DAILY LIFE, HEALTH

Communicate with your rabbit

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Julie Lambert, Paris, France

November 4, 2020

6

Despite common prejudices, the rabbit is as expressive a pet as a dog or cat. We simply have to learn to understand what it tells us, and as this is not easy, I will give you in this article the basics to be able to communicate with it.

01 – Verbal communication in the rabbit

1. Squeak

When your rabbit makes a squeak, he wants to let you know that he is not well. It could be fear or pain, for example.

2. Strident scream

For your rabbit, shouting means that it feels in great danger and that it is terrified.

3. Teeth grinding

Tooth grinding for a rabbit is the equivalent of purring for cats. When you take care of him, it means he is happy and peaceful, when he sleeps it means he is dreaming, and in other cases, if your rabbit is alone in his corner grinding his teeth, it may mean he is in pain.

4. Blow

Your rabbit warns you that it feels in danger and that it is ready to defend itself or attack.

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02 – The gestural communication of the rabbit

1. Lying with legs extended 

Relaxing and resting position.

2. Jumping up and down 

Practice of physical activity and expression of joy of your rabbit.

3. Jumping very quickly everywhere

Also known as the rabbit madness moment, this means that your rabbit is extremely happy. You should not interrupt him in these moments that allow him to exercise. 

4. Standing on his hind legs

The rabbit expresses its curiosity and interest in its external environment. 

5. Rub his chin

Territory marking.

6. Ground scraping

Instinctive release of the rabbit as in nature when he digs his burrow.

7. Lick

When your rabbit licks you, he expresses his affection.

8. Eating your cage

Your rabbit expresses its boredom, its need for attention and exercise.

9. Tap with his paw

By tapping its paw, your rabbit expresses its discontent.

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03 – The other positions of your rabbit

Your rabbit may also want to tell you other things, such as that it is in pain or that it is sick. This is the case when he regularly shakes his head and rubs his ears insistently. He may suffer from ear infections or parasites. In this case, you should contact your veterinarian.

Your rabbit’s tail can also say a lot, at rest it should be horizontal. A vertical tail means that your rabbit is angry. When it is wagging, your rabbit is excited. 

The ears can also say a lot, when both ears are turned in the same direction the rabbit expresses curiosity, lying back your rabbit is at rest and serene, in the back position but not lying down, your rabbit is nervous.

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Pipine lengthened from end to end.

Photographié par Vincent Ribet.

You now know the basics of communicating with your rabbit. Of course, there are many other parameters that can help you understand your rabbit and you will learn over time to recognise them in order to better understand your rabbit.

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