Rabbit Talk 101: Deciphering and Communicating With Your Pet

Welcome to Rabbit Talk 101! If there is one thing you should know about your pet rabbit, it's that it is a very communicative animal. Yes, I know your bunny doesn't bark or meow, or wag its tail for that matter, but there are other gestures for how your furry friend can talk to you. I will first discuss the symbols and then cover how to talk back to your bun:

Your rabbit grooming itself and you grooming your rabbit are very important elements to having a happy social life together. Not only is grooming a sign of hygiene but it also establishes dominance. Even though you take care of your rabbit, your most likely going to be the inferior one in this relationship. No worries though, you can still train your rabbit to do things. Pet your rabbit starting from the nose area to the forehead, and let your hand continue to flow to the back.

Nose Wiggling:
That nose just keeps going and going! Yup that bunny's nose looks like a beating heart, and it acts as one too. Pay close attention to that nose! Based on your rabbit's body position, and your rabbit's nose wiggling rate you will be able to tell what kind of mood your rabbit is in, or its personal interest in you. Your bun is an inquisitive animal, so for example: if you are moving around the house a lot, and your bunny's nose is moving quickly, that means your bun is curious or might find something bizarre about what you're doing. If you upset your bunny, then your bun's nose is going to move very quickly. When your bunny is relaxed, it will slow down its nose tempo and display its calmness. If your bunny stops moving its nose all together its either one of three things, its either really confused, too interested or really scared. Of course all this depends on what the bunny's environment is and what the bunny's posture is.
EXERCISE: I, myself, can flare my nostrils in and out. If you find that hard to do, then practice rolling your upper lip under your top teeth and keep rolling back and forth. Look in the mirror to see if your nose is moving. Okay so your nose is moving, lay down next to your bunny and wiggle your nose in front of your pet. Try moving your nose gradually from fast and slow or vice versa. If you're doing a good job, you may find out that your bun is mimicking you!

Relaxed Gazing Postures:
There will be many times when your bun just wants to chill. Depending on how comfortable the atmosphere is, determines how your bunny is going to look like when it relaxes. The usual look for a bun is lying on its belly with front and rear legs tucked under and with its ears up and facing forward. As your bunny gets more comfortable, you'll see that it gets flatter to the ground. You may also witness your rabbit being so comfortable that it will kick its legs out to the side or to the back while remaining very flat to the ground - some refer this as the lambchop, I call it the kickback. Take a look at this picture:

Curiousity: The curious pose is one of the cutest behaviors I've seen. When rabbits find themselves comfortable with their surroundings they begin to investigate what's around and what's new. My rabbits tend to "crawl" around instead of hop, with their necks stretched out a little. The rabbit's ears should be in the shape of a "V" (T.V. antennas) sticking out a bit, and ears should also be facing forward (turned inside). The periscoping move, is another form of curiosity. Rabbits will pop up onto their back limbs and stand tall to look around. I usually see this when I open the top of their travel carrying case.

Annoyed: There will definitely be times when you annoy or upset your bunny. Your pet won't be afraid to show you too! Anytime your bun turns its back to or deliberately turns to the side, you know you offended your bunny. If your bun has its back to you, but looks over his shoulder, then there is hope to settle the "argument." My suggestion is to start acting like a bunny. Yup, starting grooming yourself and then pet your rabbit. Instantaneously your rabbit will become your friend again.

Anger: Anger shouldn't be a surprise stance. There is usually a good reason why your pet would become so mad. When you see your bunny sitting bunched up with its ears lowered and facing backwards, give your pet some space before you get bit!

Depression: Rabbits often become sad due to low stimulation. They are usually seen close to the ground, with their ears hanging low. Bored and agitated rabbits also chew a lot of objects that they know they shouldn't be chewing, as well as urinating on "no no" spots to get your attention.

Pain/Fear: When rabbits are in extreme pain, or really scared, they will scream. It is one of the most painful screams I have ever witnessed. It's an awful cry and I hope many of you never hear it in your lifetime.

Much like a dog or cat, rabbits beg by circling your feet and stand up pawing you when they know there is food or a treat out.

Good Times
: If you let your rabbit run around a bit, you could witness your bun doing binkies! A binky is when your rabbit jumps in the air and twists its body around. It is really quite cool. Check out this youtube.com video of a rabbit doing a binky (as well as other rabbit habits)

: When a rabbit stomps its foot, that usually means its warning you that it is uncomfortable with its surroundings or to warn predators to back off. Over zealous bunnies stomp their feet all the time and then run off to prove how fast they are.

Believe it or not, there are many other expressions that rabbits come equipped with. If you are interested in knowing more, I recommend reading up on the website, The Language of Lagomorphs.