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17 Weird Reasons Why Your Rabbit Grunts (At You) + 11 Tips

Why Does My Rabbit Grunt

 Rabbits express themselves in silent ways…

But sometimes… they make sudden noises too.

For the rare moments your rabbit makes a sound…

You can get confused if they’re mad at you or in pain.

It can be difficult to understand… a rabbit’s way of expression.

Listen close to what your rabbit’s trying to express by reading:

  • 17 reasons why your rabbit grunts at you. 
  • When you should get alarmed by this behavior.
  • Other alarming rabbit behaviors that you need to know.
  • 11 tips on how to stop your rabbit from grunting at you. 
  • And much much more…

Why does my rabbit grunt?

Your rabbit grunts at you because they might be angry. Grunting is usually a sign of anger for rabbits. Sometimes, they’d grunt because they’re in pain or bored. It can also be their way of asking for your attention. Other times, grunting can be a sign of stress, hunger, or territorial behavior.

17 reasons why your rabbit grunts (at you)

#1: They’re asserting their dominance

Rabbits can have a dominant personality…

This is more common in recently adopted rabbits.

It also happens when the rabbit is not spayed or neutered.

In the wild…

A study reveals that rabbits have a social ranking.

They decide their hierarchy from strongest to weakest.

Even though they are prey animals…

They can still show signs of aggression.

In fact…

Dominant rabbits may even attack other rabbits to show their strength.

You can confirm if your rabbit is being aggressive and dominant.

Here are 7 signs that your rabbit is showing aggression:

  • Biting. 
  • Tense muscles.
  • Wagging their tail.
  • Wriggling their nose.
  • Charging towards you. 
  • Erect ears and pointing forward.
  • Thumping their legs on the ground. 

If they show one or more of these signs after grunting…

Then your rabbit is definitely a dominant bunny.

This is why your rabbit might start grunting at you.

Your rabbit is trying to tell you…

“I don’t like what you’re doing. Don’t forget that I’m not afraid to fight you.”

They’re trying to remind you that they’re the “boss”.

#2: They’re sick or in pain 

Rabbits are not as vocal as other animals like cats or dogs…

This is why their body language and vocal communication are unique.

Being quiet animals…

They can only express their pain in silent ways.

But… research claims that rabbits in the wild try their best to hide their pain.

This is to lower the risk of getting targeted by predators.

When predators can tell that they’re weak or injured…

There’s a chance they’d get attacked immediately.

Your rabbit might be trying to hide their pain from you…

And that’s why they end up grunting at you.

They’re focusing too much on hiding their pain…

But when it’s too much, they let out low grunts here and there.

Here are 13 signs that your rabbit might be sick or in pain:

  • Screaming.
  • Whimpering.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Tense muscles.
  • Grunting noises.
  • Lack of movement.
  • Rapid nose twitching.
  • Stiff, erect pointed ears.
  • Mild teeth grinding noises.
  • Abnormal, rapid breathing. 
  • Abnormal, shallow breathing.
  • Staying in one spot all day long.
  • Changes in their bowel movements.

If your rabbit does one or more of the following along with grunting…

Your rabbit is most likely not grunting at you on purpose. 

Note: Take your rabbit to the vet if you suspect that they’re ill or in pain.

#3: They feel threatened 

When rabbits sense danger…

They sometimes grunt out of shock or to alert other rabbits.

Rabbits have powerful senses…

Their sense of smell and hearing are far greater than ours.

This means that they can hear or smell something from a distance.

Your rabbit could be grunting at you because they’re alarmed…

An alarmed grunt for rabbits is their way saying:

“Hey, watch out. Be on alert.”

You can tell if your rabbit is grunting to alert you with these 7 signs: 

  • Rapid breathing. 
  • Rapid nose twitching.
  • Standing on their hind feet. 
  • Bulging eyes or dilated pupils. 
  • Erect ears and tense muscles.
  • Thumping their feet on the ground. 
  • Freezing and staring in the distance.

