Understanding rabbit behaviour
Rabbits body language can be subtle, meaning that it's not always obvious how they're feeling. Use this guide to help you recognise important body language signals.
A happy rabbit
These rabbits are relaxed and happy.
Rabbits 1-3 show ears close together, facing slightly backwards and pointing outwards. Eyes may be partailly closed.
- Rabbit is lying down, with a relaxed body posture and legs tucked under the body.
- Rabbit is lying down, with front paws pointing forward and rear legs stuck out sideways. Body is relaxed and extended.
- Rabbit is lying down with a fully extended, relaxed body. Back legs are stretched out behind the body and the front paws are pointing forward.
- Rabbit jumps into the air with all four paws off the ground and twists in mid-air before landing.
A worried rabbit
These rabbits are telling you that they are uncomfortable and don't want you near them.
- Rabbit is in a crouched position, muscles are tense, head held flat to the ground, ears wide apart and flattened against the back, pupils dialated.
- Rabbits who are worried or anxious may hide.
An angry or very unhappy rabbit
These rabbits are not happy and want you to stay away or go away.
- Rabbit turns and moves away flicking the back feet. Ears may be held against the back.
- Rabbit is sitting up on back legs with front paws raised displaying boxing behaviour. Ears pointed upwards and facing outwards, rabbit may be growling.
- Rabbit is standing tense, with back legs thumping on the ground. Tail raised, ears pointing upwards and slightly turned outwards, facial muscles are tense and pupils dilated.
- Rabbit is standing tense with body down and weight towards the back, head tilted upwards, mouth open and teeth visible. Ears held back and lowered, tail raised, pupils dilated.
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