Due to the Hormones Present When a Rabbit Has Not Been Spayed or Neutered Yet. If Your Pet Has Already Been Spayed or Neutered, this May be a Result of Marking Territory.
When a rabbit is circling around your feet, this is called “courting.” If there is no other rabbit in the home to court, you may be the closest thing the rabbit has. This means it is time to spay or neuter the rabbit, as they are having interest in mating.
When your rabbit begins circling your feet, you may hear soft honking or oinking noises as well.
If your rabbit is circling your feet and they have already been spayed or neutered, this may be a sign that they want something. They may be asking for food if their supply is out, so check the timing and resources they have when they choose to do this.
Your pet may also be looking for attention if they have all the supplies they need and are still circling your feet.
Your Rabbit is Targeting Your Feet as a Way of Courting; Why Are They Doing This? Well, Normally Rabbits Would Court Another Rabbit to Prepare to Mate. If There is No Other Rabbit Available, They Will Likely Turn to the Next Closest Bond They Recognize. This “Foot Obsession” May Consist of Circling Your Feet, As Well As Chasing Them, Mounting Them, and Possibly Even Nipping at Them.
Rabbits will have a natural instinct to court in order to mate if they are not neutered or spayed. If your pet is not neutered or spayed, keep an eye out for these behaviors…
Grooming: Grooming is one way a rabbit may show their fondness of you, however, if your pet is licking your feet as well as displaying the other signs of courting, it may be for a reason other than just being sweet to their owner.
Flops, binkies, and tail flicks: These are all signs that a rabbit is happy, however, in the perfect storm may also be flirting for a rabbit. A flop is when a rabbit flops over onto its side. A binky is when a rabbit does a very abrupt jump. A tail flick can be very easy to miss but can be considered the equivalent of hair flipping in human women.
Chasing: In the wild, a male rabbit will often chase a female rabbit as part of courting. Sometimes the males and females will chase each other. If you happen to be walking throughout the house and your rabbit begins chasing your feet, this may be the reason.
Running circles around still rabbit, or object: Another common behavior that comes with courting. A rabbit may do this to assert dominance. If between two rabbits, the other rabbit would submissively sit with ears back.
Mounting: One of the most obvious signs that your rabbit’s behavior is hormone driven. Contrary to popular opinion, this is not a male-only behavior. If mounting is followed by a nip, do not be surprised. If your pet is mounting your foot, it is definitely time for them to be neutered or spayed.
Nipping: Nipping can sometimes be a way for rabbits to play. Since rabbits cannot use their paws to tap each other, they may use a nip to sort of “tag” each other. A nip may also be an attention seeking peck. However, when a nip happens from an unneutered or unspayed rabbit accompanied by the other signs of courting, they are likely as a sign that is also courting.
Bunny butt: if your rabbit turns their back to you, this is their way of pouting. They will often do this if they do not get their way, or the attention they were looking for. Do not be surprised if you get the cold shoulder after denying your pet’s attempts to mount, lick, or chase your feet.
Your Rabbit Has Been Fixed, So Why Are They So interested in Your Feet Still? While Being Unspayed or Unneutered is a Large Reason Rabbits May be Drawn to Their Owners Feet, there are Reasons They May Still Pay Attention to the Feet After Neutering and Spaying. If Your Pet Feels a Need to Mark Their Territory, They May Gravitate Toward Their Owners Feet Still.
So, you had your pet spayed or neutered, and are disappointed to notice they are still very interested in your feet. While this is often a result of hormones in rabbits, this may also be driven by a desire to mark the territory.
Rabbits have scent glands under their chin. If you are noticing your rabbit continuously rubbing their chin on your feet, this is because they are marking you are their territory. This is not harmful as the scent gland does not leave a scent that is able to be smelled by humans. It also does not leave a visible residue.
Performing this action a healthy amount is a completely natural behavior for a rabbit. While it may make you uncomfortable to have your feet touched by your pet, this may just be part of their nature and nothing to be concerned over.
Rabbits are also known to rub their chins on objects such as food bowls, toys, and their cage to mark it as their own. This is natural and healthy behavior for them.
There is a time when rubbing the chin, also known as “chinning,” can become a behavior to watch out for, though.
If you have multiple rabbits in your home and they both are chinning constantly on areas that are not their territory, this may cause some friction. If rabbits begin to feel like they do not have their own space or items, they may begin to get into fights over their territory.
If this territory marking becomes even more of an issue, the rabbits may graduate from chinning to spraying urine to show each other what area belongs to whom. Spraying urine will be very messy, expensive, and time-consuming on you as the owner, so it is best to step in before the issue rises to this point.
If this is occurring, you must evaluate their living situation in order to determine a way to create a safe space.
Once You Have Determined the Cause of the Foot Obsession, How Can You Put a Stop to It? Once You Have Narrowed Down the Cause of Your Pet’s Foot Obsession Between Hormonal, or Territory Marking, You May Want to Step in and Find a Way to Ease the Obsession. There are Multiple Ways to do This. Spaying and Neutering is the Most Obvious Option When It Comes to Hormones. With Marking Territory, There May be a More Complicated Solution to Determine.
If your pet is unspayed or unneutered and they are gravitating towards your feet, your best option is to have them spayed or neutered. This will lessen the emotional need for them to court and mate which is causing the foot fixation.
If your rabbit is targeting your feet as a way to mark their territory, you must evaluate their living situation. If they are sharing the home with another rabbit, make sure each pet has their own resources like food, water, and toys. Unless closely bonded, it is recommended they have separate cages as well.
A moderate amount of chinning may be irritating for you; however, this is normal behavior for a rabbit and nothing you should be concerned over.
If Your Pet Rabbit Seems to Be Obsessed with Your Feet, the Reason is Likely Due to Their Hormones or a Natural Desire to Mark Their Territory. Your Feet Often Times Are the Closest Part of Your Body to them, So They React Accordingly.
Whether the reason is due to hormones or your pet attempting to mark their territory, finding a solution to lessen the amount your rabbit interacts with your feet is a fairly easy fix.
Overall, rabbits being interested in their owner’s feet is not an issue to be too concerned about.