Compared to a dog or cat, it’s harder to gain a rabbit’s trust.
They’re prey animals so they tend to live in fear.
But once you win their heart…
They’ll express their affection to you in many unusual ways.
So, how do bunnies show their love?
Read on to find out:
- 17 clear signs that your rabbit likes you.
- What it means if a bunny honks or clicks their teeth.
- The subtle things they do to show trust to their humans.
- How to know if a bunny enjoys being petted or picked up.
- And many more…
How to tell if your rabbit likes you?
If your rabbit likes you, they’ll leave their scent on your body. Either by rubbing their chin, spraying pee, or pooping on you. They’ll groom, headbutt, and nudge you a lot as well. To get some attention and cuddles. They may also stay and sleep beside you, circle your feet, binky, and zoom around.
17 ways to tell your rabbit likes you
#1: They often ‘chin’ you
Does your little bun love rubbing their chin on you?
It may look like they’re only itching. But trust me, it’s a clear sign that they’re fond of you.
In fact, if your rabbit does this, it means they like you so much that they’re even trying to ‘mark’ you as their own.
“Hold on. What do you mean?”
Your bunny isn’t trying to dominate your world.
It’s a normal behavior in rabbits and other animals, called ‘scent marking.’
“What is it?”
According to experts, rabbits have scent glands all over their bodies. And they also have these under their chins.
So, if a rabbit wants to ‘claim’ something, they’re going to rub their chins on it to leave their body scent.
Say, their cage, favorite toy, other rabbits, and even their beloved humans. (Yes, including you!)
Those glands release secretions that contain their unique odors.
And they’re used to convey messages to their own kind – like, “Sorry. This thing’s taken,” or “Keep off my property!”
So even if we smell the area that has been ‘chinned a hundred times…
We humans won’t detect it.
Interesting fact: Chinning is believed to be more common in bucks (males) than does (females). But, research shows that both of them do this at the same intensity. And they ‘chin’ more on objects that have been marked by other bunnies.
#2: They groom you a lot
First off, do you ever wonder why rabbits groom so much?
Well, aside from being clean, there are more positive meanings behind it.
Based on vets, when a rabbit starts grooming, it means that they feel at ease with their surroundings.
While the House Rabbit Society says that it’s a common interaction between rabbits.
“So, why do they do that?”
Licking is said to be a sign of affection.
When a bunny grooms another rabbit, it means that they’re bonding well. So you’ll usually notice this in bunny pairs.
Now you might ask,
What if a rabbit grooms a human?
Even if we’re not of the same kind, rabbits can also lick us out of love.
They’re doing the same thing because they see us as their family.
And if your bunny grooms you, they’re only saying that they like you a lot.
Also, does your rabbit lick you whenever you scratch their back (or their other sweet spots)?”
If so, they’re only giving back the love. And it could be interpreted as, “I love you. Thank you so much for the wonderful rubs.”
Continue reading: 15 Surprising Reasons Why Your Rabbit (Always) Licks You
#3: They nip at you all of a sudden
While grooming, rabbit pairs will also nip at each other.
This is called giving ‘love nips.’
And it’s observed in cats and dogs too as a way to express affection.
So if your bunny likes you, they’ll also nibble you gently while they’re grooming you.
Don’t worry. Like licking, nipping is also a part of the whole grooming session.
They don’t mean to harm you. And they also won’t bite your fingers off.
However, if your rabbit’s bites start to hurt more than usual, they might be upset or hungry.
For more nipping reasons…
Check out this article next: Why does my rabbit bite me?
#4: They love circling your feet
You’ll also know if your rabbit is happy to see you when they start circling your feet.
This is kinda similar to zoomies. Only that it’s done in circles or in eight figures (as they’re circling between your legs).
It’s a thing they usually do when they’re excited.
And it’s an effective way to get attention as well when they want to be petted.
So if your bunny likes you, they may also greet you at the door by circling your feet.
And if they do this, they’re likely desperate for some rubs too. So don’t hesitate and listen to your fur baby’s demands.
Note: You can also witness this before meal times as you prepare your rabbit’s food.
#5: They honk out of joy
“Wait. Rabbits honk?”
Well, it’s known that bunnies are usually silent most of the time.
This is why for those who want peaceful days in the house, a rabbit companion might be the better choice.
Bunnies aren’t completely mute.
They can also create many odd sounds when they feel intense emotions. Such as fright, pain, or excitement.
For example, rabbits will make grunting noises whenever they feel scared or unwell.
They’ll stomp their feet loudly when they’re annoyed or lonely.
And when rabbits are extremely happy, they may also start honking.
They’ll typically produce those ‘oink’ sounds while they’re circling.
So if you hear your bunny do this when they see you, it means that they’re so glad. And they also probably want you to play with them.
Did you know that honking and circling can also be a part of a rabbit’s mating ritual?
Yes. So, if you spot 2 bunnies of the opposite gender doing this, they might be in the middle of a courtship.
Vets say that bucks will usually follow does first for about 30 seconds. And they’ll also produce some weird sounds at the same time.
And if the female accepts the male, she will jump all over the area in circles. Then they’ll lie flat on the ground.
