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7 Real Reasons Why Rabbits Run In Circles (Updated 2023)

Why Do Rabbits Run In Circles

Your rabbit can sure be an athlete…

The way they run laps round and round.

“Oh, why do they do that?”

Well, before your mind runs in circles too…

Let me answer everything for you.

Keep reading to discover:

  • 7 surprising reasons why rabbits run in circles.
  • How playfulness makes your rabbit run around (and 7 other signs of it).
  • 5 heartfelt ways you made your bunny happy (which got them running in circles).
  • And much, much more…

Why do rabbits run in circles? 7 reasons

#1: Boredom

My friend told me a short and funny story:

She passed by her bunny in their cage. And instead of finding a well-behaved fur baby…

There they are. Running in circles in their small little space. 

She didn’t know when her rabbit started doing it. And it took her a while to stop the furry one.

“Honestly, I thought she’s gone mental.” 

She told me. 

But that wasn’t the case. I taught her that her rabbit was just bored.

And that could be the reason for your bunny’s sudden circling behavior too.

Now, boredom isn’t the best feeling. I know you can agree to that.

So, it’s bad for your bunny to feel it. Because not only will they spin around…

According to PDSA, your rabbit will also:

Warning: If boredom causes overeating, it can lead to weight gain. And if your fur baby gets too heavy, they won’t move too much. Which can cause many health issues.

#2: Playfulness

Playfulness Causes Rabbits To Run In Circles

Playing with other bunnies and people, along with toys is essential for rabbits.

That’s why when getting a bunny, or any kind of pet, really…

You have to have time for them. And that includes scheduling playtime for your fur baby. 

Moreover, your rabbit will need toys. Apart from those being their necessity, bunnies love trinkets so much.

Now, when they’re deprived of toys and playtime…

They’ll run in circles. Which is their way of telling:

“Hooman, play with me! C’monnnnnnn.”

This behavior can be mixed with other signs of playfulness like:

  • Nudging.
  • Binkies or your rabbit jumping around.

You might also want to know: 11 Best Rabbit Digging Toys (My Bunny Loves #5)

#3: They want something from you

Sometimes, your bunny had enough of playing…

Now, they’re running in circles because they want something else. Not their toy or any games.

But your bunny still wants to gain your attention. 

And they might be asking for things like:

  • Food.
  • Grooming.
  • Bathroom break.

That said, here are other signs that your fur baby needs something:

  • Thumping.
  • Nipping at you.
  • Rattling their cage bars.
  • Destructive behaviors like chewing.

#4: Happiness

Sometimes, you feel so happy, you wanna dance. Or, you want to throw your fist into the air. Kinda like John Bender at the end of the classic movie The Breakfast Club.

Well, that’s because happiness creates energy. 

Research reveals it leads to good metabolism. Which is involved in energy production. With that, you’ll have unlimited stamina when you’re merry.

That’s why when your bunny is contented, they’d be very cheerful. 

For one, they’ll run in circles. Along with other signs of happiness like:

Take a look at this joyful bunny that put a smile on their parent’s face:

“How did I make my rabbit so happy?”

Here are things to continue doing to keep your rabbit satisfied:

  • Socialize them.
  • Play with them regularly.
  • Don’t pick them up too much.
  • Provide a calm and consistent environment.
  • Companionship (from you and their bunny siblings).

Continue reading: 19 Signs That You Have The Happiest Rabbit In The World

#5: Courtship behavior (sexual urges)

Your rabbit’s trying to be a player and they’re showing off. 

Because running in circles is one of their courtship behaviors.

Now, according to the MSD Vet Manual, here’s when your rabbit will become sexually mature:

Breed sizeAge of sexual maturity
Small3.5 to 4 months
Medium to large4 to 4.5 months
Giant6 to 9 months

Once your rabbit reaches that age, they’ll show other signs of it like:

  • Oinking.
  • Honking.
  • Humping.
  • Mounting.
  • Chinning or rubbing their chin to mark items with their scent.

But that’s not all…

Vets warn us that rabbits will also start to show undesirable behaviors.

For example:

Regardless if your bunny is house trained…

They’ll urinate and poop inside the house once they want to mate. 

Your bunny might also turn a little hot-headed. Because they’ll be more territorial and aggressive.

“But my bunny is recently neutered/spayed. Why is this still happening?”

Although rare, this behavior can still show up after spaying or neutering. 

And since the operation is recent, it’s not working fully yet.

It’ll take a while for your fur baby’s body to get rid of the sexual hormones. Give it about 2 months.

However, if you got your rabbit spayed or neutered when they’re more than a year old…

Then, it’ll be hard to get rid of the behavior itself. Not the cause of it, which are the hormones.

#6: They want you to move away

If your rabbit is running in circles in front of you…

Take that as a cute protest.

Because they simply want you to move out of their way.

It’s like they’re saying:

“Hey, please move. Please, please, please…”

And so on as they go round and round.

#7: Head tilt

However cute the action can be…

Running in circles can also mean your rabbit is suffering a medical condition. Particularly head tilt.

According to vets, this is caused by:

  • Ear mites.
  • Neck pain.
  • Poisoning.
  • Head injury.
  • A drug reaction.

However, there are worse reasons as well. Let me elaborate:

Affected body organReason
EarA serious deep infection inside.
BrainAn inflammation-causing parasite called E. cuniculi lives in the brain.

Whatever reason it is, it disturbs your rabbit’s balance. 

That’s why your bunny has their head tilted to one side. Hence the condition’s name.

And one sign of this is running in circles. Others include:

  • Tremors.
  • Head shaking.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Inability to stand.
  • Bumping into things.
  • Rolling uncontrollably.
  • Frequently falling over.
  • One side of their face is drooping.

Warning: This is a condition best diagnosed early. So if your pooch shows those signs mentioned, bring them to the vet ASAP.