Understanding Rabbit Behavior and Their Sounds and  Actions

Unlike other pets, rabbits aren’t good in vocal communication and understanding rabbit behavior could be a little tricky. Rabbits don’t have that distinct sound like when dogs bark, or when cats meow, and when birds chirp. But the good thing about rabbits is that they can do body language or actions when they want to tell us something. They also create sounds and doing this means a lot and surely they have something important to tell us. Below are some of the rabbit behavior, sounds, and actions they create and how to understand them.

Understanding rabbit behavior, sounds, and actions

  • Growling/Grunting

Quite uncommon, but rabbits do this kind of sound when they are angry to someone or at something. It could be a person or visitor they just met or a total stranger. They could also show disappointment over objects or towards other rabbits.  Normally when they get angry and create this kind of sound, it is followed by scratching and sometimes biting too.

  • Honking accompanied by circling action

It’s kind of weird and funny at the same time when rabbits honk. But when they do this while they are circling another rabbit, specifically a female rabbit, this means they are courting the female and doing this is expressing utmost likeness to mate. They also do circle around humans’ feet which mean marking their territory.

  • Snorting

There are several reasons why rabbits snort. One of the reasons is when they dislike something. They also do this when they are in the mood to seek attention from their human. Other causes could be that your rabbit has a respiratory problem.

  • Tooth Clicking
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When done in a mild manner or in somewhat a purring sound, it means they are happy and content. If the sound is fast and loud like a grinding tooth, it means they are suffering from pain and needs immediate attention. They may be also under stress and discomfort.

They will also make squealing or squeaking sound when they are in pain or in danger.

  • Screaming

This is very unusual but rabbits do this when they are in pain, threatened, scared, or feel like dying. When they do this, check them out right away and see what you can do to help them.

  • Chinning

They actually use their scent glands found under their chin. They rub it against an object or something which means they are marking it as their territory.

  • Standing upright on hind legs

You will often see your rabbit do this like they imitate dogs especially when they know that you have treats for them. This means they are begging for something or they want to get your attention. Some rabbit owners would attest that rabbits are better than dogs when they beg for something and you just couldn’t say no.


rabbit behavior grey rabbit lying flat on the floor

Photo: xiroro | Flickr


  • Lying flat, stomach on the ground

This is a sign that your rabbit is in a very relaxed mood. Normally their legs are spread out on the sides and looking very comfortable. It’s good to always see your rabbit in this kind of position because it just means that they are free from stress and have very pleasant disposition.

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  • Jumping around, ballistic, twisting their body

This action and rabbit behavior is commonly known as “binky”. This means your pet rabbit is extremely happy about something. To see your rabbit do this is a sign of a happy, healthy, and a rabbit that is well taken care of.


  • Lying upside down, stomach out and legs upright in the air

This position normally happens when your pet rabbit went tired after being binky. Sleeping in this position indicates that your rabbit have released some of their energy from a blissful physical activity.


  • Thumping

When rabbits feel that they are in a potential danger they thump their feet on the ground as a warning to other rabbits.


  • Pulling out hair

Female rabbits normally do this when they are pregnant. Female rabbits undergo nesting period in which they pull out some of the hair form their stomach when they feel like their nest box will not be enough to accommodate her kits.


It is important that these kinds of rabbit behavior, sounds, and actions must be known early on. In this way, communicating with your pet and providing their needs will be less complicated. Being aware of these can give you and your rabbit the kind of harmonious relationship that could build trust and loyalty in the long run.

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