#6: They allow you to pet them
Most people may view all bunnies as little fluffy cuddlers.
It’s not entirely false.
However, in reality, not all rabbits enjoy being petted.
Some bunnies may also refuse to be lifted above the ground as it can be a scary experience for them.
To be okay with it, they’ll need to get used to it first. And they also have to be handled the right way to avoid causing fear.
So, if your bun lets you pet them…
Well, great job!
You’re doing great as a rabbit parent.
This is because it means that your bunny trusts you.
They’re confident enough around you so they allow you to stroke them.
And if they’re also calm while being held, this means they feel safe in your arms.
#7: They ‘purr’ when you stroke them
Yup. You’ve read it right.
Like cats, rabbits may also ‘purr’ when they’re happy and content.
So if your bunny likes you, I’m sure they’ve already done this. Especially when you pet them in their favorite areas.
And you may not know that it’s considered as ‘purring.’
“What does it sound like?”
A rabbit’s ‘purring’ is different from a cat’s.
It’s way softer so you can’t easily hear it unless you pay close attention to your bunny.
This is because felines use their vocal cords to produce the sounds.
While bunnies grind their teeth instead. So it’s also known as ‘tooth-clicking.’
Wanna hear what a rabbit purr sounds like in person?
Check out this adorable clip:
Note: A rabbit’s ‘purring’ doesn’t always mean something good. Because if their tooth-clicking gets louder, it could also mean that they’re in pain. So, listen to your bunny’s purring and watch their actions.
#8: They love sitting on your lap
Does your bunny often go to your lap and stay there for a while?
If so, it’s also an indicator of complete trust and affection.
Remember, rabbits are prey animals.
They tend to run as fast as they can to avoid getting caught. So it’s normal for them to feel uncomfortable when they’re being held or cuddled.
Even more so if they’re sitting on a person’s lap. As this could make them feel trapped.
So if your bunny climbs on you on their own, it’s definitely a good sign.
They trust you with their life. And they know they’re safe around you.
This is why they don’t mind hopping twice or thrice their height just to receive some lovin’ from their human.
Plus, it’s also likely that they have another agenda. And it’s either they want you to rub their backs or ears as well.
But mind you, ‘lap rabbits’ like this are usually hard to find.
Some bunnies have to be trained to do it. While others will choose to sit beside the person or on the floor instead.
So if you have one at your house, consider yourself as a lucky one! 🙂
Aside from affection, a rabbit climbing on you could mean other things too.
If you want to know more, read this article: Why does my rabbit climb on me?
#9: They headbutt you
Headbutts usually sound mean when it comes to our world.
But in bunnies, it mostly expresses positive emotions.
One of the reasons is that they’re happy to see them.
They’re so hyped up and they don’t know how to deal with their emotions.
So if your rabbit headbutts you when you come home, think of it as their way of greeting a loved one.
They could also do this as an invite to play while they’re in a good mood.
And your bunny may headbutt you as well when you stop petting them during a cuddle session.
They like you and they also enjoy what you’re doing. So they’re probably saying,
“Come on, hooman.
I demand you (using this tiny head of mine) to carry on with the fantastic rubs now!”
And this is the most common reason for this behavior in rabbits.
So just like the other signs above, also consider a head bump as a compliment from your furry friend.
#10: They nudge you
This is also another thing that rabbits do when they want to be petted.
And they’ll only do this to their favorite people.
Because again, most rabbits may shy away from cuddles. Especially aloof bunnies and those who are still adjusting to their new home.
This is why they won’t do this to people they’re uncomfortable with.
So if your bunny licks and nudges you…
They’re simply telling you that they’d love to receive some rubs at the moment.
Your rabbit is 100% fine with the physical touch. And they probably like and trust you as well.
So the next time they do this, get the hint.
Do what they say. And rub their head right away! 🙂
Note: In some cases, this could also mean they want the petting to stop. So take note of your rabbit’s body language as they nudge you. Then halt the cuddling session at once.
Based on PDSA, an angry bunny will:
- Have a stiff body.
- Expose their front teeth.
- Produce distressed sounds.
- Bring their front paws as if they’re ‘boxing’ you.
Don’t forget to check out: 8 Odd Reasons Why Your Rabbits Nudges You (What It Means)
#11: They sprawl beside you
Does your bunny suddenly lay flat on the floor like they were knocked down by someone?
And do they also love doing it right next to you?
If so, be happy!
This is because it’s a clear sign of trust from your beloved rabbit.
“Wait. Why’s that?”
At glance, it may seem like your bunny is only taking a nap. Or they’re not interested in you at all…
But, they could also be expressing contentment and comfortability instead.
Well, think about it.
If your bunny is uncomfortable with you, they’ll always be on high alert.
They won’t sprawl out like that and expose their vulnerable parts to you. Say, their belly or back.
And they’ll not choose to lie down near you as well.
So in short…
Flopping down means that your rabbit feels safe and comfortable
Both with you and the environment.
They’re confident that you won’t do any harm to them. And they’re also relaxed in your presence and their surroundings.
So they won’t do this to strangers or people they don’t like.
#12: They like hanging out with you
Does your fur baby always keep you company?
