While rabbits are not as loud as dogs, cats, or birds, they are very communicative if you listen. Still, they are on the quiet side as far as pets and animals go. Rabbits vary in personality so how loud they are and how often they talk depends entirely on the specific bunny.
But generally speaking, all rabbits make the same common noises that can act as pretty helpful indicators of your bunny’s mood.
There is a large variety of bunny noises but understanding them will ultimately help you better understand your bunny.
- Clucking: This can sound similar to a hiccup and may occur when your rabbit is asleep; it indicates a content, happy bunny.
- Growling, Hissing, or Even Grunting: These are all negative noises from a rabbit. On the worse end, they indicate anger and fear; on the less-serious end, they indicate disapproval and that your rabbit feels threatened. These noises can mean that your rabbit does not want to be handled at the time and they may need alone time.
- Honking: A honking rabbit is excited and ready to play, especially if they are running in circles around you!
- Muttering: A quiet muttering noise may indicate unhappiness or annoyance in your rabbit.
- Sniffing: Sniffing can be a sign of annoyance in your bunny. Alternatively, they may just be attempting to talk to you.
- Teeth Grinding or Teeth Chattering: This one can be tricky. A loud teeth grinding noise means that your rabbit is in a lot of distress, possibly pain, and a vet visit may be necessary. A quiet teeth grinding or chattering noise, however, is your rabbit’s way of purring! They will commonly teeth purr when being pet.
- Screaming: Should your rabbit scream or squeal loudly, possibly sounding like a small human child, they are either in extreme pain or are very scared. Screaming is very, very rare for rabbits so this is cause for alarm. First, check your rabbit for any injuries or dangers and take your bunny to the vet if there are any further signs of pain. If your rabbit was just deeply scared, stay with them and provide comfort. Consider staying nearby for a few hours so they may feel safe.
- Wheezing: Should your rabbit give a wheezy sigh, they are content and maybe a bit sleepy. If your rabbit is consistently wheezing, a trip to the vet is warranted as they may have trouble breathing.
- Whining: This is most often your bunny’s way of getting attention! It could also be a sign of curiosity, annoyance, or needing help, depending on the context.
- Charging: This aggressive act is a clear sign that your bunny is angry, feeling threatened, or uncomfortable. It is best for you and the bunny to take some time apart so that no one gets hurt as long as your bunny is not in any danger.
- Throwing Objects: While still pretty aggressive, this is just a sign of annoyance. This is especially likely from your rabbit after a scolding.
By themselves, there are many bunny noises that are hard to decipher. In order to functionally understand what your rabbit is trying to tell you, you have to have a basic understanding of their behavior as well as their sounds.
- Binkying: When your bunny is excitedly hopping and jumping around, often in conjunction with hyper running known as “zoomies,” they are binkying. When a bunny binkys, they are comfortable with their surroundings and ready to play!
- Chinning: Rabbits have special glands on their chins that release a scent; when a rabbit rubs their chin on you, they are leaving their scent and marking their territory. This is a great sign of comfort and affection.
- Clothes Tugging, Jumping on Lap, Standing on Hind Legs, and Nose Nudging: These are all the different ways that your bunny can try to get your attention. This indicates an excited, playful bunny who considers you a friend.
- Stomping: Stomping is a sign of a nervous or threatened bunny.
- Biting and Baring Teeth: These are very big signs that your rabbit is upset. It is best to leave an angry bunny enough alone time to calm down.
- Showing You Their Butt: A bunny facing away from you is a bunny who is annoyed with you. If they look back at you, you still have a chance to win them over.
Why Rabbit Noises Are Important
Rabbit noises can tell you a lot. On their own, they let you know how your rabbit is responding to your care and whether or not you should change anything.
Based on noises alone, although you should definitely pay attention to your rabbit’s actions as well since those are equally as communicative and often provide context for your pet’s noises, you can tell if your rabbit is happy and content or if you need to adjust something about their living situation.
A happy rabbit may purr and cluck whereas an unhappy, scared, sick, or injured bunny may scream, hiss, growl, and grind their teeth.
But there is another reason why bunnies’ noises are an important window into the wellness of your rabbit. Once you understand your rabbit’s normal level of noise-making, you will be able to tell if your rabbit suddenly has a day where they do not make much noise, if any at all.
Rabbits are very consistent creatures when it comes to their behavior so if your bunny suddenly becomes quiet or has a day with much less noise than normal, they may be ill or in pain.
So, Why Are Rabbits So Quiet?
Well, they aren’t! While each rabbit has its own personality and level of chatter, they tend to be relatively active and noisy creatures. They are not nearly as loud as birds or dogs and cats unless they are in real danger or pain but they do consistently make their own small noises.
This can make bunnies better pets if you are sensitive to noises but it is genuinely important that you pay attention to the communicative creatures for their safety, health, and happiness.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.