Bunny Behavior

Rabbits are full of personality and fun, with a wide range of associated (and sometimes unexpected) behaviors. Here's what to expect from the average pet rabbit.

Chewing and Digging

Remember the story of Peter Rabbit? Although your average bunny doesn't have the same wardrobe, the parts of the story about Mr. McGregor's garden, and the hapless Mr. McGregor trying to keep Peter out of it, are fairly accurate. Rabbits are persistent. They will defeat efforts to keep things away from them, borrow or eat their way into things they shouldn't be able to get into, and generally be pretty destructive unless you plan carefully. If you don't want to find bunny tearing the stuffing out of a box of winter coats in a storage closet, and the idea of furniture with splintered legs bothers you, plan to provide plenty of things he can tear up, dig through, and chew on, especially if you let him roam free.

Changing this behavior should center on reward and not punishment. Provide an good supply of chewable items, including some nice cardboard boxes to hid in and chew out of, and reward Bunny when he chews appropriate things.

Put your stuff away

Understand that rabbits chew everything, and this may include molding, carpeting, the only copy of your will, your address book, your credit card, your grandmother's wedding album, your teenager's Wii controllers...

The only way to ensure your treasured belongings are safe are to make sure Bunny cannot reach them. That's why most bunnies are kept in a nice big cage with plenty of fun stuff when they aren't being played with. Digging and chewing is a biological imperative that rabbits can't control. It's just what they do.

Bunny Noises

Bunnies are among the quietest of pets, usually right up there with goldfish. But they can and will make noise when they are hurt, unhappy, or frightened. Growling, whining, and even screaming indicate discomfort that you should definitely investigate. Growling or thumping the floor with his back legs is usually a bunny warning. He's nervous about something, and you may need to give him some space. As you get familiar with your bunny, the meaning of the different sounds will become more apparent.

Happy Bunny

Your bunny will let you know when he's happy as well. He will lick you or snuggle up to show affection, dance, spin around, and hop excitedly when he's happy, and bound around the house like he's lost his mind when he's full of energy.

Chin rubbing

Rabbits are territorial. If you see your pet rabbit rubbing his chin on everything, don't worry. He's marking his territory. It's his way of making your house his home.

Rabbits are great pets!

What you need to know about owning a rabbit.