When rabbits are overflowing with joy…
It’s such an adorable sight to behold.
However, they’re usually timid so they mostly give subtle signs.
These things are easy to miss if you’re not being attentive.
So if you want to know whether you have a happy bunny at home…
Read on to discover:
- 19 clear signs that you have a happy rabbit.
- How to tell if they’re stressed or gloomy instead.
- The different sounds they make when in a good mood.
- What you should look for in their ears, body, and nose.
- And a lot more…
How to tell if your rabbit is happy?
You can tell if your rabbit is happy if they’re playful. They’ll nudge or headbutt you, explore, circle your feet, binky, and zoom around. If they’re content, they’ll also have a relaxed body, eat and sleep well, twitch their nose, and flop over. But, they can make several noises too, like purring.
19 signs that your rabbit is happy
#1: ‘The Bunny 500’
Does your rabbit suddenly dash around the room like crazy?
They run at least 4 laps in a row, jump over the couch, and hide underneath the table.
And do all these on repeat?
Trust me, it’s not a rabbit glitch.
I think you’ve just witnessed a happy fur baby zooming around which is also known as ‘The Bunny 500.’
Rabbits do this when they’re in high spirits. Like when they’re anticipating food or having fun with you.
Interesting fact: Do you wonder how fast can a rabbit run? According to Merck Vets, it’s 35 to 45 mi per hour (56 to 72 km per hour) for some bunnies. Plus, they have strong rear legs. And these allow them to hop effortlessly.
Another clear sign of happiness is when your rabbit starts doing the ‘binky.’
“What is it?”
You might have seen this already in your little bun.
It’s when they jump on all fours in the air.
Then twist their head and body a little bit. Which is also accompanied by ear twitching.
Like the Bunny 500, they also do this when they’re on cloud nine. And that one I described above is called a ‘full binky.’
But when a rabbit only does the flicking of the head and wiggling of ears, it’s only considered as a ‘half binky.’
A bunny can do either of those depending on their preference. And both of them express the same amount of joy.
So a half binky doesn’t necessarily mean that a rabbit is less happy.
This is a normal behavior in bunnies. So it’s not something to worry about.
Warning: However, if your rabbit suddenly tilts their head and it doesn’t return to their original state quickly, there might be a problem with their ears. Say, due to an infection or mites.
Interesting fact: Rabbits are small but incredible creatures. The National Geographic says that they can hop as high as 35.4 in (90 cm) at once.
#3: Headbutting you
“Hey hooman, let’s go!
I’m in the mood for some fun playtime right now!”
Do you have a bunny who often bumps you with their head?
If yes, it could also mean that they’re happy to be with you.
Usually, headbutting is a playful behavior. So rabbits do this when they’re inviting their humans to play with them.
Most kits or young bunnies may always do this due to their high energy levels at their age.
However, even if you have an adult rabbit at home, you can still witness this adorable behavior.
Don’t forget to check out: Why does my rabbit headbutt me?
#4: Nudging you with their nose
“I’m now demanding you to look at me.
And might as well, give me some scratches.”
Similar to headbutts, nudges can also indicate joy in rabbits.
Let’s say you’re petting your bunny. But then you suddenly stop.
If your rabbit bumps you with their nose a few times, they’re likely asking you to stroke them more.
And it’s because they like what you’re doing and they love being around you.
Now, here’s one more common scenario.
For example, you’re just sitting still on the couch. But then, your bunny nudges you out of nowhere and runs away like a mischievous kid.
If they do this, it looks like they’re only inviting you to play and chase them around.
(One reminder, rabbits get scared quite easily. So if you’re going to follow them, move slowly. And don’t act intimidating.)
In some cases, nudging you might also mean, “Excuse me” or “Get out of the way!” if you’re blocking their path.
As well as “Stop what you’re doing!” if your bunny is unhappy with the petting session.
#5: Having a relaxed body
Aside from their actions, you can also tell if a rabbit is happy based on their posture alone.
As I said before, bunnies get easily startled. So if they’re nervous or gloomy, they’ll look stiff and tense.
So, how do you know if a rabbit is relaxed?
Imagine a bunny who’s only chilling out without any stress.
- Lie down quietly.
- Sprawl and extend their legs.
- Sit like a bunny loaf (with limbs under their body).
