Bunny Language

Rabbits depend heavily on body language as their primary form of communication. It is also the reason why every rabbit needs a parter to be social. Humans are unable to replicate the social interaction that only another rabbit can provide.


Often presented when kept alone and/or in small cages. Can be seen as a territorial behaviour.

Also a sign of fear/anxiety/pain/distress/insecurity.

May also occur when a mother defends her young.



See a vet as soon as possible. Can be a sign of a serious problem.



A sign of curiosity. Can occur when rabbit has heard something. Also displayed as a greeting.



A sign of pure happiness.



The act of rubbing the underside of the chin against something and humans. Performed to mark territory with its scent. Under the chin are glands that absorb scents undetectable by humans.


Rabbit runs around another rabbit or human feet. Is an intention to mate.

Constant Changing Between Sitting & Laying

Sign of restlessness. If very often changes between laying, sitting, moving, can indicate pain. This behaviour is often seen alongside pressing self against the floor. The rabbit is in discomfort. See immediately a vet.


Normal instinctual behaviour to wear away their claws. Can also be a sign of frustration or boredom.


Ears Forward

Sign of curiosity.

Ears Flat On Back

If eyes are half open, indicates relaxation & sleepiness.

With big open eyes, is a warning signal of an imminent attack. Can indicate total fear dependant on other body behaviour. Tries to make itself inconspicuous.

Ear Flicking

Frequently flicking & scratching ears can indicate a problem with the ear. Check ears for any irritation. If occurs for a long time, see a vet. Can be an invitation of wanting to play.

Ears Straight Up

Sign of alarm. Wanting to listen better.


Eating Droppings

There are two types of faeces: the hard, round spherical shaped type & the wet, strong smelling, grape-shaped type. The latter are called cecotropes. Rabbits must eat these to ensure maximum absorbtion of nutrients from their food. Do not prevent your rabbit from eating these. It is vital for optimum health.


An important social behaviour. Rabbits will groom each other as a display of affection. Normally a healthy rabbit will groom itself multiple times every day.


Grunting & Growling

Often female rabbits may make this sound during pseudopregnancy. Occurs when they want to be left alone. Also made by males.



A sign of acceptance in the pack. It is also a display of affection.


Used to clear the hierarchy & to display dominance. The higher rabbit in the hierarchy mounts the lower rabbit. Occurs with same gender also.



A sign of frustration & discontent. Often seen when kept alone and/or kept in a cage.

If nipping while circling, can be a sign of love.


A friendly sign of wanting attention eg. wanting to be stroked or given treats. If more forceful & with some nipping, may indicate the rabbit wants to be left alone or for any action to stop.


Placing Head on the Ground

Sign of submission. Can also be a request for grooming and/or stroking.

Pulling Out Fur

Can be a sign of boredom. Fur is pulled from the chest & stomach. Does can do this during a pseudopregnancy as they use the fur to build a nest.

Rolling Over onto Side or Back

Totally relaxed & happy.




Occurs only when in absolute fear of death, or extreme pain eg. when caught by a predator.


Scut Wagging

Most likely a sign of nervousness or excitement. Can be seen occaisionally eg. when anticipating a treat, during bonding, when spraying, when being playful or binkying.



Often heard from the female before & after mounting. Occurs when the rabbit is agitated & sensitive. Best is to leave it alone.


Performed to mark territory-Both bucks and does can spray. Uncastrated bucks spray strong smelling urine. This ends with the castration. If the doe sprays often, can indicate a mutation in the uterus. See a vet if this is the case. Consider spaying.



Through sniffing rabbits can learn a lot about their environment. When they smell the faeces of another rabbit, they can learn that rabbit’s gender & age.

Teeth Grinding

Heavy grinding is a sign of feeling pain and/or unwell.

Light & short grinding indicates happiness & comfort.


Tensed-up Posture

A sign of fear. Do not interfere. Wait until in a relaxed state. Can also be a sign of pain. When displayed, the cause must be persued.


Used to alert of a predator. Can also be used when annoyed or to show dissatisfaction.

Upright Scut

Sign of dominance or intent to urinate.

Yawning & Stretching

Loosens the muscles & often displayed after napping.