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Common or everyday behaviour displayed by rabbits including chinning, thumping, eating droppings, growling, nudging, flopping, binkying...


A healthy rabbit will groom itself thoroughly several times a day.  Bonded rabbits will often groom each other as a sign of affection and your rabbit may even "groom" you by licking your hands or face.

Eating droppings

Rabbits produce two types of droppings - the hard pellets that you see, and soft, caecal pellets that they take directly from their bottom and eat.  This is the rabbit's way of maximising the value of its food as they take more nutrients from the droppings as they pass through their body again.


A rabbit will rub the underside of its chin against something to mark it with its scent and claim their territory.  A rabbit may even chin a human.


A rabbit will thump a hind foot on the ground when it feels there is danger around, to warn other rabbits.  Unneutered males also use it as a sign of wanting to mate.  De-sexed rabbits may use it as a sign of annoyance.


When your rabbit runs around your feet or around another rabbit, he is displaying his intention to mate or is trying to get your attention.

Honking or grunting

A little exhalation of breath, another sign of wanting to mate.  Males and females may continue to honk even after neutering.


A female rabbit will sometimes make a growling noise when you are interfering with her space, for example cleaning out her litter tray.  She may also lunge at you with her front feet - this is a territorial thing but she is unlikely to bite you.


When a male rabbit mounts another rabbit or even your foot, he is either trying to mate or is displaying dominance.  A female rabbit may mount a male rabbit to display dominance.


A rabbit will nudge you lightly with their nose to get your attention or nudge you more forcefully to get you to go away or stop doing something to them.

Grinding teeth

A light grinding or 'munching' of teeth indicates your rabbit is happy, for example when you are stroking them.  A heavier grinding can indicate pain or discomfort and will generally be accompanied by other symptoms.

Rolling over and lying on side or back with eyes closed

Your rabbit is very relaxed and happy.

Flicking ears

Your rabbit is inviting you to play.  If a rabbit shakes its ears frequently and scratches inside them, it can mean they have a problem in their ears so check inside them for redness or scabs.

Acrobatics  or 'binkying'

Rabbits play and get rid of excess energy by running fast, leaping around and twisting their body mid-air.  An expression of happiness.

Fur pulling

Can be a sign of boredom but is usually associated with unspayed females going through a phantom pregnancy - they pull hair from their chest and tummy and may try to build a nest somewhere lined with the fur.

Ear positions

If a rabbit points its ears forward it is curious about something.  If it puts them straight up it is alarmed and trying to listen better.  If it folds them flat on its back it is frightened and trying to make itself inconspicuous.

Tail positions

Normally only the tip of a rabbit's tail can be seen.  When a rabbit is curious and leaning forward with pricked ears, its tail will extrude further.  When a rabbit is excited its tail will rise higher up its back.  When a rabbit is about to attack or wants to mate it may flick its tail from side to side.

Standing up

When a rabbit stands up on its back feet it is trying to get a better view of its surroundings.  It may be trying to get your attention or reach for food that you are holding.

Putting head flat on ground

This is a sign of submission or a request for grooming / stroking from another rabbit or yourself.


A sign that your rabbit is too hot, overweight or ill.


Let's hope you never hear this.  A rabbit will only scream or squeal if it is in extreme pain or fear e.g. when it has been caught by a predator.

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