- Have neutral ears (not flattened to the back or raised stiffly).
“What about if a rabbit is unhappy?”
If they’re stressed or scared, they’ll crouch instead or press their body close to the floor.
While others will freeze as they’re trying to get more information in their surroundings.
You might also like: 13 Things Rabbits Do When They Are Scared (Behavior)
“Aaahh. What a great day to be alive!
*plops down to the ground*”
Does your bunny often stop and fall over on their side all of a sudden?
Like a dog who’s playing dead?
Well, don’t worry.
If your rabbit is acting just fine throughout the day, they’re not having an attack or whatsoever.
“So, why do they do it?”
This only means that they’re completely comfortable and happy in their environment.
Think about it.
If they feel insecure in their surroundings, they’ll always be on high alert.
They would never think of lying down in such a vulnerable position.
So if your rabbit does this, props to you for making them feel secured in your hands. 🙂
Note: Keep in mind that casually flopping on the floor is different than collapsing. The latter is a sign of an illness. And usually, rabbits who experience this will lose their appetite at first. So if your bunny shows other symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your vet.
Your bunny can’t stop sniffing and hopping around. Like they’re on some kind of an exciting adventure.
“Why are they doing this?”
Rabbits are innately curious.
But, they’re timid as well.
So experts say that this trait will only be heightened if they’re content and safe in their homes.
This is because if they’re unhappy, they’ll often run and hide instead.
That’s why if your bunny always explores, congratulations!
You have a happy and healthy rabbit. And this makes them investigate around with no fear.
Note: If you’re curious about what they look like while doing this, check their ears. These will likely face and tilt forward like a ‘baseball cap.’ And they do this to hear better.
#8: Nose twitching
Besides their ears, you should also look at your bunny’s little nose.
If it’s wiggling, they’re likely relaxed and happy as well.
“When do they do this?”
You may notice this when your rabbit is excited and curious.
Say, if they see you opening a jar of treats. Or if they’re investigating something in the room.
But apart from expressing joy, nose twitching also has other purposes in bunnies.
And they’re as follows:
- To smell better.
- To breathe comfortably.
- To adjust their body temperature.
However, sometimes, this could also be an indicator that a rabbit is:
In this case, a rabbit will have a stiff body or be in a hunched position instead while twitching their nose.
And this is what makes them different from a happy bunny.
Interesting fact: How does twitching their nose help rabbits to smell better? Vets say that by doing this, they’re exposing their scent receptors. So the quicker they do it, the more odors they’ll detect. A-ha!
#9: Grooming themselves
Do you have a bunny who’s calmly licking themselves?
If so, experts point out that it’s also a sign of contentment.
They explained it like this.
They say that rabbits will only start grooming themselves if they feel safe. And it totally makes sense.
This is because if they’re scared, they’ll not put their guard down and lick themselves.
So if your bunny often does this around you, it means that they’re comfortable and happy in your company.
Note: But if your rabbit grooms excessively, there might be something wrong. They can be itchy all over their body. Or they’re stressed and it’s their way to cope up.
#10: Licking you
Do you ever wonder how rabbits show their affection to humans?
Well, it’s similar to how they show love to other bunnies.
“What is it?”
They lick them a lot!
It’s like their own version of kisses. And aside from displaying affection, they can also do this when they’re excited.
You might often witness this when you’re giving them a nice massage.
They’ll be playful and lick you happily.
If your rabbit does this, they’re only giving back the love they receive from you.
And they’re also telling you,
“Thank you so much for the fantastic ear rubs, hooman.
You’re the best! Let me smother you with kisses ’cause you deserve it!”
Continue reading: 15 Surprising Reasons Why Your Rabbit (Always) Licks You
#11: Eating well
Like us, having a good appetite is also a sign of a healthy rabbit.
So if your bunny eats well, they’re likely fine and content.
This is because if they’re sick or stressed, they may refuse to eat and drink.
Unlike other animals, skipping a meal is considered a serious issue in rabbits.
PDSA says that bunnies need to eat from time to time to keep their stomach moving. And also, to avoid it from slowing down.
Because if this happens, it can lead to life-threatening conditions. Such as dehydration, liver disease, and gut stasis.
#12: Being active
A happy bunny is also an active one.