Further reading: 13 Things Rabbits Do When They Are Scared (Behavior)

#4: They feel excited

Rabbits can also have random bursts of energy… 

It can happen when they’re very happy or plain excited. 

There are many things that could excite your rabbit… 

Such as your own presence. 

If you’re always away… your bunny might miss you a lot. 

Whenever they get the chance to see you… 

They’d be so excited… they’d end up making weird noises such as grunting. 

It can be easy to tell if your rabbit is grunting out of excitement. 

Here are 7 signs of an excited bunny:

  • Binky-ing. 
  • Rapid breathing.
  • High energy runs.
  • Running in circles.
  • Faster nose twitching. 
  • They always follow you.
  • Digging then flopping to the side.

#5: They might be pregnant 

Your Pregnant Rabbit Grunts At You

Rabbits can also start acting weird when they’re pregnant…

According to research

They will start digging more or start pulling their hair out.

Female bunnies will also start having mood swings.

They can get pregnant as early as 3.5 months old.

A female rabbit would grunt at you to tell you…

“Stay away from me. I’m protecting my baby.”

Grunting is one of their ways to act “grumpy”.

Even if your female rabbit is single…

They can experience “pseudopregnancy”.

You might know this as “false pregnancy” or “phantom pregnancy” in humans.

This is when a woman or a female rabbit believes they’re pregnant…

But in reality, they’re not.

In medical terms, this condition is also called “pseudocyesis”.

A study shows that pseudopregnancy in rabbits can last for 16 up to 18 days.

You might also want to know: 11 Surprising Reasons Why Rabbits Move Their Bedding

#6: They’re being territorial 

Rabbits can be territorial…

Even if they’re not very dominant.

In simple terms, they like their own space and belongings.

They can be more on the “possessive” side than the dominant side.

This is why your rabbit might be grunting at you…

Your rabbit is trying to say, “Hey… this is my territory. Respect it, okay?”

The grunt is to remind you that they’re right there…

And they’re keeping an eye on you.

Rabbits don’t like disturbance in their space.

For example, moving things around can make them upset.

You can think of them as a very organized person…

They’d grunt to tell you that they don’t want you to mess up their place.

Don’t miss out on: Why does my rabbit pee on me?

#7: They want to play

Sometimes… your rabbit might grunt at you to ask you to play. 

For rabbits, their grunts are like a pig’s “oinks”

It can be misunderstood as something negative…

But in reality, your rabbit is only excited and wants to play with you.

You can tell if your rabbit is being playful with these 7 signs: 

  • Relaxed muscles.
  • They do their binky.
  • They’re running in circles.
  • Ears pointing towards you.
  • They hop around at a fast pace.
  • Their noses are wiggling at a calm pace.
  • They start following you everywhere while grunting.

#8: They’re bored

Rabbits like being active and moving around… 

Sometimes, they might feel like they’re out of things to do. 

In the wild… rabbits are always on the move, up to something.

They like exploring around and looking for adventures. 

If your rabbit gets bored… 

They might grunt at you to express their boredom. 

It’s like an “exasperated sigh” that we humans do. 

So when your rabbit grunts at you… it’s like their way of saying:

“Sigh… I have nothing to do. Nothing’s interesting. Do you have anything fun to do?” 

Here are signs of boredom in rabbits:

  • Digging more than usual.
  • Staring at you while grunting.
  • Trying to escape their living space. 
  • Showing more destructive behavior. 
  • Chewing on things they’re not supposed to eat. 

Warning: Excessive boredom can be bad for your rabbit. It may lead to stress and depression… which can affect their health in negative ways.

#9: They’re stressed 

Stress is bad for your rabbit…

It can cause aggressive behavior.

This includes biting, lunging, kicking… as well as grunting.

It’s their way of telling you that they’re unhappy.

A rabbit can get stressed in a lot of ways.

Here are 9 factors that could stress your rabbit:

  • Illnesses.
  • Boredom.
  • Loneliness.
  • Loud noises.
  • Other animals.
  • Unclean environment. 
  • Not having enough space.
  • Not getting enough attention.
  • Hormonal changes if not spayed/neutered.

