Rabbit Body Language Explained

Rabbits have a complex language all their own. They communicate with each other their ears, tail, nose, body position and some vocalizations.
In this video, you will learn the essentials that will help you understand and communicate with your rabbit.

Flattening
If your rabbit’s ears are flattened, it means they are scared. It is also rabbit’s instinctive attempt to hide when they are afraid of a threat. In the wild, rabbits will try to hide in vegetation by making themselves as flat as possible.
But make no mistake. Oftentimes, rabbits melt into the ground when you give them a back massage. That just means the rabbit is happy.
Angry
If your rabbit turns and moves away flicking the back feet, it’s a sign they are angry and probably want to be left alone for some time. In this situation, the rabbit’s ears are often held against the back. You often see this behavior when you put your rabbit down after holding them for too long.
Likewise, thumping back legs is a sign of a rabbit who is angry or threatened and want you to stay away.
Alert
If your rabbit has their ears up and is staring intently in a certain direction, it means they are on high alert.
More often than not, rabbits go on alert when they think there’s a possibility of danger.
Relaxed and confident
When a rabbit’s ears are resting at 45 degrees angle, it means the bunny is relaxed and comfortable with their environment. Their ears will be neither standing straight up, nor flat on their back, and their nose will be twitching at a normal speed. This position is a rabbit’s default, normal body language, and it indicates that they have settled into their environment. They are comfortable in their home and they’re not scared of being attacked.
Periscoping
When a rabbit stands on their hind legs, it means they are curious and trying to get a better view of their surroundings.
Rabbits also use this technique to beg for food.
Shaking ears
Sometimes rabbits will slightly twitch their head to show they are happy. Like a mini binky, this little shake of their ears is a sign that your bunny is excited.
If you are reaching to pet your bunny, but they shake their ears as your hand gets close to them, they are trying to tell you they are not interested in being pet right now and probably want to be left alone for some time.
On the other hand, if your rabbit shakes their head frequently or starts scratching at their ears, it means their ears are itchy. Pronounced and frequent head shaking is a sign of ear mites or a bacterial infection in the ear.
Circling
When a rabbit runs circles around your feet, it’s a sign of love and excitement.
Throwing
Rabbits sometimes throw items around. These can include their toys, water or food bowls. This happens when bunnies are playing.
But remember, some rabbit may toss things around when they’re frustrated or bored. You often see this among rabbits who are kept in a hutch that’s too small.
Boxing
When rabbit stand up on their back legs and raise their front paws to box at anyone who comes close, they are displaying the boxing behavior.
This behavior indicates the rabbit is unhappy and angry. You may see this behavior when two rabbits are fighting, or when people introduce their pet rabbit to a dog. You may think the rabbit is being cute, but in reality, they are scared and ready to fight and defend themselves.
Cautious
When rabbits slowly tip-toe around with their ears forward, it means they are cautious.
Butt Twitching
You may notice your bunny’s butt starts to twitch when you give them a tasty treat.
This is a sign that your rabbit is happy and is enjoying the yummy treat that you just gave them.
Flopping
Flopping is when bunnies throw themselves onto their side. It’s also a sign that the rabbit feels safe and relaxed in their environment.
Binkying
Binkying is a large jump in the air while the rabbit slightly twists its body or head at the same time. Rabbits binky when they feel very happy or excited.
Nesting
If you have a female bunny, you may observe a nesting behavior. She’ll dig and gather bedding materials to make a comfy nest for her babies. While this behavior often occurs in pregnant females, unsprayed female rabbits may exhibit this behavior too. It is a rabbit version of a false pregnancy.
Sniffing
W.By wiggling their nose, more scent receptors make contact with the air. This means that they are more likely to detect and identify the scents in their environment.
And you have probably noticed that rabbits sniff objects close up. This is because rabbits are farsighted. So they waggle their nose to help them find things.
Grooming
Rabbits are very clean animals, and they will spend a lot of time grooming themselves.And you may notice that your rabbit often punches the air before grooming. This is because they want to shake any debris off their paws before they rub their face
If your rabbit grooms himself when you are around, it means they trust you.