Do you own a rabbit? Have you noticed your pet bunny trembling excessively? If you have, you may be wondering: why is my rabbit shaking?
Apart from cats and dogs, rabbits are some of the most common household pets in the world. One thing about these adorable little creatures is that they have highly sensitive temperaments. As such, they’re prone to shaking and trembling more than other pets.
Some of these reasons are no cause for concern, such as a rabbit shaking out of joy, having hiccups, or having an exciting dream. However, this behavior can be caused by more serious conditions, such as GI stasis and heat stroke.
Read on to learn more about all the possible reasons behind this quirky bunny behavior.
Numerous factors could be causing your pet rabbit to shake. Some of them may be nothing to worry about whereas others may be a sign of possible health issues.
Here are some of the most common ones, from the least to the most concerning:
Starting on a positive note, the cause of your rabbit’s shaking may simply be that it’s happy.
Rabbits tend to show their emotions through their body language, and shaking is one way in which they express their joy. Happiness is more likely to be the cause of your rabbit’s shaking if it’s accompanied by the zoomies, which are those crazy acrobatic leaps of joy that rabbits sometimes do.
Additionally, nose twitching is also another thing you may have noticed your rabbit doing. If your rabbit is twitching its nose, fear not. This is a sign that all is well in your bunny’s little world.
Believe it or not, rabbits get hiccups too!
If your rabbit suddenly starts shaking, stops for a minute, then shakes again, it’s most likely that your bunny is suffering from harmless hiccups.
Unlike humans, rabbits don’t make a sound when they hiccup. They simply shudder with each hiccup, which is why their shaking may seem out of the ordinary.
In addition, when rabbits get hiccups, the spasms usually come in very quick succession. As such, this might be yet another reason why your rabbit’s behavior may be odd.
Some common causes for your bunny getting the hiccups are that it swallowed too much air, gulped down too much food too quickly, or has an irritated diaphragm.
If your rabbit is shaking in its sleep, several possible factors can lead to this.
Like all mammals, rabbits have dreams. So, your rabbit’s shaking may just be what you’re seeing as a result of your furry pet running all over the place in its own fantasy world.
The shaking may also be brought on by a series of muscle twitches.
If shaking its limbs or flicking its fur is the only weird behavior your rabbit is showing in its sleep, then this is no cause for concern.
However, if you notice it’s having trouble breathing, then this may be cause for alarm. Contact your vet immediately as this may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that needs medical attention.
Another possible cause for your rabbit’s shaking is that it was startled. Since rabbits are prey animals that are constantly hunted by various predators in the wild, they have an instinctive sense of fear. As a result, they get frightened quite easily by unfamiliar noises, loud sounds, and sudden movements.
Furthermore, a sense of fear can be brought about by changes in a rabbit’s environment. Many new rabbit owners notice that their pet bunny is shaking vigorously when they first bring it home. The sudden change in the little animal’s surroundings may be what’s making it feel nervous and anxious, hence the shaking.
This also applies if you bring another pet into the fold when your rabbit is accustomed to being the sole animal in your household.
Either way, the good news is that the shaking should stop once your rabbit gets acclimated to its new situation.
We should also mention that vigorous nose vibration is a tell-tale sign. It indicates that fear is highly likely to be the motive causing your rabbit to shake.
With their thick coats of fur and ability to grow a layer of fat underneath their skin during winter, rabbits are much more capable of withstanding cold temperatures than warmer ones.
A rabbit can easily soldier through snowy times. However, excessive heat can make a rabbit very sick.
While humans produce sweat to help cool us down, rabbits don’t have this regulating mechanism. So, if your rabbit is consistently exposed to a room temperature of 80℉ or more, it’ll likely start to shake and tremble.
This can be a sign of serious complications to come, such as a heat stroke. This requires immediate medical attention, and failing to rush your bunny to the vet in such cases can prove to be fatal.
You’ll be able to tell that your rabbit is suffering from heat stroke if it exhibits symptoms like convulsions and dizziness.
Another ailment that may be causing your rabbit to shake uncontrollably is GI stasis. This is a digestive condition that affects your bunny’s gastrointestinal system.
When this system functions at a slower rate than it should, your rabbit may likely suffer from severe spasms. These spasms tend to manifest themselves in the form of shaking.
Contrary to popular belief, GI stasis isn’t usually caused by your rabbit swallowing something it can’t digest. The main causes of GI stasis include insufficient dietary fiber intake, insufficient food intake, and consuming too many carbohydrates.
The symptoms of GI stasis include, but aren’t limited to, reduced appetite, reduction in size, and moisture in its fecal matter. Other symptoms include lethargy and weakness.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, your rabbit’s shaking may also result from a physical injury. It could be that your bunny may have taken a nasty spill or bumped into something while playing and hurt itself.
You’ll easily be able to tell if your rabbit has a fractured or dislocated bone from its posture. If your rabbit is favoring one side in addition to the shaking, it’s probably in considerable pain.
You’ll also notice that your rabbit is depressed and unable to control its urination.
Other possible reasons for such injuries are sudden jerks or movements, and improper handling of the animal.
Now that we’ve covered some possible reasons why your rabbit might be shaking its body as a whole, let’s focus on one specific part of its body: its head.
If your rabbit is shaking only its head while its body remains stationary, this can be caused by a variety of including the following:
The first affliction that your rabbit’s head shaking could be a sign of is a burrowing mite infestation.
Burrowing mites are nasty parasites that make a home for themselves on your rabbit’s skin. They burrow into it, hence the name, and lay their eggs there. Unfortunately, these creatures can multiply super fast, laying up to five eggs at a time.
Burrowing mite larvae feed off your rabbit’s body, which can cause it to become sick and weak. The symptoms of a burrowing mite infestation include white dust on your rabbit’s fur and shaking of the head. Other signs are hair loss and open wounds in the head and neck area.
Make sure to address this as promptly as possible. Failing to rush your bunny to the vet in time can be dangerous to its health, and may even be life-threatening.
Another possible reason behind your rabbit’s excessive head shaking is that it’s suffering from an ear infection.
Rabbits can get ear infections for a variety of reasons. This includes wax buildup as well as ear mite infestations. The deeper the infection reaches inside your rabbit’s ears, the more serious it can become.
The symptoms of mild ear infections include head and ear shaking and head tilting. If your rabbit has developed a severe middle ear infection, there’s an increased risk it can develop anorexia, facial paralysis, and facial swelling.
Needless to say, these are all highly serious matters that warrant immediate care.
Have you noticed that your pet rabbit has been shaking excessively over the past few days? If you have, you may be wondering why this is happening.
In some cases, this shaking is no cause for concern. It may simply be your rabbit’s way of expressing its happy-go-lucky attitude. Another reason could be that it has a case of hiccups.
On the other hand, a rabbit’s shaking could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as GI stasis, a heat stroke, or a bone fracture. If the shaking is localized to your bunny’s head, then it may have a nasty infestation of burrowing mites. It may also have an ear infection.
This is why you need to watch out for other signs when your bunny is shaking to determine whether a visit to the vet is necessary.
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.