To determine if your rabbit is grunting due to stress… 

Here are 5 big signs of stress in rabbits:

  • Lethargy.
  • Loss in appetite.
  • Pulling their hair out. 
  • Attacking you or other pets. 
  • Becoming more destructive.

Warning: Before things turn worse, make sure to help your rabbit relax. Stress can be heavy on their little hearts… which may weaken them and make them sick. 

Continue reading: 19 Alarming Signs That Your Rabbit Is Stressed + What To Do

#10: They feel relaxed

Sometimes… your rabbit grunts when they’re relaxed.

You can tell if your rabbit feels relaxed when grunting…

If they’re also grinding their teeth.

Teeth grinding and grunting in rabbits are like purring for cats.

It’s like a satisfied hum for your rabbit.

Here are 3 more signs that your rabbit feels relaxed:

  • Relaxed ears and muscles.
  • Sitting or laying down next to you.
  • Their nose is wriggling at a calm pace. 

You can watch this video to see how they relax: 

#11: They feel lonely 

Rabbits are social animals… 

They get lonely pretty fast. 

This might be the case if you’re often away… 

Your bunny would miss you when you’re not around. 

Research shows that rabbits live together in colonies with other bunnies.

This means… they always want to have a companion around them.

So if your rabbit grunts at you… 

It could mean that they’re upset at you for leaving them too long. 

“Hmph… how could you leave me alone? Don’t you know I miss you a lot?” 

You could think of their grunts like a kid saying “hmph” 

They’re not mad at you or anything… they’re only sad and lonely.

Note: Don’t let your bunny feel lonely too much. It can make them feel depressed.

#12: They’re hungry and asking for more food

Despite their small appearance… 

Some rabbits can have a big appetite. 

This means… 

Your rabbit might grunt at you if they want some food. 

You can think of their hungry grunts as their way of “demanding food”…

And not “asking for food”

“I want more food, I’m still hungry!” 

…Is what they want to say when they grunt at you.

The average adult rabbit needs to eat one-quarter cups of pellets daily. 

This is for most rabbits that weigh around 6 to 10 pounds (2 to 4 kilograms).

Here are 5 signs that your rabbit demands more food: 

  • Wagging their tail.
  • Wriggling their nose. 
  • Honking sounds along with the grunts. 
  • Standing on their hind feet and sniffing the air.
  • Picking up their food bowl and throwing it around. 

#13: They’re annoyed

Rabbits will grunt at you if they’re annoyed… 

It could be something you did or another reason. 

They can be sensitive to a lot of things… 

Thanks to their strong senses. 

Here are 9 common things that can annoy your rabbit: 

  • Loneliness.
  • Loud noises.
  • Other animals.
  • Unpleasant odors. 
  • Messy environment.
  • Having nothing to do or boredom.
  • Not having enough space in their “territory”. 
  • Being unable to go out and explore other places.
  • Getting tired of eating the same food all the time.  

Knowing what annoys your rabbit will help you understand them better. 

They have a unique body language… 

That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to them. 

You can tell if your rabbit is grunting out of annoyance with these signs: 

  • Tense muscles.
  • Wagging their nail.
  • Thumping their feet on the ground.
  • Twitching their nose in an upward motion. 
  • Avoiding you while staring from a distance.

Don’t forget to check out: Why does my rabbit headbutt me?

#14: They’re startled 

Rabbits have a hearing range of 360 hertz up to 42,000 hertz, stated by a study.

This is one of the main reasons why they get startled a lot.

So if your rabbit grunts at you… 

Sometimes the reason is not you, but the sound in your surroundings. 

They grunt when they feel alarmed or threatened… 

As mentioned in #3. 

But this one is more about how they are always alert… 

And that’s why they might grunt when they’re caught off-guard. 

It doesn’t exactly mean that they feel threatened, only startled.

Read also: 19 Alarming Reasons Why Rabbits Shake + 13 Important Tips

#15: They’re courting you

Grunting is a common sign of courtship in many male animals… 

This includes rabbits. 

