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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Kumpulainen

How to read your Rabbits mind?

Even tough bunnies and rabbits don't "talk" they-like other animals are constantly talking with their body language. You can learn a lot about your adorable friend jsut by spending time observing them.

Here are a few ways of reading your bunny's body language:

If the basics are covered: Such as a secure and comfortable cage where your rabbit also has a chance to hide, the correct diet and the right company, your rabbits should be happy most of the time unless something is bothering them. There are some clear indicators in your rabbits’ body language which can help you recognise if they are feeling happy:

  • Relaxed body. Your rabbits won’t look tense when they are happy. Their bodies will look relaxed and comfortable and they won’t seem on edge. There are lots of ways your rabbit might show they are relaxed, usually when lying down. They might sit with their legs tucked under their bodies (like a little rabbit loaf!), or lie down completely stretched out.

  • Curiosity. Rabbits who are hopping around, exploring their environment and munching are happy bunnies! Even the shyest rabbits are naturally curious and when they feel safe they’ll want to explore new objects.

  • Happy hopping. When your rabbits are happy, you might notice them do a little ‘binky’. This is when they hop in the air, twist a little bit, then land back on the ground.

  • Nose twitching. Happy and content rabbits will be constantly wiggling and twitching their noses, whether they’re bouncing about or relaxing.

  • Stress in rabbits Rabbits can become worried or anxious if they’re put in a situation they don’t like or if they’re feeling unwell. Signs to look out for include:

  • Ears. Your rabbits’ ears are a big giveaway as to how they are feeling. If they flatten their ears tightly against their body, this could mean that they are feeling stressed or anxious.

  • Tense and ‘down’ body. Rabbits will usually tense up if they are stressed or worried. They might go into a crouched position, or flatten themselves against the ground – like they’re trying not to be seen, but are also ready to run if they need to. You’ll notice a split-second version of this if your rabbits are startled by a loud noise and freeze, but if they seem immobilised this is a really strong sign they’re unhappy.

  • Lack of nose twitching. If your rabbits look tucked up and quiet with their chins tucked in and noses not twitching this can be a sure sign of them feeling unhappy or stressed, as this is not a normal position for a rabbit.

  • Moving or running away. Your rabbits may turn and move away from you (or each other) if they’re unhappy. Sometimes chasing each other is a form of play, but sometimes a rabbit will be trying to get away from the other or from you, so watch for other signs of happiness or unhappiness to judge which it is.

  • Hiding. Worried and scared rabbits will hide away a lot. If you notice your rabbits hiding, don’t try to move them. Instead, make sure they have space to come out when they feel ready. to get them out pop a few of their favourite snacks out to see if you lure them out.

  • Thumping. Thumping would originally have acted as warning to other bunnies nearby that there’s danger about. If your rabbits are unhappy or feel threatened by something they may thump the ground with their back legs and make lots of noise.

Your rabbits will show clear signs if they’re very unhappy and feel threatened enough to become aggressive because they’re so scared or worried. Signs to look out for include:

  • Tense and ‘up’ body. Rather than crouching and tensing, like a stressed or worried bunny, your rabbits may tense in a more aggressive stance if they’re unhappy. They might crouch and angle their head up, rather than having it flat against the floor.

  • Boxing. If they are sitting upright and their front paws are ‘boxing’ at you, they are likely very unhappy.

  • Vocalising. Rabbits don’t tend to make much noise and when they do it’s a sign they’re feeling very threatened. You may hear them grunting or growling and in extreme cases, they can scream.

  • Showing their front teeth. If they show you their teeth, this is an extreme sign of fear and a ‘final warning’.

Our pet sitters are always watching your pets body language when conducting pet visits here on Maui. Our pet sitter team pays attention to any signs of distress and they keep a straight line of communication through our pet care software to make sure pet owners are up to speed in how their bunny is doing. If you notice signs of distress in your rabbit, its always best to take it to the vet so that any physical condition that might be bothering them can be ruled out.

-Pet sitters- Maui, Hawaii

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