Animal Behavior Network

Error-Free Rabbit Raising

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

Invest just minutes daily learning how to raise the rabbit of your dreams and a best friend for life!

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Can you hear me now?


Let's go over a few of the sounds you will hear over the life of your Pet. Most Pet Parents find the sounds of their rabbits endearing and over time, as you and your new Pet become acquainted, you will also find the sounds to be a joyful addition to your life. 


Vocalizations

  • Teeth Grinding The sweetest sound a bunny can make. Gentle rubbing of the teeth is indicative of a very happy and relaxed rabbit.
  • Growling If your bunny feels threatened or annoyed you may hear a growl. These growls tend to be fairly quiet but they are meaningful! Take note when your rabbit growls and try to determine why your rabbit is showing displeasure.
  • Barking This means that your rabbit feels territorial about his or her space, you should work with your rabbit and show them that you are the owner of the space.
  • Honking This may occur when your rabbit is annoyed or show happiness. Pay attention to the body language being provided by your rabbit to help you determine the meaning.
  • Cooing You may enjoy the sound of soft cooing by a happy and content bunny.
  • Squealing or Shrieking Your rabbit is very upset about something. This sound may indicate extreme pain or fright. Do not ignore loud shrieking or squealing.
  • Hissing Be careful! A hiss occurs because your bunny is not happy. Beware as an attack may be imminent. Stop what you are doing and back away.
Take time to listen and interpret each sound your rabbit makes. You will quickly begin to notice patterns which will help you understand what your rabbit is telling you!

Why do they make noise to get our attention?

If you accidentally reward unwanted behaviors such as excessive vocalization by providing food, attention, or play in an attempt to stop the racket, these rewards may increase future outbursts. Just like the jackpots in Las Vegas, intermittent rewards create persistent behaviors.  

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