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9 Reasons Why Rabbits Flop Over (Bunny Flopping Meaning)

Why Do Rabbits Flop

Surely, you’ve seen your bunny play dead.

The bunny hops around and does the zoomies…

Then, they lift their head and dramatically lie on their side.

It’s funny, right?

But you’re actually a bit worried.

Why did your rabbit suddenly flop over?

Continue reading to discover:

  • 9 interesting reasons why rabbits flop over.
  • How to keep your rabbits happy and comfortable.
  • Warning signs that your rabbit’s flop isn’t normal.
  • And much, much, more…

Why do rabbits flop?

Rabbits flop over to their side when they’re feeling happy and content. They also do this when they’re secure and comfortable. However, flopping can also be a sign of a condition called Floppy Rabbit Syndrome.

9 reasons why rabbits flop over (bunny flopping meaning)

#1: They’re teasing other bunnies

When bunnies flop…

It usually means that they’re very happy.

And they also want to show their happiness to other bunnies…

But in a mean way.

It’s like they’re saying…

“Hey, fellow bunny! Look how happy I am. 

Bet I have a better bunny parent than you do.” 

Then, flop.

In doing so, they’re making the other bunnies green with envy.

“What?! Bunnies can be bullies, too?”

That’s right. But only to tease.

Rabbits also flop to taunt weaker bunnies.

A flopping position will make a bunny defenseless. Simply put, the bunny’s letting their guard down.

So when they do this action in front of another rabbit…

It means they’re not threatened. That is, they don’t think that the other bunny can hurt them. This action shows dominance.

Pfft. You don’t scare me. I won’t waste my time dealing with you.” 

And flop again.

This reason is also applicable to humans. The bunny flops beside you…

Because they know you won’t cause them harm.

#2: They’re happy

Rabbits Flop Because They're Happy

Rabbits communicate by actions. That’s because they use body language to express their feelings.

As such, bunnies show their happiness through different movements.

And one of those actions is flopping.

When your rabbit flops, they may look bored and lazy.

But what your bunny actually means to say is…

Oh, this is a good life!”

That said, flopping isn’t something you need to worry about. 

You’d like to have a bunny who flops all the time…

Because this means they’re happy.

Now, how can you have a happy bunny?

Here are the things that experts suggest you do:

  • Giving rabbits a proper diet.
  • Having them checked for illness.
  • Encouraging play and enrichment.
  • Keeping their habitat safe and comfortable.

If you do all these, your rabbit will have the best life. And they’re sure to keep on flopping.

#3: They feel comfortable

When you see a nice, comfy-looking bed…

Or your soft, warm sofa…

Do you hear it calling you to lie down for a while?

You’d love to give it a go, wouldn’t you?

Just like humans, rabbits want to relax, too.

And when they feel the soft blanket you’ve just placed in their home…

Or when they get to play on the new carpet…

They’ll tend to flop over and ease off.

So, it’s important to give your rabbits a comfortable home. And you can do so by providing the following:

  • Soft mats.
  • Cotton towels.
  • Fleece blankets.

Those are the most comfortable fabric your rabbits can flop and snuggle in.

Read also: Top 15 Things to Put in a Bottom of a Rabbit Cage

#4: They’re safe and sound

Studies explain that rabbits are naturally prey animals. They’re always on guard. That’s why they easily get startled.

Now, look at your rabbit while they’re flopping. You’ll see that they’re in their most relaxed, vulnerable position.

So if your bunny is flopping…

It means that they feel secure. They don’t sense any danger from you or their environment.


Give yourself a pat on the back. You did a good job in gaining your rabbit’s trust…

And keeping them safe from harm.

You can also read: 21 Rabbit Predators + 11 Tips to Protect Your Bunny

#5: They want to cool down

Some bunny parents tell me so much about summer flopping.

In these cases, rabbits tend to flop more in summer than winter.

This has led to an observation that bunnies flop more often in hotter areas.