Because another way to tell if your rabbit likes you is if they enjoy spending time with you.
This could be as simple as chilling out close to you for hours. Like when you’re watching Netflix on the couch or bed.
They may have done other things during that time. Such as munching on cardboard boxes or playing with their toys.
But instead, they chose to go near you and spend those hours together.
So be flattered as your bunny clearly loves you.
You’ll also know if they’re comfortable with you if they doze off while hanging out.
This is because like flopping down, it means that they feel secured with you as well.
They’re way too relaxed in your presence. To the point where they can sleep soundly.
#13: They follow you everywhere
I’m sure you’ve seen dogs who are clingy to their parents.
They’ll follow their humans anywhere they go. This is because they want to be by their side most of the time.
Some hounds may do this due to anxiety issues.
While others might have only developed a strong attachment to their parents.
So, if your rabbit tends to act like a (needy) dog, they can also be fond of you.
They’re like a shadow who always tag along with you inside the house. And this is because they feel happy and safe around you.
This could also be their way to grab your attention. Say, if they’re hungry or in a mood for some playtime.
#14: They’re ‘binkying’ around you
When you arrive home, what other things does your bunny usually do?
Are they doing some twisty jumps too?
If so, it’s also a sign that they like you a lot.
So don’t worry.
Your rabbit is completely fine and they’re not having panic attacks.
It’s just that they’re so excited to see you. That’s why they can’t contain themselves anymore.
They’re overflowing with happiness at the moment. So they jump crazily in the air.
By the way, if you’re not yet familiar with it…
What they’re doing is called ‘binkying.’
In simpler terms, a ‘binky’ is a jump out of joy.
Rabbits do this when they’re overly excited or energetic. So they could also ‘binky’ when they see food or if their energy level is at its highest.
And the latter usually happens during early mornings and evenings.
This is because studies reveal that rabbits are crepuscular beings. Meaning, they’re most active around dusk and dawn.
If you’ve already witnessed a ‘binky-spree’ in person, you can attest that it’s one of the cutest things on Earth.
Interesting fact: Do wild rabbits also do binkies? Well, yes. There’s no certain study about this yet. But, you’ll see many videos on YouTube showing that wild bunnies also do it. Although they may not do the binkies as often as pet rabbits.
#15: They show you some zoomies
This usually comes along with the binkies.
If your rabbit likes you and they’re also thrilled to see you, they’ll not only jump nonstop.
But they’ll dash around the room too like they’re being chased.
“So, what do zoomies mean?”
Bunnies do this when they’re full of life.
So if your rabbit zooms when you arrive home, it only means that they’re happy to see you.
And they can’t just sit still and wait for you to come to them. So they may have the urge to dash around and shed their excess energy.
Same with binkies, rabbits may also do zoomies early in the morning. As well as in the evenings when they have sudden bursts of energy.
Note: This might be more common in young bunnies. As their energies are still high in that age. But, older rabbits can do this as well. However, it’s likely that they’ll only complete 1 to 2 laps.
#16: They spray on you
Do you still remember the ‘chinning’ behavior I mentioned earlier?
Okay. Short recap.
Rabbits will rub their chins on things (as well as people!) they claim. And this is because they have scent glands under those areas.
So, if their chins made contact with an object, they’ll be able to leave some of their scent on it. And it’ll be picked up by other bunnies or animals.
Now, aside from this, rabbits can also ‘scent-mark’ using their other bodily secretions.
And I’m talking about their pee and poop here.
But, let’s talk about urine first.
According to experts, urine spraying is a territorial instinct in rabbits.
This behavior is done by both wild and pet bunnies. But it’s more common in intact rabbits – especially males.
They do it to mark their properties with their scent.
So if your intact bunny sees you as their favorite person or an important resource in their life…
They wouldn’t hesitate to spray you with their love – only that’s in the form of a stinky pee.
“Why do rabbits use their pee to mark?”
Same with chin gland secretions, their urine also contains their unique odor.
It has substances called ‘pheromones.’
Researchers say that these are like ‘silent letters.’
As the messages can only be perceived by their own kind.
They incite a particular response from other bunnies. And they also hold important information about the owner, like their:
So if rabbits smell another bunnies’ pee, they’ll be able to tell who did it.
Interesting fact: A study has found that rabbits have different reactions to bodily secretions. Like from their chin glands, urine, and stools. They acted differently when they sniff other bunnies’ scent. Compared to when they smelled their own odor.
And this proves that rabbits indeed have ‘silent messages’ in their secretions. Which help them communicate indirectly.
Reading recommendation: What Does Rabbit Spray Look Like? (Color + What It Means)
#17: They leave some ‘smelly treasures’ for you
Last but not least, if your bunny is fond of you, they might also leave some deposits.
Not of money nor gold…
But of smelly stools!
As I discussed before, pee contains pheromones that animals like rabbits use. To claim territories and leave messages to others.
And the same goes for their poop.
They’ll do it to a person they like.
So during cuddle time, you may notice that your bunny dispenses some ‘cocoa balls’ as well.
Like tiny presents specially made for you.
Further reading: Why does my rabbit poop on me?