Rabbits usually scream when they die because rabbits scream when they are scared or are in pain. If a rabbit is dying, it is probably scared or in pain. This is how a rabbit communicates its feelings.
Why Would a Rabbit Scream When it is Dying? A Common Reason for a Rabbit to Let Out a “Scream” Sounding Noise is Because of Fear They May Have, or Pain They are Vocalizing. Since a Rabbit Cannot Speak Like a Human Can to Let You Know They Are in Distress, this is Their Way of Communicating. If a Rabbit is Having a Seizure, They May Scream Because They Are Experiencing a Fit. This Scream, or Loud Squeal, Will Sound Similar to a Small Child. If You Hear This Noise, it is Best to Stay with Your Pet and Comfort Them.
A scream can indicate alarm which is associated with physiological distress, fear, or pain. When the rabbit knows they will die, often times they scream out of fear. If a rabbit is in an immense amount of pain, they will also scream like a human would, since there is no other way for them to get help. Rabbits do not always scream when they die, but they may if they are dealing with pain or fear.
If your rabbit is facing a seizure they may scream or let out a squeal as a result of this. Seizures are fairly uncommon in rabbits, but they are very painful when they do occur. A seizure can vary in effects. There are partial seizures, in which the rabbit is partially conscious of their environment. They may throw a fit in which they are throwing themselves around their environment. This is where you are most likely to hear a scream from them. There is also a generalized seizure, in which a rabbit is not conscious. This can be identified through your pet rolling on its side and eyes rolling back.
A rabbit will not always die from a seizure, but it is a strong possibility. Seizures can be caused by a viral infection, parasitic infection, trauma in the central nervous system, organ failure, mechanical causes, medication, toxicity, or systemic causes. If your pet recovers from the seizure, they should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
What else should you know about rabbits screaming when they die?
- Rabbits can actually die of fright. Loud, alarming sounds such as other pets, loud music, or screaming can cause heart attacks in rabbits. It does not happen often, but it is definitely possible. This could definitely be a reason your rabbit screamed when facing death.
- Pets who are not trained to leave a rabbit alone can scare them into shock, which may cause death. If you happen to hear a loud scream from your rabbit, only to find your pet near, but no physical harm to your rabbit you should still be concerned. Consider moving your rabbit somewhere inaccessible to other pets, as the fear can be fatal for a rabbit.
- Your rabbit can ingest items in your garden that can cause seizures. Gardening products, pesticides, washing powder, and other cleaning products can cause toxicity in rabbits that can cause deadly, painful seizures. Either keep your rabbit out of the garden, or only use pet-safe materials.
- Children under the age of 12 should not be handling a rabbit alone. The improper handling children typically provide, as well as the loud noises and running around seen by children is not healthy for a rabbit. Rabbits are very fragile emotionally and physically, and an adult should be present if a child will be interacting with them. Failure to care for the rabbit’s needs may result in painful breaks to the rabbit’s bones, or stress that can cause death.
- Rabbits are programmed to scream by nature because it is a reaction to being chased down by a predator. It is a defense mechanism, which is why it sounds so chilling. Rabbits scream if they are dying, feeling they will die, are scared, or fear a predator.
- Since rabbits do not have vocal cords, they cannot “cry” or “talk” like some other animals can. When a rabbit screams it is as a result of air being forced suddenly out of their lungs. This is why rabbits may scream during a fit, or spasm when experiencing something like a seizure.
- Some rabbits scream more than others. Some may not scream at all in their lifetime, while some may scream very often. Some rabbits have been documented screaming at the sign of being picked up by their owner because they are worried about a predator and are concerned that they will die.
What Should You Do if Your Rabbit is Screaming and May Die? If You Hear the Child-Like Scream, or Squeal from Your Pet Rabbit, it is Best to Offer Comfort While Gently Checking for Injury Before Rushing Your Pet to the Veterinarian’s Office. While This May be Your First Instinct, it is Recommended to Evaluate the Situation First. Your Pet May Have Been Shocked by Something and Let Out a Scream Out of Fear. If Your Pet Seems to be in Distress, Picking Them Up and Hauling them to the Veterinarian Right Away May Cause Further Stress. It is Best to Just be There for Them Until They Calm Down, Because the Extra Stress May Worsen the Situation, Causing Death, where they Would Have Survived if Given Time to Calm Down. If They Do Not Settle Down or They Have a Major Injury, The Veterinarian is the Next Step.
If you hear a loud scream from your pet, it is best for them if you are there until they settle down. Rabbits have been known to let out a squeal if they are startled or scared, so you may be adding stress if you immediately run them to the veterinarian when they could have calmed down with time. If a rabbit is dying and is screaming out of pain or fear, you can either let them pass at home and just be there to comfort them or take them to the vet to be put down if you fear they are suffering. How you proceed is dependent on what symptoms your pet is experiencing and how you feel you should handle the situation.
Being near your pet, petting them gently, and whispering quietly and in a soothing way is the ideal situation to settle them down after a scream. Keeping stressful situations away will be vital as well. Other pets and loud noises may stress the rabbit out, so keeping a quiet, private area for the rabbit is ideal.
While not all rabbits scream when they die, it is definitely a possibility for rabbits to scream as they are dying. Common reasons for this are due to pain or fear experienced while dying. To prevent your pet from facing a painful, or fear-induced death, it is important to keep stressful triggers out of their environment. Also, be weary of things that may cause seizures, as this is a painful event that may produce a scream followed by death.
If you hear a scream, comfort your pet and stay with them to monitor them. Check them over for injuries and plan your next step accordingly. If they have major injuries, they should be taken to the vet. If not, stay with them and give them a chance to calm down before moving them and stressing them out even more.