As companion animals, rabbits make the perfect pets! Their size, activity level and general manner is attractive to all types of households. If you’ve opted to welcome a cute little bunny to your home, you want him or her to be as healthy and happy as could be, right?! But how can you tell if your rabbit is happy?
Like with other animals, rabbits show some tell-tale signs that say they love the life you’re giving them. Here are 10 ways to tell:
What a Happy Bunny Does
1. Your rabbit shows plenty of energy
Age usually doesn’t impact a rabbit’s energy level (not until they’re very old at least). Young or old, rabbits display plenty of spunk and vigor. That’s as long as they’re healthy and happy. So observe your bunny, especially in the early morning or evening. Does he run around a lot, hop, sprint, or even jump into the air with all paws off the ground? If he does, then that means you’re on the right track, and you have one happy rabbit.
2. He loves his food
Like most animals, rabbits love to eat. They even seem to smile with satisfaction as they crunch and munch through their veggies. You have a happy bunny if your pet rushes towards his food bowl or gets excited when he hears the rustle of the pellet or hay bag.
A bunny who’s happy with his food sometimes even run off with it to find a special place to enjoy the treat. Because rabbits love to eat, have your pet checked if they aren’t interested in their food as something might be wrong with their health.
3. A happy rabbit begs for your attention
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Some rabbits love to be fussed over. You’ll know if your pet is one of those if he nudges you and moves his head towards your hand. He may also show submissive gestures such as rolling over and exposing his belly to you. Not all rabbits crave a lot of attention, but if yours does, take that as a sign that he is one happy bunny.
4. Your rabbit doesn’t show destructive behavior
Chewing is part of your bunny’s normal behavior. However, if he’s bored, unhappy, or stressed-out, his penchant for chewing may increase. You’ll know for sure because you’ll see extensive signs of damage, especially around the door of their cage or hutch.
Like dogs and cats, rabbits need mental and physical stimulation. That means exercising your bunny, giving him toys that keep his mind active, and providing him some companionship. Rabbits get lonely, too, you know.
A happy rabbit shows contentment with his home, and even if he chews, it won’t be as considerable as when he’s unhappy or feeling stressed.
5. He’s calm and relaxed
If you see your bunny happily playing with his toys, this usually means he’s feeling chill and comfy. He may also roll around, burrow, nibble or tunnel through his bedding material, the way rabbits typically when they feel comfortable with his surroundings.
Your pet may even look at your and waggle his ears, which is a sure sign that everything is alright with his world.
6. A happy bunny shows affection for you
What are the signs of bunny affection, you may ask? Well, for starters, he won’t run away when you come near. If you pick him up and he lets you without a struggle, then you can tell that your pet likes you.
But if your bunny licks you or rubs his chin on you (an act called chinning), that means you’re special to him. Licking or chinning puts your pet’s scent on you, and it’s his way of marking you as his own.
7. He makes happy rabbit sounds
Yes, rabbits purr, too, so don’t be surprised if you hear this sound from your bunny. They do this by grinding their teeth gently. Just like with cats, purring means that your bunny is very happy. Rabbits usually make this sound when you do something they like, such as giving them head rubs or strokes behind the ears.
On the other hand, when your pet grinds his teeth loudly, that could indicate that something is wrong with him. He may be in pain, so a trip to the vet would be a wise move.
8. Happy bunnies sleep a lot
Like humans, rabbits get around 8 hours of sleep. They don’t do it at one go but instead take lots of naps. If your bunny likes his space and feels safe and secure with his environment, he will usually sleep. So if you see your rabbit snoozing frequently, take that as a sign that he’s one happy bunny.
Meanwhile, if your pet seems to be always awake, try to determine what could be preventing him from taking his naps. Ask yourself if his pen is comfortable and if the surrounding area is quiet enough.
9. He loves to play
A playful rabbit is a happy rabbit so observe your bunny. Does he burrow, tunnel or romp through his bedding material? Is he jumping or climbing all over his play area? Does he chew or throw about his toys? If you answered yes to these questions, then give yourself a pat on the back.
Rabbits who feel comfortable in their homes will engage in these behaviors, so if your bunny loves to play, that means you’ve managed to create a safe and happy life for your bunny.
10. Happy rabbits do the binkies and the zoomies
The what? If you’re a new rabbit parent, you probably don’t know what those are. Well, zoomies mean that your bunny runs around the room like a lunatic, while binkies describe the happy dance rabbits do when they’re extremely happy.
A rabbit who’s doing the binky hops in the air, twists a little bit while kicking his feet back, then lands back on the ground. It’s one sure sign that you have a happy rabbit in your home.
Don’t feel discouraged if your pet doesn’t show all the signs we’ve mentioned. Every rabbit is unique and won’t have the same means of conveying happiness. If your pet seems healthy and he displays a few of the indications of being happy, then the chances are high that your bunny loves being in your care.
However, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your pet.
How to Make Your Rabbit Happy?
- Give him a friend: Rabbits are sociable creatures, so having a companion makes them happy. Called a bonded pair, they will keep each other company, the way rabbits do in the wild. If you don’t intend to breed your pets, have your pair neutered and spayed to prevent health and behavior issues.
- Provide plenty of exercise: Rabbits who are confined to their pens will grow bored and frustrated. They can develop weight problems as well. So, let your bunny out of his hutch regularly and allow him to run around in an enclosure or pen. Throw in some toys and treats, and you’ll have a happy rabbit for sure.
- Neuter or spay your pet: The need to mate can be a source of frustration for your rabbit. Their raging hormones sometimes cause undesirable behaviors such as spraying or pooping outside of their litter box. Leaving your pet unaltered also makes him or her prone to some health issues (i.e., testicular cancer for males and uterine cancer for females).
As you can see, having a rabbit for a pet does not merely involve picking out the cutest bunny in the litter and taking him or her home. To make a happy rabbit consists of putting in a lot of thought and effort into your fur baby’s wellbeing. But that effort will be well worth it when you see your bunny do a binky, which shows how happy he is to be your pet!