How to Read Your Rabbit’s Body Language

Part of the Rabbits For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Although your rabbit may make some sounds when communicating, bunnies do most of their “talking” with their body language. The following list can help you interpret what your rabbit is saying:

  • Hopping, leaping, and racing: “Whoopee! I’m happy!”

  • Binky-ing (a high jump, with vigorous twists): “I am incredibly happy!”

  • Kicking: If being held the wrong way, “Let go!” or, if playing, “What fun!”

  • Circling: “I’m in the mood for love.”

  • Flattening: “I don’t want you to see me.” A scared rabbit will lower herself to the ground as if to hide.

  • Stretching out (on side or back): “Ah, life is good. . . .”

  • Ear shaking: “I don’t like that.” Frequent ear shaking can be a sign of a medical problem and should be assessed by a veterinarian.

  • Head butting: “Hey!” A persistent rabbit will head-butt you when she wants something — petting, food, whatever.

  • Stomping: “Warning” or, maybe, “I’m annoyed.”

  • Biting: “I don’t like what you’re doing.” A gentle nip is a rabbit’s way of saying “I’ve had enough.” You’ll be able to tell the difference between a nip and a bite.

  • Sitting up tall: “I’m curious,” or “Is there trouble afoot?”

  • Licking: “I love you.”

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