The Bunny Shed

The FAQ

Do rabbits make any noises?

Yes. Rabbits are generally pretty quiet, but can make a series of "buzzing" grunt noises when angry, or interested in something. They are also able to make a piercing scream if in extreme pain but thankfully that is something I have never heard. As well as vocal noises, they also chatter their teeth in pleasure, or thump their back foot to make a loud thud

Binky

What is a Binky?

A binky is the term for when your bun has a "mad moment" and suddenly rushes around at random whilst leaping and twisting in the air. I think it originally only referred to the twisting leap itself, but people tend to use it now for any of the hare brained antics that your bun will suddenly perform.

A binky has traditionally indicated a happy bunny which seems to be the case most times. However I have noticed a few annoyed binkies when the rabbits don't get their own way, so I think it can be used as a tantrum too!

Why are rabbits ears so big?

Because in the wild they need to have good hearing to hear any nearby predators. You'll notice how they can control and swivel each ear independantly to listen in different directions. Their eyes similarly cover a great deal of the area around and above them.

Also, rabbits use their ears to control their temperature, so the larger they are, the more efficiently they can lose heat.

Flump Asleep

Do rabbits sleep?

Most certainly (see pic!). However they do not always close their eyes when sleeping which can fool you into thinking they never do. Presumably this is because they are a prey animal so they can keep some level of awareness around them. Some buns chill out completely like Flump here, but others look as if they are just lying down. Rabbits often dream too which is often the only way you can tell they are asleep. Their paws will twitch and their mouth will munch imaginary banana chips!

Why does my rabbit flop onto his side / back?

Because he is a happy and chilled bunny! A rabbit must feel very safe indeed before he will do this so take it as a complement.

What's this I hear about "Trancing" rabbits?

This refers to the fact that many rabbits will become totally still if flipped onto their back as if they were comatose. A lot of people find this useful when cleaning or clipping the rabbits nails as it stops them struggling.

Personally I would never force any of my rabbits onto their backs. There is one theory that rabbits do this as a means of "playing dead" when caught by a predator so that the predator will relax its grip enough for the rabbit to escape. This would mean that the rabbit is not "comatose" at all but extremely alert and frightened. This is only a theory, but all of our rabbits have squirmed like crazy if we've ever attempted it. Mishka did go quiet once when we had to do it in order to check her back legs once, but her legs were shaking so it was obvious she was frightened. Having said this, many people have reported that there rabbits obviously enjoy being held upside down and are perfectly calm, I have just never witnessed this personally.

Why does my rabbit chatter / scrunch his teeth?

A contented rabbit will chatter his teeth in pleasure and this is known as a "tooth purr", as it is the equivilent of a cat purring. There seem to be two distinct tooth purrs. One is a set of three of four "munch munch munch"es for each time you stroke them. The other is a constant light chattering which appears to be one scale up on the pleasurometer!

Teeth chattering is not to be confused with teeth grinding which usually indicates pain. This is much louder and obvious, and usually accompanied by the rabbit sitting hunched up.

flick

Why does my rabbit flick his hind feet at me when hopping away?

This is an unmistakable indication of annoyance, or "I didn't like that". Most likely to happen after you have picked your bun up, or subjected it to some other indignity.

Why does my rabbit thump his feet?

This is used as a warning to other rabbits (or you!) that there is danger around. Usually the rabbit has seen or smelt something unusual. It can also be caused if you have annoyed your rabbit by picking him up or something.

Why does my rabbit rub his chin on things

Rabbits have sent glands under their chin and rub their chin on things to mark them as their property. A cat does exactly the same thing except it uses the side of its face instead as the scent glands are in a different place.

Sparkle's dewlap

Why does my rabbit have a double chin?

This is known as a dewlap, and is perfectly normal. It is usually much more noticable on female rabbits, and provides a handy area to pull furr from when nesting

Why does my rabbit lick me?

This is the ultimate sign of affection from your rabbit. He has accepted you and is grooming you. Bonded rabbits groom each other constantly so you should give him a stroke in return.

Why does my rabbit run around my legs in circles

He fancies you! ;-) Do females do this? I have never seen any. This is usually accompanied by grunting and finishes with the next item...

Why does my rabbit flick wee at me!

This is usually done by unneutered males and they are masters of aim! It seems to be an ownership thing. Neutering seems to stop this very well.

How can I stop my rabbit chewing the remote and everything else!

If your rabbit is a chewer they can be incredibly destructive in the house, but this is usually brought about by boredom. Flump is a real chewer but even he stopped attacking the furniture and wallpaper once we gave him some other toys to play with. Make sure you have hay readily available at all times. One of the best things we did was get Flump a nice large cardboard box and cut a door in it. This serves as both somewhere to hide and more importantly provides them with a nice solid yet destroyable item for them to "improve". Also useful are old telephone books and newspapers to rip up. We used to put these inside the box which kept the mess inside and gave Flump something more to do in his little hidey hole.