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Rabbit Behavior

Download Rabbit Care Guide – PDF

Bunny Hop/Dance/Flop

A sign of pure joy and happiness; this “dancing” includes leaping and/or spinning in the air, racing around, etc. A bunny flop is very comical and indicates a contented – and tired – bunny.


Rabbits rub their chins (which contain scent glands) on items to get their scent on them. This indicates that the items belong to them and also defines their territory. The scent is undetectable to humans.

Thumping or Stomping

Bunny is frightened, mad, or sensing danger (real or imagined).

Teeth Grinding

Soft grinding indicates contentment and is usually heard when petting the rabbit. Loud grinding can indicate pain and is usually heard during an illness. Loud tooth grinding requires attention from a rabbit veterinarian.

Circling Your Feet

Usually indicates sexual behavior (even when neutered) but basically means, “I love you.”


Rabbits like to push or toss object around. They may also race madly around the house, jump on and off the couch, and act like a child that has had too much sugar. Rabbits love toys and will play for hours with a favorite toy.


Usually angry – when bunny feels threatened; sometimes followed by a nip or bite.


Un-neutered males will mark female rabbits and their territory in this manner. Un-spayed females can also spray.

Territorial Droppings

Droppings that are not in a pile, but scattered, are a sign that this territory belongs to the rabbit. This will sometimes occur upon entering a new environment or if another rabbit is brought into the house, and may be temporary or ongoing. Droppings in piles indicate that the rabbit needs more litter box training.

Don’t Touch My Stuff

Some rabbits do not like when you rearrange their cage as you clean and may grunt, charge or even nip you when you try. They are creatures of habit and once they get things just right, they like them to remain that way.

Shrill Scream

Hurt or dying. Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention.

False Pregnancy

Even though a rabbit may not be pregnant, un-spayed females may sometimes build a nest and pull hair from their chest and stomach to line the nest. They may even stop eating as usually occurs the day before they give birth.


A nip is gentler than a bite. Bunnies will nip to get your attention, or to politely ask you to move out of their way. Bites are harder. Rabbits usually do not bite, but if one does, it must be stopped immediately. If a rabbit bites, it is usually not because it hates you, there are many reasons within a rabbit’s social structure that bring about a bite. A rabbit may also accidentally bite while tugging at your pant leg. Whatever the reason, if you get bit, you must immediately let out a shrill cry. Rabbits do this when they are hurt. Since they usually do not intend to hurt you, they will be surprised that you have cried out and will usually stop the behavior after a few times.