10 Most Common Rabbit Behaviors Explained

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Like all animals, rabbits also gave their quirks and unique traits that set them apart. You might have read about a certain breed and expected your bunny to display the same behaviors to a T, but in reality, they have a personality of their own, but it can only make you love them more. If you’ve noticed your bunny doing something, such as nose nudging or honking, you might be wondering what those behaviors actually mean. Is your bunny sad, angry, or just happy when they do that weird thing? Read on to learn what are some of the most common rabbit behaviors and what they mean. 


When your bunny acts like they are the Flash and starts running all over the place, it can mean only one – they are happy and excited. This type of behavior can often be spotted when your pet knows they’re getting a treat or a toy they like, so they are showing how excited they are for it by running around at super speed, or, at least, their version of it.


Often following those crazy zoomies, binkying is when a rabbit leaps into the air and slightly twists their body. It might look worrying when you first notice it, especially if you are a beginner rabbit owner, but worry not – these silly bunny acrobatics only signify that your pet is over the moon about something!


Did your bunny produce a buzzing or honking noise and it has you perplexed as to what it means? Don’t fret, it’s just another way for a bunny to show they are excited about something. It can also be a sign that they are happy about something, so don’t be surprised if your pet starts honking when checking out a new toy you got for them!


Your happy-go-lucky bunny just suddenly flopped to their side in the midst of all their antics – might they be unwell or is something amiss? Nope, the fact that your rabbit rolled over and is now lying on their side only means that they are content, relaxed, and finally getting some much-deserved rest after all that excitement. 


Like many animals, rabbits also have scent glands that are located in their chins, and the scent from those glands is used to mark their territory. In other words, if your bunny is rubbing their chin against you (or their enclosure, bed, toy, etc), it just means that they are claiming you as their own – which should be taken as a compliment, of course. Your bunny loves you and doesn’t want to share you!  


This cartoonish behavior signifies that your rabbit is scared or senses danger. In the wild, rabbits would thump to warn other rabbits to watch out for a threat, so if your bunny is thumping, something definitely scared them. 

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can mean two very different things in rabbits – it’s important to look at the context and the intensity of it to make the right conclusion about what teeth grinding means. If they are softly, quietly grinding their teeth, for instance when you are petting them, it’s a sign of feeling content. It can be compared to a cat purring! However, if the grinding is louder, more frequent, and followed by a hunched or tense posture, it can mean that your rabbit is in pain and that you should visit a vet ASAP.


Oh-oh, your bunny is grunting, which means they are angry about something! They might dislike the way you are petting or holding them, or simply not be in the mood for cuddles, or they might be bothered by the fact you’ve taken away some old tatty toys or maybe stopped them from exploring an off-limits part of the house. Whatever the reason, the message is loud and clear – your pet is displeased.


Hey human, notice me! That’s essentially what your rabbit is trying to convey when they are nudging you. You might be in their way, you might not be paying enough attention to them, or they might be in the mood for some snuggling right now – in any case, you can rest assured that when your pet nudges you, they want to be noticed.


Although aggression in rabbits is not common, bunnies can nip or bite sometimes. Usually, this can happen if they are scared or feel threatened, or if they want to establish dominance, either over their owner or another rabbit. Sometimes, it can be purely accidental, for instance, if they do it during playtime or when taking a treat from you – they might be too eager and miss the intended object and instead nip you. Either way, if it’s not frequent or if it’s gentle, don’t worry too much about it. In case your bunny is biting aggressively, you might want to consider underlying issues ranging from sex hormones to health problems.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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