Have you ever asked yourself, what do rabbits think about?
The study of rabbits’ psychology has shown that just like humans, rabbits have instincts that enable them to survive, interact and adapt to their immediate environment.
In this article, we would let you know what your bunny may be thinking about, their emotions, and other psychologically related facts about your rabbit.
What Do Rabbits Think About?
A study by rabbits psychologists has shown that rabbits may think about foraging, how to identify and avoid danger in their environment, reproduction, relationship with other rabbits, how to care for their kits for nursing rabbits, etc.
Rabbits are social animals just like cats and dogs, hence possess similar instincts as them which enables them to survive and interact with their fellow rabbits and environment.
Additionally, rabbits’ being social animals communicates with each other through scent marking, vocalization, and body language, among other means.
How Do Rabbits Show Their Emotions?
Rabbits can show their emotions through their body language, vocalizations, and behavior.
Below are some of the ways through which rabbits show their emotions:
When rabbits are excited, you’ll see the either jumping around, tossing toys in the air, or hopping around in a playful manner.
Rabbits are usually excited at the sight of their favorite food such as hay, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits such as nectarines, or pellets specially formulated for rabbits like Weetabix and biscuits
An angry rabbit may growl, lunge, thump their feet, and may even flip her food bowl.
Another way an angry bunny shows her emotions is by biting or aggressively scratching anyone or anything around her.
A relaxed rabbit will often lie down with their legs extended behind them or flop onto its side.
Also, a relaxed bunny would usually grind her teeth, which is a sign of contentment.
When you see a rabbit that is quietly staying in one place, there’s a chance that the bunny is afraid.
Fearful rabbits also freeze, crouch down low, or run away.
In addition, a fearful or anxious rabbit would also thump their hind legs on the ground to warn other rabbits of danger.
Rabbits are emotional creatures and they exhibit their affectionate state in various ways.
Rabbits show affection by “binky,” which is a joyful leap in the air with a twist.
Also, bunnies nuzzle or groom their humans or other rabbits to show affection.
Do Rabbits Have Feelings For Their Owners?
Yes, rabbits can develop feelings for their owners if they are given the opportunity to bond with their owners.
Rabbits may develop feelings and connect with their owners especially if the owner treats them well, showers them with enough love and kindness, and provides them with all their needs.
It is, however, worth noting that rabbits have different personalities, therefore, two rabbits will tend to react differently when placed in the same situation.
While some rabbits are very affectionate, some may be very reserved and that is very normal.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
Do Rabbits Feel Pain?
Yes, rabbits feel pain just like other animals and human beings.
Rabbits have a nervous system that makes them detect and respond to painful stimuli.
How Do Rabbits Say Thank You?
Rabbits say thank you through their expressions and body language.
Rabbits express their gratitude by nuzzling their caretaker or owner.
Another way rabbits say thank you is through their body language by hopping or running around in excitement or flopping over onto their side in relaxation.
What Does It Mean When Rabbit Cleans Itself In Front Of You?
When a rabbit cleans itself in front of you, it means that the rabbit feels safe, comfortable, and relaxed in your presence.
Rabbits are social animals that enjoy companionship, and they often groom each other as a way of bonding and showing affection.
When a rabbit grooms itself in front of you, it may be indicating that it sees you as a friend and companion.
On the other hand, If a rabbit stops grooming itself and appears tense or jumpy anytime she’s around you, it may be a sign that it feels threatened or uncomfortable in your presence.
Do Rabbits Understand Kisses?
Yes, rabbits understand kisses and respond to them through several expressions.
If you make a kissing sound towards your bunny, your rabbit bunny would likely reciprocate the gesture by giving you affectionate nudges or licks.
It is worth noting that rabbits do not completely understand what kisses are, however, they recognize it as a show of love and they also reciprocate it through several expressions.
Ten (10) Signs Your Rabbit Loves You
Rabbits are emotional creatures and they express their love toward their owner or carer in various ways.
Below are ten (10) signs that your rabbit loves you:
1. Following You Around
A rabbit that loves you would always enjoy your company and would follow you around the house or yard.
2. Happy Body Language
Relaxed ears, a calm body posture, tossing of toys in the air, etc. are some of the body languages a rabbit that loves you would always display when in your company.
3. Affectionate Behavior
Nuzzling, snuggling, licking you, “binky,” which is a joyful leap in the air with a twist, etc are some affectionate behaviors that a rabbit that loves you would always display anytime you’re around.
Just as cats, rabbits can also purr when they’re happy and content.
Therefore, if your rabbit purrs around you, it’s a sign that it loves and trusts you.
5. Lying Next To You
Rabbits are affectionate animals and when they love and feel safe and comfortable with your company, they may lie down on your lap or sleep beside you on the bed.
6. Flopping Over
When your rabbit flops over on their side or back, it’s a sign of affection towards you.
Rabbits groom each other as a sign of affection and bonding.
Therefore, if your rabbit grooms you or allows you to groom it, it’s a sign of trust and love.
Vocalization is one of the interesting facts about rabbits because they vocalize to express their mood.
Vocalization is another way rabbits show love toward their owners and caretakers.
Grunts, chirps, honks, etc are some of the vocalizations rabbits make, and if your bunny makes any of these sounds when you’re around them, it is a sign that your rabbit loves your company.
9. Happy Eating
A rabbit that loves your company would always want to eat food and treats like pasta, from your hand or eat on your lap.
Binkying is a playful jump that rabbits do when they’re happy and excited.
Therefore, if your bunny binkies around you, it is a sign that your bunny enjoys your company.
Can Rabbits Have Emotions?
Yes, rabbits have emotions and express their emotions- anger, affection, fear, depression, anxiety, excitement, jealousy, etc through several means.
Rabbits feel happy and excited mostly when they’re running around and playing.
Bunnies can also feel sad when something in their environment is bothering them or feel lonely when separated from their companions.
They may also express fear and anxiety by staying quietly in one place.
Do Rabbits Have Memory?
Yes, rabbits have memory, both short-term and long-term memory.
Rabbits have the capacity to remember where their food and water are located, their surroundings, and other animals they have encountered.
Also, rabbits do recognize their owners and caretakers and also express preferences for some individuals over others.
Rabbits can also remember the location of their burrows and navigate through familiar environments.
Are Rabbits Aware Of Time?
Yes, rabbits have instincts that make them aware of time.
Rabbits have instincts that help them regulate their daily activities, such as eating, moving around, playing, and sleeping.
The ability of rabbits to biologically perform their daily routine activities such as sleeping, eating, etc. according to time is known as the circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm is controlled by various hormonal and neural mechanisms within the rabbit’s body.
Rabbits are emotional creatures and studies have shown that rabbits have the ability to think about several things.
Rabbits think about foraging, how to identify and avoid danger in their environment, reproduction, relationship with other rabbits, how to care for their kits for nursing rabbits, etc.
We hope this article helped you know what your bunny may be thinking about, their emotions, and other psychologically related facts about your bunnies.
- Debra Bourne. Physical and psychological needs of rabbits: a rabbit is not a cat. May 2011. The Veterinary Nurse 2(4):184-189. DOI:10.12968/vetn.2011.2.4.184.