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9 Surprising Reasons Why Rabbits Wag Their Tail (2023)

Rabbit Tail Wagging

Have you ever felt surprised when a rabbit’s tail suddenly wags during your bonding time?

Their nubbed, bushy tails can move side by side, much like a dog’s.

It’s a scene worth recording, so keep your camera ready just in case.

“What does it mean if rabbits wag their tails, though?”

Keep reading to learn about:

  • 9 reasons for tail wagging.
  • The different emotions rabbits display through their tails.
  • Whether rabbits wag their tails when they want to interact.
  • And so much more…

Why do rabbits wag their tail?

Rabbits wag their tails to show disapproval. Depending on the circumstance, your rabbit might be feeling agitated, rebellious, or unimpressed. The moment the tail flickers, evaluate the situation to get a better understanding of why your rabbit did that.

9 reasons why rabbits wag their tail

#1: Defiance

Your rabbit can feel a wide range of emotions. 

They can’t make as many sounds as cats or dogs. But, once the tail wags, you’re probably in trouble with your furry friend.

Remember Snowball, the rabbit from The Secret Life of Pets movie?

He’s the perfect representation of the word defiance.

Just like him, your adorable companion can become unruly.

Just think of it this way.

You took your rabbit out so they could enjoy running around.

When the time is over, they have to be placed back in their run. The tail may wag vigorously to show their disapproval.

Bunnies are like spoiled kids, sometimes. 

It’s their way or the highway.

Are you able to ignore their demands, or will you end up giving in to their silly antics?

#2: To protest

Nothing is a cuter protester than a rabbit.

Forget about the banners. Their tail is enough to send a message.

Now, the exact reason why your rabbit is feeling this way depends on the situation.

Did you shorten his playtime? 

Are you making him continue his training lessons?

Watch out. Tail wagging during these moments is sort of his way of talking back at you.

“Is it normal?”

It is. They’re like kids who are not keen on doing their homework despite their moms telling them to do so. 

Or when the sink is piled up with dirty dishes and they refuse to wash them. 

Your rabbit friend can be unreasonable at times. They sure do find their tail useful in getting their thoughts across. 

You might be also interested in: Why does my rabbit stare at me?

#3: Act of unhappiness

Rabbits Wag Their Tail As An Act Of Unhappiness

There’s no sugar-coating when it comes to your rabbit.

They’ll let you know how they feel. There’s no holding back.

“Is my rabbit capable of frowning?”

Definitely not. It’s their tail’s job to express their unhappiness.

“Why would my rabbit feel sad?”

The reasons could be that:

  • They’re feeling sick or injured.
  • Not being able to go out often.
  • Not receiving lots of your attention.
  • Getting separated from their partner.

RSPCA lays out body clues that would confirm your rabbit’s gloomy behavior. Watch out for these signs:

  • The teeth are showing.
  • The tail is about to pounce.
  • The weight shifts to the back.
  • They’re thumping, and the eyes are dilated.
  • Your rabbit retreats with their ears laid back.
  • A boxing stance shows with outward, upright ears.

Mind you. They can even play hard-to-get when you woo them back.

Start realizing if your rabbit’s unhappiness boils down to a lack of attention from you. 

Try to make it up with them like a persistent lover. 

Bunny treats will stop their tail from wiggling in no time.

You can give human food as rabbit snacks like bananas and apples. But never offer them chocolates. 

They’re a no-no as chocolates can lead to:

  • Dehydration.
  • Heart attack.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Respiratory failure.

Read more: 23 Reasons Why Rabbits Thump Their Feet (At Night) + 7 Tips

#4: Disobedience 

Rabbits can be quite a handful.

But is there anything to do? They’re only acting according to their nature.

These furry babies are wired to get naughty.

Mischief occurs in different moments.

Fill their bowl with fresh hay. Your rabbit will act impatiently.

If you say to them, “Not yet,”  the chances are that they’ll ignore your verbal command.

