Rabbits are very communicative and active animals, and you can get to know more about them and their personalities through both the noises they make and the actions they perform.
It is especially imperative that you pay attention to your bunny’s communication since they are very fragile animals. If you observe how they act, you can learn a lot about them and may even find out information that could save their life.
Zoomies, or when your rabbit becomes hyperactive and begins to run around, is behavior indicative of the pet’s mood. In short, a hyper bunny is a happy bunny, so a rabbit with the zoomies is excited and comfortable! Zoomies also mean that your rabbit is excited and ready to play.
If they are zooming around, consider giving them a toy!
What Zoomies Mean
Zoomies is the adorable name for when a domestic rabbit begins excitedly running around, full of energy. It is a very common occurrence with pet rabbits and you should expect to experience it with your happy, healthy bunny. Running allows rabbits to stretch out their legs and give their bodies exercise.
Zoomies may also be accompanied by binkying, or jumps and twirls, to get extra stretching for their legs and bodies. A rabbit doing zoomies is active and excited, and is in the perfect mood for playtime!
Other Happy or Neutral Rabbit Actions
In addition to zoomies, there are several other actions that reveal that your rabbit is happy and comfortable in its environment. Their actions and noises can indicate how much they like you and how you have been treating them as well.
- Binkying: Binkying, which usually happens in conjunction with zoomies, is when a rabbit jumps and twirls around. A bunny that binkys is a bunny that is comfortable in their environment and excited to interact with their friends (you). As with zoomies, binkying is the sign of a playful bunny!
- Licking: If a rabbit licks you, they are comfortable with you! A lick from a bunny means more than that, though, indicating that you are special to them and that they love you. A lick from a bunny is essentially a little hug or kiss and you should feel very lucky if your bunny feels strongly enough towards you to lick you.
- Chinning: When a rabbit rubs their chin on you, they are marking their territory. Bunnies have glands on the underside of the chin that allows them to leave a special scent on you. Chinning also indicates happiness as your bunny is comfortable enough with you to mark you as their territory; it is a sign of affection.
- Clicking/Grinding Teeth: Teeth grinding is a little bit more complicated than the other signs as it can mean two things depending on the sound. A quiet teeth clicking sound is the equivalent of purring for your rabbit. If you hear soft teeth clicking while you are petting them, they are content and comfortable! On the other hand, louder teeth grinding indicates that a more negative emotion is being felt by your bunny. Loud teeth grinding is your rabbit’s way of showing they are uncomfortable or in distress, and could indicate the need to visit the vet when combined with other signs of injury or health issues.
- Circling and Honking: If your rabbit is not neutered or spayed, then their circle-and-honking dance is a mating ritual for other bunnies. However, when a bunny circles and honks at a human, it means that they really, really want your attention. A honking and circling bunny is ready to play and desperately wants affection. Plus, most domestic or pet bunnies are spayed or neutered so it is more likely that your bunny wants to play anyway.
- Lying on Belly: If a rabbit plops down on their belly and kicks out their back legs, they are very comfortable! They feel safe enough to let their guard down and nap. A lazy or worn-out rabbit can also indicate a happy rabbit. It also indicates a healthy rabbit as they are exercising enough to sleep contentedly.
- Neutral Ears: When a bunny has their ears positioned neutrally, it indicates that they are relaxed and happy! That being said, it can be hard to tell your rabbit’s mood exclusively through their ears since many breeds have different ear shapes. Some rabbits have ears that naturally stand up straight, such as smaller ears, and bigger ears tend to flop.
- Sleeping: This is an obvious one but if a rabbit is sleeping, then they feel comfortable enough to sleep!
- Nose Nudging: Nose nudging is another rabbit behavior that can be indicative of a few things. Nose nudging is often a way for your bunny to get your attention. It can also be a way for them to ask you to move! Either way, it is not a bad sign for your bunny’s mood.
- Clothes Tugging: Tugging on clothes is very similar to nose nudging. It is a cry for attention! Your bunny is happy and comfortable but they wish for more attention and playtime.
- Jumping on Lap: Just as with the nudging and tugging, this is another way for your bunny to get your attention. If they are jumping onto your lap, they are very comfortable with you!
- Flopping: While it can be very scary for your rabbit to suddenly flop down with no warning, it is not a reason for concern. A flopping bunny is a happy, relaxed bunny.
- Playing: This one is super obvious but the strongest indication of a happy bunny is a bunny who is playing!
- Standing on Back Legs: A bunny who is standing on their back legs is trying to get your attention! Rabbits know how cute they look perched on their back legs so they may do this in an attempt to get treats.
- Nose Wiggles: Nose wiggles, and their speed, indicate your rabbit’s interest in something. A fast nose wiggle means that your rabbit is very interested in something while a rabbit without any nose wiggles is not particularly focused on anything. A fast wiggle that stops suddenly means that your rabbit was paying attention to something that ended up confusing them. The pause is indicative of your bunny taking a second to evaluate whether or not something is a threat.
Concerning or More Negative Rabbit Actions
There are many actions that indicate that your bunny has a problem. It is important to understand these actions the same way you understand zoomies in order to fully understand and properly care for your rabbit.
- Throwing Objects: If a bunny is throwing objects, such as their toys or your things, they are showing annoyance. It can be a sign of rebellion and can be common after a scolding.
- Sniffing: Sniffing can also be a sign of annoyance for bunnies but they may also just be trying to talk to you.
- Grunting, Snorting, or Growling: Grunting, snorting and growling are all signs that your bunny is angry! They do not need immediate help but it may be the best idea to give your upset bunny a little bit of space.
- Shrill Scream: This is a very bad sign for your bunny. A shrill scream indicates extreme pain and/or discomfort and you should seek professional veterinary help immediately.
- Stomping: Stomping is indicative of a nervous bunny. It does not mean that they are in danger; it is just a sign of discomfort for your rabbit.
- Showing Their Backside: If your bunny turns around to face you with their butt, they are not happy. Flopped ears will further show their annoyance. You can also gauge how annoyed your bunny is by whether or not they turn their head towards you.
- Baring Teeth: If your rabbit is baring their teeth at you, this is a bad sign that is usually a warning sign of aggression. Baring teeth can be a precursor to biting or charging.
- Charging: Charging is another big sign that your rabbit is angry or feels threatened or in danger. A charge may be accompanied by attempted bites or bared teeth.
- Spraying: Spraying is another action that bunnies use to mark their territory. Males and females will both spray but only if they are unspayed or unneutered. The easy fix is to take your bunny to the vet and get them spayed or neutered.
To recap, a zooming bunny is a happy bunny. If your bunny is running and hopping around, they are comfortable, excited, and ready to play! This is important to note as bunnies communicate very openly with their noises and actions.
While zoomies are a good sign, there are many things that your bunny may do to indicate that they are uncomfortable, unhealthy, or just generally in need of your help.
It is important to understand what the different sounds and actions of your bunny mean about their mood and health so you can take care of them to the best of your abilities and give them exactly what they need.
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.