How Do I Know My Pet Bunny is Happy, Grumpy, Depressed or Unhappy?
It might not appear like there is any challenge associated with having a rabbit as a pet. Nonetheless, there are various challenges every rabbit owner will have to deal with occasionally. One of these challenges is finding out what is on their minds; if they are happy or sad.
Lots of rabbit owners occasionally get worried because they can’t tell if their rabbit is okay or not. Do you fall into this group of rabbit owners? If yes, you do not have to worry as we have got you covered.
If you must successfully train a rabbit, you will need to understand how they communicate and when they are angry. As soon as you understand their language, the guesswork will be over.
That being said, some signs which indicate your rabbit is angry are;
One common way rabbits show their anger is by thumping. If you have your rabbit on your hand and it is thumping, you can be certain it is not in a very good mood. Rabbits thump to show disapproval. Beyond just being an indication that they are unhappy, it is also a sign of danger.
Danger: This character dates back to the days rabbits could only be found in the wild. It is their way of making other rabbits know danger is lurking around. They also use it to make other rabbits know there is something to be scared of.
It might not seem like thumping can keep rabbits from danger since it is the responsibility of rabbit owners to secure rabbits. This behavior, however, would be a very effective system if rabbits never left the wild. The reason for this is rabbits in the wild stay underground. Thus, it is a lot easy for vibrations to travel and get rabbits aware of the danger around.
Unlike rabbits in the wild that engage in thumping to prevent other rabbits from getting into danger, rabbits in homes sometimes thump because of something as seemingly trivial as the smell of garlic.
Disapproval: Thumping might be more associated with danger. It, however, is not limited to just danger. When rabbits want to show their disapproval, they also thump.
Picture a situation where you pick your rabbit up and place it on the couch because you want a picture of it. If it is not comfortable with this position, it is normal for it to move away. However, if you insist on it remaining in the same position, it could protest by thumping.
Often, if you ignore a thumping rabbit, it might stay grumpy for a long time.
It is not out of place for rabbits to growl when they are stressed or angry. They also growl when their territory gets invaded. There are many situations that rabbits might find stressful. However, a lot of rabbit owners can put rabbits through one situation that could lead to stress when its nails are being clipped.
Some rabbits might not become aggressive if the stressful condition is not looked into. Others, however, get aggressive if the cause of stress is not taken off.
When female rabbits that have not been spayed want to keep people away from their cage, one behavior they exhibit is growling.
Screaming or Squealing
Usually, rabbits scream when they are in danger. A lot of times, they scream or squeal when there is a predator in sight. This predator could be a cat or some other animal. After screaming, most times, they go stiff. If you have a rabbit exhibiting this behavior, you can help it feel better by giving it a bunny treat.
Kicking Dirt in One’s Face
This is a sign of an angry rabbit that many people are yet to encounter as one needs to spend time closely with a rabbit before noticing this behavior.
If, for any reason, your rabbit turns its back and kicks dirt towards you, it is a clear indication that it is angry.
Rabbits get angry for different reasons. Some become angry when you come around their cage too frequently. Something as simple as cleaning your rabbit’s cage and placing its toys in ways it does not like can get it angry. After getting angry, if it wants to show its displeasure, one way it can do this is by kicking dirt.
How do Rabbits Express Anger
There are various ways rabbits show that they are angry. Some of these ways involve the use of their tail, stance, and ears. Although these three factors play an important role in expressing anger, their ears play a much more important role than their stance and tail.
When a rabbit is happy, its ears are usually turned to the front and pointed forward. As the rabbit gets angry, the position of its ears changes gradually. They slowly move sideways and then move backward. Additionally, as rabbits get angry, they raise their tail away from the body.
Although it is obvious that a rabbit is angry when its ears face backward, as its anger level increases, its ears start pointing towards its body. Certain people think this is the rabbit inviting them to groom it. This assumption, however, is wrong.
If a rabbit’s ears are facing downwards and its chest is lowered to the ground, it is safe to assume it wants to be groomed. On the other hand, if the rabbit’s ears are facing downwards but its chest is not lowered to the ground, you can be sure it is angry. That’s not all. When a bunny is angry also, it holds its tail out stiffly. And has the appearance of an animal that is ready to make a forward leap.
The position of a rabbit’s ears shows its anger level. However, what indicates the action it will take about the way it feels is its stance. If the rabbit has a firm stance and its front legs are spread, you can tell the rabbit is in the mood for a confrontation. If you make the wrong move, it could bite you. On the other hand, if its front legs are close together, it might not be in a very aggressive state even though it is angry.
After exhibiting its anger level, the next action of a rabbit is dependent on its personality. Some rabbits have very aggressive personalities and will not wait to charge at an intruder once they are angry.
If faced with an aggressive and angry rabbit, you can avoid a bite by grooming yourself. You simply need to move your fingers through your hair. When you do this, the rabbit understands that the situation should not be taken too seriously. If the rabbit agrees with you, it will respond by doing the same thing. This happens a lot of times as rabbis are known to be diplomatic.
Although there are lots of diplomatic rabbits, some of them have no time for diplomacy. A lot of rabbits in this category have had lots of frightening experiences in the past. Due to this, they have trust issues and protect themselves by being very aggressive. Some of these rabbits sometimes get angry for no obvious reason. When they become angry, they resort to chasing you, and this ends with a bite. Although this happens, it is not a very popular occurrence. Many rabbits will only give you a slight bite because they want your attention and not because they are angry at you.
How Aggressive Can Rabbits Get?
A lot of people have concluded that rabbits are cute and will never do anyone harm. They, therefore, get very surprised the first time they notice a rabbit being angry. This is because all they expect from rabbits is sweetness and timidity.
Averagely, people might not want to have anything to do with an aggressive rabbit. Nonetheless, there are some rewards associated with relating with an aggressive bunny. Many people who have spent time with aggressive bunnies realize that these bunnies are very intelligent and are simply interested in expressing themselves. They are very interested in getting some respect and space. As soon as they gain this respect, they become affectionate.
Rabbits are indeed very cute animals. However, while it might be very easy to consider not keeping a rabbit because of a couple of aggressive rabbits, there are certain things you must know.
Aggressive rabbits can be scary. When rabbits express anger, they go to the extreme. They moved very fast, kick hard, and bite hard. This is one reason people are scared of aggressive rabbits.
No rabbit was born aggressive. To a large extent, aggression in rabbits is not a genetic issue. Rather, it is a behavioral issue. Since behaviors can change, you do not have to give up on your aggressive rabbit.
A lot of rabbits exhibit a change in behavior around four months old. If you experience this in your rabbit, you might need to visit the vet as a neuter or spay might become essential. If you do not fix your rabbit’s aggression at four months, your chances of having a calm rabbit that does not bite after four months might be almost non-existent.