They’ll explore, play with you and other rabbits, and do the usual things they love.
So if your rabbit is always in high spirits, put your mind at ease.
Note: On the other hand, a lonely bunny will become withdrawn. They’ll lose interest in activities they used to enjoy before.
#13: Having a regular sleeping pattern
On average, rabbits usually sleep for around 6 to 8 hours a day. (Same with us!)
They’re crepuscular too, based on research.
This is why you’ll often see them dozing off during the day. And they’ll be more playful at dusk and dawn.
So if your bunny sleeps fine every day…
It’s also a sign that they’re happy and comfortable in their environment.
This is because if they feel the opposite, there would be changes in their sleeping cycle. Plus, they’ll be tense and restless all day.
#14: Circling your feet
Does your bunny rush to you and circle your feet?
If this is a common scenario after you arrive home, they’re only greeting you excitedly.
Your rabbit likes you and they’re ecstatic to see you. To the point where they couldn’t control their body anymore. So they keep on circling around your feet.
And since this is also an attention-seeking behavior, they might want to play with you as well.
So get their favorite toy. Then invite them for some rounds of reverse fetch.
Also, your bunny may do this while you’re preparing their food as well.
They’re looking forward to their meal. And they celebrate it with a little dance.
Note: Did you know that this circling is also a mating ritual in rabbits? Experts say that this is often seen in intact bunnies.
And it usually comes along with…
I know, if you haven’t heard a rabbit do this, it might be quite surprising.
At first, you would think that they’re choking. Or having difficulty in breathing.
But if they seem fine overall, you’ve got nothing to worry about as it’s normal.
So yes, bunnies can also produce those ‘oink’ or ‘goose honk’ sounds when they like to mate.
However, if your rabbit is doing this to you, it’s likely an indicator of:
They could be in the mood to play, snuggle, and eat some treats. So they’re grabbing your attention by honking.
Rabbits are usually silent.
This is why some people might prefer them over dogs.
Well, for most parts, it’s true. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t create any sounds at all.
Apart from using their bodies…
They also produce noises to communicate with us and other bunnies.
And we’ve already talked about one earlier (honking).
But, there are many more sounds you should watch out for.
One of these is purring.
“Is it the same with a cat’s?”
The reason is similar.
They both do it when they’re content.
But, a rabbit’s purr is softer. And instead of using their throats, bunnies create the sounds by clicking their teeth.
In a study about felines, 81% of the 104 cats purred while being petted.
While 90% also purred when they’re in their homes. And they did it less (54%) when they’re at another place like a veterinary clinic.
Like cats, rabbits can also purr when they’re distressed
Felines purr when they’re stressed or in pain. And it’s also the same for bunnies.
“How can I tell if my rabbit does it out of joy or not?”
The volume and intensity of the purring will be different. So listen closely.
An unhappy rabbit will click their teeth loudly. While a content one will purr softly.
Another sound that a happy rabbit makes is a quiet chirrup.
Yup. Bunnies may also cluck like a chicken when they’re satisfied.
So you can hear this when your rabbit is:
- Being stroked.
Although the noise that a bunny makes is very different. It’s shorter, lower in pitch, and softer.
If you still haven’t heard one, here’s a short clip of a clucking rabbit (with honking too!):
Letting out a deep sigh means tiredness or disappointment in the human world.
But did you know that it’s the other way around in rabbits?
When they’re content, bunnies may emit a huge sigh. Say, when they’re peacefully sleeping on your lap or in their cage.
Note: However, if you did something that they don’t like, they might also sigh due to frustration. Like when you pick them up abruptly or disturb them in their hutch.
Last but not least, you’d also hear your rabbit hum when they’re delighted.
But no, they’re not singing a tune or anything.
If I’m going to describe it, the sound they’ll make is like a buzzing bee.
However, based on specialists, they don’t only do this when they’re in a good mood.
Oftentimes, bunnies do this when they see potential mates too.
This behavior is mainly observed in bucks or male rabbits. And they hum to be noticed by a doe or female bunny.
Interesting fact: Studies say that bunnies can start breeding when they’re already 75% to 80% of their size. This will vary per type and gender. So to check your rabbit’s, here’s a detailed table:
|Small||6 months||5 months|
|Medium||7 months||6 months|
|Large||9 months||8 months|