Rabbits noises including grunting, honking, growling, sighing, clucking, teeth purring, thumping, sneezing, squealing, screaming
Rabbits primarily communicate non-verbally using body language, but they do make a surprising number of noises.
Grunting or 'honking'
Probably the most common rabbit noise, this is usually made by unneutered males as a sign of wanting to mate and is often accompanied by circling another rabbit or your feet. In spayed females and neutered males it is a sign of excitement or eagerness, for example if you are about to feed them or if they are chasing each other. Some rabbits may honk as a way of getting your attention i.e. they will sit at your feet and grunt at you.
Another common sound, this is usually made when you are stroking your rabbit and he/she is very happy. You may see the jaws or the whiskers move as they grind their teeth together lightly. It is not to be confused with louder tooth grinding which is usually a sign of pain and the rabbit will be sitting hunched up looking unhappy.
Rabbits stamp a hind foot on the ground to warn other rabbits of danger, the vibration in the ground can be felt by other rabbits for quite a distance. House rabbits may also thump to express disapproval of something, for example the vacuum cleaner.
This is usually heard in unspayed female rabbits as they defend their cage or other territory and may be accompanied by a lunge with the front feet.
Sneezing or snorting
Rabbits may sneeze when confronted with a strong scent they dislike, as an expression of disgust. Sometimes, of course, it is just because they have dust up their nose! If the sneezing is frequent and accompanied by a runny nose or eyes, consult a vet.
A very quiet sound and easy to miss, this is sometimes heard in rabbits who are not particularly enjoying something but are resigned to it, for example if you are brushing their fur.
Clucking or 'chirruping'
Usually associated with a female rabbit while feeding her young, this sound may also be heard in de-sexed rabbits who may cluck or 'chirrup' to show their appreciation of something, often food.
Rabbits may squeal when they are fighting or if they are being handled very roughly and it is hurting them.
An unmistakeable and truly horrible sound, rabbits scream at a high pitch when in great danger, for example when caught by a predator. They have also been known to scream when they are dying in a painful way, for example if they are infected with VHD.