In short, the bunnies flop to chill.

That’s why experts believe that rabbits like a cool environment. 

So when the days get hot…

You’ll see your rabbit flopping in front of the fan. Or they’ll flop on the cool floor.

#6: They don’t want to play

You’ve probably learned that rabbits are social animals. So now you have a feeling that they want to play all day.

Even so, bunnies still need time by themselves.

When they’re feeling anti-social for the moment…

They’ll want to be left alone. So, they’ll go to a corner and flop.

This will show you and other bunnies that they’re too lazy to play.

So, it’s probably best that you wait for your rabbit. After a while, they’ll be ready to play with you again.

#7: They’re tired

They're Tired

Rabbits don’t have unlimited energy. They get tired too. 

And what does a rabbit do when they’ve used up all their energy? 

Just like you and me, they rest.

And the best way to take a break is to sleep. 

Sometimes, bunnies playfully flop before taking a nap. They just feel more comfortable that way.

So, it’s okay. You can relax, too. Don’t worry, and just let your rabbit sleep for now.

#8: They have Floppy Rabbit Syndrome

“A syndrome? Then why did you just tell me to relax?!”

Well, not all bunny floppings are normal. But there’s a big difference between normal and abnormal flopping.

If there’s something to be concerned about…

Trust me, you’ll know.

Let’s look at the first condition:

Floppy Rabbit Syndrome (FRS) is general muscle weakness. 

According to research, this condition makes the rabbit unable to move. This shows when the rabbit:

  • Can’t lift their head.
  • Have paralyzed limbs.
  • Have low potassium and protein levels.

“How do I know if the bunny flop is due to FRS?”

If a rabbit has FRS, their flop will be sloppy and uncontrolled. 

That’s because it’s involuntary. 

And the rabbit may try to get up…

But they’ll have a hard time doing it.

If you suspect your rabbit to have FRS, call your vet right away.

It’s best that you do so immediately, After all, this condition is curable…

But your bunny would need proper care and medication.

#9: They’re sick or dying

A rabbit who’s critically ill may flop over. However, this flop is very different from a happy flop.

If the bunny’s flop is something to worry about…

Your rabbit will also show other signs.

Vets tell us about those symptoms:

  • Drooling.
  • Lethargy.
  • Screaming.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Coughing, wheezing or labored breathing.

And because bunnies are prey animals…

They don’t go around announcing they’re sick.

So responsible bunny parents must observe their rabbit’s behavior really well…

As these signs may take some time to appear.

And when these conditions show…

It’s best to take your fluffy buddy to the vet.

Watch this video to see more signs of a dying rabbit:

People also ask: 

Why does my rabbit keep flopping excessively?

Your rabbit keeps flopping excessively because they can’t contain their happiness. The more rabbits flop, the happier they feel. Even so, observe if your rabbit can easily get back up. If they can’t, it can be a sign of a health condition.

Can a rabbit flop too much?

A rabbit can’t flop too much. They can flop as much as they want as long as they can get up easily.

And if your rabbit can go back to a sitting position with no problem…

It means they’re just very content and comfortable.

But if they’re flopping all day and find it hard to get up…

There must be something wrong. Look for other signs of illness.

Are rabbits happy when they flop?

Rabbits are happy when they flop. Flopping shows that rabbits are relaxed. And that they’re comfortable and content with their life.

So you can say rabbits flop to show that life is good.

And if your bunny is:

  • Safe.
  • Active.
  • Healthy.
  • Well fed.
  • Stimulated.

Then you’ve just checked everything on your bunny’s happy list. So now they’ll flop more.

Do rabbits flop when stressed?

Rabbits don’t flop when they’re stressed. Flopping is a relaxed position. Hence, rabbits won’t flop when they’re uncomfortable.

These are the signs of a stressed bunny:

  • Pupils are dilated.
  • Muscles are tense.
  • The ears are wide apart.
  • The head’s flat on the ground.
  • The rabbit’s in a crouched position.