Rabbits Small Pets

Understanding Rabbit Behavior and Body Language

Understanding Rabbit Behavior and Body Language
Written by Arlene S. Lane

What Different Rabbit Behavior Mean?

Rabbits are one of the most unique pets and understanding rabbit behavior is one the most daunting tasks even for the pet owner who own them for a year sometimes. This is the reason why every pet owner should spend some time searching for a guide to rabbit behaviors. Though not every pet bunny is the same, still there are several things that one may notice might be common among all animals.

With that being said, did you ever wonder why the rabbit behavior is like this for no reason (or is that?), or do you always want to know rabbit behavior signs such as why they are hoping in the room as fast as they can? Well, there is much to know about rabbit behaviours. If you already own a pet rabbit and want to know about its behavior to be a good pet owner then this rabbit care guide would greatly be helpful for you.

Understanding Rabbit Behavior

Following is our list of noticeable rabbit behaviors that will help you to understand your pet rabbit.

A Binky Rabbit Behavior

While observing bunnies body language you may have seen them crazily jumping and twisting in the mid-air. You will surely be surprised to see them doing this, aren’t you? Well, if you ever watch them doing it then this is one of the happy rabbit behaviour signs. This is called binky and this happens when your pet rabbits are really happy.

If they are not in the cage then they will be just binking around the room which will indicate that they are so happy that it is hard to contain for them their energy. Even if your pet bunny behaviors isn’t as high energy and it is much like a mini binky like short hops and jumps where they will not land on the floor all the way and does just a little twist then it will still be their happy condition.

Butt Twitching

This is a situation when the rabbits will start to twitch their butts and it would happen when they get a tasty treat. The butt twitching will be too fast that they will look vibrating. This is one of those rabbit behavior signs which shows they are happy. This also means that the rabbit is extremely happy and enjoying its treats. Though these aren’t those common bunny behaviors to be observed in domestic rabbits still they can be observed in shelter rabbits.

Alert Rabbit Behavior

While observing bunnies body language, if one of the bunny has forwarded ears and looking around intensely in a particular direction then this simply means they are highly alert. They might be standing on their hind legs or you may notice them standing on the ground with all four feet. You can easily spot them as this is a behavior similar to cats and dogs.

This is one of those bunny behaviors among your pet rabbits is an indicator that they are sensing some danger. However, they sometimes will just randomly go into an alert mood. They have big ears for this reason and this is why they can hear sounds from a greater distance. This is even possible when you cannot hear. Some animals such as dogs and rabbits have a great sense of hearing that they can detect sounds that humans can not.

Cautious Actions

One of the essential parts of any animal belonging to the wild even when domesticated such as rabbits are being cautious. While observing bunnies body language, you may find them slowly walking on their tips while their ears are forwarded and their tail is down. This pet rabbits behavior will be an indicator that they are cautious. You may also notice pauses a lot to look and listen.

They will stretch out as far as possible while their back feet will stay in the same place. In this position, they are ready to go back by making a dash just in case they get scared. This is one of the most common pet rabbits behavior. You will notice this behavior more commonly when they are going to enter a new room, new environment, or cage. Also, you can notice this behavior among the rabbits when they will find a new object such as toys near them.

Rabbit Biting Or Nipping 

Another common rabbit behavior is nipping or biting rabbits. A nip is more gentle than a bite. If this happens then this means that they are seeking your attention or asking you politely to move away if they find you in their way. Don’t worry, this isn’t rabbit behavior signs that indicate their anger or hate. However, if your pet rabbit bites you, there can be several reasons, such as surprising him by grabbing them, then he will surely bite you. He may also bite your pent leg but it is highly unlikely that they will do it on a purpose.

Also, they cannot see upward clearly so they might consider your finger a portion of food or predator and may bite you for this reason. You can put a stop to such pet rabbits behavior by making a shrill cry every time they bite you. Remember that rabbits will do this when they are hurt. Since they don’t really hurt their owner so they will be surprised that you have cried out and will usually stop the behavior after a few times.

Chin rubbing

If you observe bunnies body language then you may find them rubbing their chin against the leg of the table or corner of the wall and they will be claiming it as territory. This is their way of claiming that this is their territory. Rabbits have scent glands under their chins and when they are doing it they are spreading their scent around.

If there will be any other rabbits coming to this area then they will know that the space is already occupied or claimed. You are most likely to observe such bunny behaviors when they will be exploring a new place. Even they might do with your clothes as well just to smell any scent of other animals.

Cold Shoulder

Do you know your cute bunny can hold anger and grudge? Well, they are animals and they do get angry sometimes. If there is anything done by you that is upsetting them then they will not interact with you like the way they used to for a little while. This is their way of telling you that they didn’t like your actions or they were disappointed with you. They will intentionally sit with their butts on the ground and facing against you. This is known as the cold shoulder.

This isn’t too alarming for rabbit behaviours as rabbits are the kinds of pets that require much attention from their owner. After a little while, they will just be ok with you. You can observe pet rabbits’ behavior especially when you are giving them medicine. They may not even accept a treat just to make sure that you should know that they are angry. Give them some time and space and wait patiently. They will be fine after a while.


A curious bunnys body language is similar to the cautious one. In fact, these two behaviors go hand in hand. Because a curious rabbit will also be cautious as well. When a rabbit will be curious then it will try to come closer to its object of interest and interact with it. You can observe their bunnies body language when they will enter a new environment. Or someone who they haven’t seen is close to them. Their nose will be acting faster as they will be sniffing everything they come close to.


If you ever witnessed your pet rabbit circling around your feet then this will be their way of showing excitement and happiness. A number of times, rabbits will be making sounds like “oinking” when they are doing it. Such rabbit behaviour signs are their way of shouting trust, love, and happiness toward their owner. Also, you can observe such rabbit behavior when they are looking for a treat from you. They will also do it when they will smell a tasty treat from you too. If you are doing it regularly then you are going to observe this behavior as soon as you will enter the home.


Some animals have natural instinct to control their ever-growing parts which are mostly nails and teeth. Rabbits are also one of them. They will chew on everything because of their ever-growing teeth. From furniture to broomsticks, clothing, and anything that they will get in touch with. This is one of the most frustrating rabbit behavior especially when you didn’t put them in a cage as they will destroy or at least damage a bunch of expensive wooden and paper items.

This is why you will need to rabbit-proof your house. You will need to secure everything that you don’t want the bunnies to chew. You can get then some best toys for rabbits. There are some rabbit chew toys that can greatly be helpful in keeping their teeth trimmed while saving your furniture. 


This rabbit behavior is easy to observe when they are in a familiar environment with the faces they know. They will look more relaxed. Their rabbits will be resting on their back. Though not flat and not so stretched back. They will have relaxed bodies. Their noses will not be twitching too fast. This is common rabbit behavior when a rabbit is fine in their environment.

This would be the default bunnies’ body language. This also means that they don’t have any problems with their environment. They don’t have any problems or fear when something attacks them.

Bottom Line

Rabbits are unique pets and they will look good when they are happy and calm. You will need to understand pet rabbits’ behavior while spending time with them. This is the best way to take care of your pet rabbits and become a good pet owner. For more pet care guides keep browsing our blog.

About the author

Arlene S. Lane

Arlene S. Lane is a veterinary technician and hospital manager with over 12 years of experience. Arlene has been contributed expert content to The Pet's Rise for over 10 years.
Arlene has worked in veterinary medicine since 2017. Arlene's veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration.

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