Your furry friend is usually full of energy and hopping all over your house. Running around their space, making a variety of noises, and performing jumps of excitement are regular behaviors for your rabbit. One day your pet gets very quiet, and you question if this is normal behavior.
So, do rabbits have quiet days?
Rabbits will normally have a quiet day if something is wrong with them. Rabbits are normally very consistent with behavior, so a change may be something to be concerned about. If your pet becomes quiet all of the sudden, they may be ill or in pain.
I will be discussing normal behavior in rabbits, behaviors that are not normal for your pet, as well as reasons why your pet may be acting quiet.
What Is Normal Behavior for a Rabbit? There Are Many Behaviors a Rabbit Will Participate in to Let Their Owner Know They Are Happy and Healthy. These Can Vary from the Way a Rabbit Lays to the Way They Jump, or Even How They Interact with Their Owner. All of Which Should be Taken as a Good Sign.
If your pet rabbit is happy and healthy you can frequently find them hopping. A signature hop from a happy, excited rabbit is a jump which is straight up and may include a spin. This is called a “binky.”
A rabbit may also lay down on their side very suddenly, as if they are tired out. This is a sign that they trust their owner. This is called a “flop.” A flop is a playful and content sign from a rabbit.
Another behavior that is considered normal and is not something to be worried about is chin rubbing, or “chinning.” This is how a rabbit will usually mark their territory.
Rabbits have scent glands under their chins which enable a rabbit to mark an area with their scent as they rub their chin there. This scent is odorless to humans, and it leaves no visible residue. A rabbit may mark their territory on their cage, food bowl, other objects in the home, or even you!
This behavior is typically harmless and is a completely normal behavior for a rabbit to participate in.
If you’re petting your rabbit and you notice a very faint grinding noise, this should be taken as a sign of satisfaction. This is often called “teeth purring.” A rabbit will do this if they are content and happy with the situation.
If your rabbit is racing around the house, tossing their toys at you, or jumping off furniture, this is normal behavior for play. A rabbit can become very rambunctious and full of energy when it is play time. This is very normal.
What Behaviors from a Rabbit Should You be Concerned About?
While There Are Plenty of Behaviors that Rabbits Demonstrate that are Completely Normal, there are Some that May be a Red Flag. If Your Rabbit is Demonstrating Any Behavior that is Worrying You, it is Recommended to Seek Advice from a Veterinarian. If Your Rabbit’s Behavior Shifts Suddenly, They Are Making Unsettling Noises, or They Are Giving Off Negative Body Language, These Are Probably Behaviors You Should Keep an Eye On.
Nipping or biting are behaviors that signal that your rabbit is agitated over something. A nip is gentler than a bite. This may be done for reasons not requiring concern, such as attention seeking, or maybe they would like you to move. A nip is generally not a reason to get concerned, however, a bite may be.
If you grab at your pet suddenly or from behind, they may bite at you out of fear. Since rabbits are prey animals, they are scared very easily. Grabbing your rabbit from behind or trying to grab them quickly may remind them of being attacked by a predator. This may provoke them to deliver a bite out of self-defense.
Rabbits also have blind spots under their chin, in front of their nose, and behind them. If they cannot properly see you and just see a blurry object, or no object at all, they may feel they are in danger being touched. It is best to avoid blind spots to avoid being bitten by a rabbit.
If your rabbit begins to circle your feet, this may also be a red flag. This is a sign that your rabbit is ready to mate or may be trying to mate with you. If you have not yet had your pet neutered or spayed, this is a sign that it is time to have the procedure done. The longer you wait, the more prone your pet will be to unnecessary aggression.
Another behavior that indicates anger, fear, or frustration in a rabbit is a thump, or stomp. A rabbit may take their hind leg and stomp it on the ground as a warning sign. If your rabbit is exhibiting this behavior, it would be wise to give them some space, as well as evaluate what triggers cause the stomp in the first place.
You do not want your pet to feel uneasy, or unsafe in their environment.
While a soft grinding can be considered a sign of contentment, it should not be confused with a loud grinding. If your rabbit is loudly grinding their teeth, while showing other signs of distress such as hiding or hunching over, this may be a sign of pain.
A sudden change in behavior is something you should keep an eye on as a pet owner as well. If your pet rabbit is often running all over the house, making noise, and full of energy, any behavior other than this should be a red flag.
Chinning is a completely normal and harmless way for a rabbit to mark their territory. However, sometimes marking territory will go beyond that. If a rabbit feels they do not have enough space, or a space of their own, they may begin marking territory by urinating on objects, or leaving droppings throughout your home.
If this begins to happen, evaluating the space and resources your vet has available is recommended. If sharing space, try to give more of an individualized setup to your pets to discourage territory disputes.
If your rabbit suddenly becomes quiet, or just wants to lay around, this may indicate illness or another health issue. Rabbits are very consistent with their behavior, so a shift, whether it be hostility, fear, or even just being quieter should concern you.
One of the most concerning behaviors a rabbit can exhibit is a loud, shrill scream. A rabbit will scream if they feel their life is in danger, or if they are in excruciating pain. In the wild, a rabbit will often scream when they have been caught by a predator.
If Your Pet Rabbit Becomes Quiet Suddenly, This Behavior Should Not be Taken Lightly. It is Not Typically Normal for a Rabbit to Just Have a “Quiet Day.” Rabbits Are an Animal that Is Very Consistent with Their Behavior, so a Shift Should Cause Concern.
If your rabbit is quiet for a day when they are otherwise rambunctious and energetic, this could be a sign that they are in pain or suffering from illness. It would be wise to have them looked at by your veterinarian.
Rabbits have many behaviors that are considered normal; however, they exhibit many behaviors that warrant action from their owner.
Overall, rabbits are fairly complex creatures, but once you learn their behavior, you will quickly catch on to what is healthy and what is not.