A study shows that even female rabbits can grunt to show interest.

So if your rabbit grunts at you… 

There’s a chance that they do it because they’ve matured. 

A rabbit enters adulthood as early as 3 months old… 

Around this time, they will already look for a partner. 

To make sure that your rabbit is courting you… 

Here are more signs of rabbit courtship behavior based on research

  • Circling your feet. 
  • Mounting and chinning.
  • Sniffing your leg or feet.

#16: They want your attention

Sometimes… rabbits grunt for no reason other than wanting attention. 

It’s their way of saying… 

“Hello, I’m still here. Please notice me.” 

When they start grunting… 

It means that they’re also getting impatient and they’re eager for attention.

#17: They’re angry or upset

Rabbits grunt to show they’re upset. 

It could be because of you… 

Or many other things that annoy them. 

They can be angry at you for ignoring them… 

Or if you moved their belongings by accident… 

They can also feel threatened by sudden noises or movements. 

Here are 5 signs of an upset or angry rabbit:

  • Hiding away from you.
  • Refusing to get touched. 
  • Turning their back on you. 
  • Showing signs of aggression.
  • Thumping their feet on the ground.

How do I stop my rabbit from grunting? 11 tips

#1: Give your rabbit enough attention 

Fixing your rabbit’s behavior can be simple… 

All you need to do is shower them with attention. 

They can’t get upset and lonely if you do.

#2: Keep them away from potential predators 

When your rabbit feels alarmed… they will grunt. 

You have to make sure that they feel safe. 

Move their living space to somewhere more secure. 

#3: Make sure they’re away from loud noises 

Rabbits can be sensitive to noise.

If you live in a noisy or active area… 

You can try to give your bunny a soundproof room.

#4: Train your rabbit 

If your rabbit is grunting to assert dominance… 

All you have to do is not submit. 

Train your bunny that they don’t need to dominate you… 

You can do this by walking away whenever they grunt at you. 

You can also try showing a sad expression so they can remember it. 

When your rabbit follows you and stops grunting… 

Give them a treat as a reward for behaving. 

Repeat until your bunny gets it.

#5: Keep their living area clean 

Bunnies are hygienic. 

You can avoid upsetting them by cleaning their surroundings. 

Try not to rearrange their belongings too. 

#6: Give them enough food and treats 

A hungry bunny can be a grumpy bunny… 

And a grumpy bunny will grunt at you. 

So the simple solution is to give them enough food. 

Leave them small bites of treats to find in their living space. 

They’ll be busy and will enjoy hunting for treats… 

While you manage to please their stomach.

#7: Take your rabbit to the vet to check for injuries or illnesses

If your rabbit’s behavior is becoming strange… 

You should take your rabbit to the vet. 

As mentioned in #2 reasons why a rabbit grunts at you… 

It can be their way of expressing pain.

For safety, visiting the vet is your best option.

#8: Buy interactive toys for your rabbit 

Bored rabbits will grunt out of boredom. 

If you’re always away or not with your bunny… 

Then buying them some fun, interactive toys can help. 

It will entertain them for hours and keep them happy.

#9: Make sure they have enough space to explore 

Rabbits love adventure. 

If they know there’s a bigger world out there… 

They will want to go out and explore it. 

They’ll grunt at you when they’re upset about their space. 

Rabbits will be happier if you let them roam in a bigger space.

#10: Find your rabbit a companion 

You can get a friend for your rabbit… 

If possible, another rabbit would be ideal. 

As social animals… they won’t feel lonely with a companion. 

It will help fix a lot of behavioral problems in your rabbit. 

Learn more: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits

#11: Spay or neuter your rabbit 

Spaying or neutering your rabbit as early as possible is one of your best options.

Not only will this correct their behavioral problems… 

It will also remove the risk of reproductive cancers for your bunny. 

If you have no plans of breeding your rabbit… 

Then it’s best to schedule their spaying or neutering as early as possible.