Plus, they will let out their most expressive weapon– their waving tail.

This is why bunnies should be trained.

They’re intelligent and capable of understanding how things should work.

Though they can act stubborn, you, as a rabbit parent, shouldn’t let it pass.

Consistently let them undergo essential rabbit drills. Along with this, make sure you establish authority.

Rabbits follow if you know how to lead.

#5: To interact

It’s perhaps not easy communicating with 2 large front teeth. Rabbits prefer to communicate with their tails, among others.

When their tail wags, it’s not a sign of greeting.

“Then what is it for?”

Full of mischief, your furry friend is up to annoy the others.

It’s almost like their way of irritating the other rabbits. This usually doesn’t end up in a fight, though.

Tail wagging is a form of mockery, like a silly kid who’s sticking his tongue out.

The next time you socialize your fur-ball with another bunny, pay attention. 

At any moment, one of them will wag their tail. And the funny thing is, you know what that means. 

Fun fact: Rabbits may also communicate using their tail if they detect danger. The tip of the tail is raised so it is visible.

#6: Show contempt

It’s an understatement to say that rabbits are emotionally complex.

Your sulking romantic partner is no match for a rabbit who has shown contempt towards you.

“But why would my bunny disrespect me?”

Remember, rabbits can hold a grudge for hours, days, and longer.

It could be that you have accidentally stepped on their foot. Or their meal wasn’t served at the right time.

Some rabbits, especially the ones whose hormones surge, will take this personally.

“What can I do?”

The moment their tail wags and refuses to get close to you, do the following:

  • Know the reason.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Use your normal soothing voice.
  • Increase your physical connection.
  • Give the tastiest treat in your cupboard.

#7: Excitement


Who knew rabbits would also wag their tails when they’re excited?

They’re the first to run to you as you arrive home.

Or be the fastest to sprint out of their bunny spaces to the yard.

You can easily agree that your rabbit is just acting out of pure joy. 

After being inside their run, who wouldn’t love to have another taste of freedom anyway?

“How do I know their tail wagging doesn’t entail bad behavior?”

It is when they do these things:

  • Doesn’t exhibit disobedience.
  • Your rabbit hops in happiness.
  • They willingly come when called.
  • Not displaying the offensive stance.
  • When touched, your rabbit doesn’t attempt to bite.

Check out this video to see how a rabbit’s tail wags in excitement:

Note: The rabbit’s tail wagging is often accompanied by other body language and even sounds. By considering all of these, you’ll understand fully well how he’s feeling. 

#8: Overflowing energy

Make sure you can keep up with the zest your rabbit has.

Diane McClure suggests letting your fur babies spend most of the day in nature. Give them some toys to gnaw on, too, to keep their joy spiking.

Don’t be fooled, as this compact fur-buddy has loads of energy reserves.

Open the door and let them sprint out. You’ll see how their tail uncontrollably wags in pure delight.

Please don’t leave them all by themselves, though.

Rabbits are naturally curious beings.

They can end up anywhere, farther than a Beagle dog.

If there’s anything to brand bunnies, they would be called escape artists.

Even if you catch your bunny who is on the run, the tail will keep wagging.

They’ll do whatever they can to get out of your grip.

Warning: Rabbits are strong and persistent in escaping from your hold. Be careful in handling them to avoid causing injuries. 

#9. To keep you off

Your rabbit is not that facially expressive. Ironically though, they’re vocal when it comes to the following:

  • Feelings.
  • Their needs.
  • And constant demands.

Some rabbits are not great lap buddies. Others would also act moody. 

If it happens that they’re not feeling you, they’ll be temporarily allergic to your touch.

Don’t force them to be affectionate with you.

Or else, you’ll see a little war freak-ish tail behind them, wagging cattily. 

“When do I know that I’m welcome in his space again?”

He’ll go to you. Just be patient.

Remember, just watch out for the silly tail.