All About Rabbit Behavior

To truly appreciate your pet and be able to interact with them to the fullest extent possible, you must understand as much as possible about their behavior. Rabbits are no exception to this concept and they too require an owners understanding of their behavior.

The way we view rabbits is not exactly how they truly are. They are so furry and cute that we often think only about their cuddle factor and not about other aspects of their behavior. This can lead to misunderstandings and problems. Rabbits can't be treated like a dog or cat. Their understanding and interaction with humans is based almost entirely off of body language and tone of voice; words mean very little and rabbits hardly ever respond to commands. Understanding this will help you communicate with your rabbit and enjoy their characteristics more.

Rabbits are prey rather than predators like dogs and cats. Therefore they behave very differently. For protection they live in large communities called warrens. A distinct hierarchy is established within these warrens and the members are highly protective of their territory
Rabbits exhibit several behaviors that may mean different things at different times. For example:
  • Grunts usually mean the rabbit is angry or scared. Be careful lest you be bitten.
  • Sniffing can signal an annoyed rabbit or also that he is trying to communicate with you.
  • High pitched screams mean the rabbit is in pain or thinks it is about to be killed.
  • A circling rabbit can either indicate a courtship ritual or aggression. If the ears are laid back it probably means aggression.
  • Chewing is a natural rabbit behavior necessary to keep their teeth ground down and doesn't mean they are nervous.
  • Male rabbits will mark their territory by spraying, much like a male cat.
  • If you notice a rabbit rubbing its chin on something, it is using scent glands to mark things that they are possessive of.
  • If you notice a female rabbit pulling hair from her chest, it probably means she is pregnant and is building a nest.
  • If your rabbit is jumping and twisting wildly relax, they are just playing.
  • Standing on hind legs is a sign of begging. Rabbits are notorious for this and can quickly get fat if you give in too often.
  • Occasionally rabbits will scatter their droppings around to mark territory.
  • A rabbit that just falls onto their side like they are dead is a happy, relaxed rabbit.
  • Rabbits don't like having their things bother and will often seem agitated when you clean their cages. They'll spend hours rearranging things to their liking afterwards.
  • If a rabbit is stomping their hind legs they are either frightened or mad. Find out what's bothering him.
Rabbits make good pets because of their interesting and quirky personalities. Learning a few of their behaviors can help you understand what your pet rabbit is feeling and allow you to better care for it and interact with it.

This article was provided by Josh Hall of, where you can find the Garmin Astro and Tri-tronics products.