Behavior

Why Does My Rabbit Run in Circles?

black and white bunny up close

You may think your bunny is the most adorable creature in the world but admit it, sometimes he does something you find weird or confusing. Take running around in circles, for example. Seeing your bun make those dizzying turns can prompt you to ask yourself if he’s gone mad or something. The good news is, he’s probably fine. Now, let’s look at some possible answers to the question, why does my rabbit run in circles.  

Reasons Why Your Rabbit Run in Circles   

Along with binkying, flopping, and honking, running in circles is typical rabbit behavior, and it can signify different things depending on the circumstances.   

The Need to Mate   

Circling has a prominent place in the mating ritual. It’s a wooing action rabbits display when they’re in the mood for love. If your intact male bun aged 10-12 weeks old starts circling, it can be his sex hormones kicking in. Female rabbits reach sexual maturity a bit later, usually at around 14-16 weeks.  

If your bun honks while running in circles, chances are high that he is indeed looking to mate.   

To Seek Attention 

white rabbit laying down

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Are you holding something tasty when your fur baby started zipping around you? Well, that may be his way of asking for some of that delicious treat. But aside from begging for some delectable morsels, rabbits also try to catch their human’s attention through circling because of the following:  

  • They want to hang out: Try sitting on the floor when your fur baby starts making those turns. He’ll likely jump on your lap or snuggle against your leg if he wants to spend some quality time with you.  
  • They want to play: You’ll know he’s in a playful mood if he runs away after circling your legs.  
  • They’re telling you to move it: You may be in your bun’s way, and circling is his way of telling you to step away. He may even nip or try to drag you if you didn’t get the hint.  
  • They’re happy to see you: Like dogs, rabbits get excited when they see their owners, and running in circles is their way of showing you how they feel.  

To Get Some Exercise   

Following a long computer session, don’t you get the urge to walk around to get the kinks out of your joints? Rabbits can feel the same way after being cooped up inside the cage for hours. So if your bun starts running in circles when he gets out of his hutch, he may simply be stretching his legs and giving his blood circulation a boost. 

Boredom  

You’ll get bored, too, if you’re inside a cage with nothing to do. A bun who runs in circles or paces back and forth inside his hutch is likely craving for some activity.  

To Establish Dominance 

Rabbits try to show they’re the boss through various ways. Along with mounting, circling is their way of asserting themselves. If he spritzes you with pee as he moves around, that may be his way of telling other rabbits that “this human is mine, so stay away!”  

The Difference Between Circling and Spinning 

While you usually don’t have to worry if your rabbit runs in circles, spinning on the spot is an entirely different thing and can indicate some medical issues. For one, it belongs to the list of symptoms associated with head tilt, a condition caused by parasitic infestation, ear infection, stroke, or head trauma.  

Spinning can also indicate brain inflammation.  

Other symptoms to watch out for along with spinning include:  

  • Wobbling or head shaking  
  • Toppling over  
  • Inability to sit or stand up straight  
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Lethargy  
  • Drooling  
  • Drooping ears or lip  

If your pet displays any of these signs, take him to the vet who knows rabbits. They may mean nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Some symptoms are a cause for concern because certain medical conditions associated with the mentioned red flags can be life-threatening.  

group of rabbits

How to Stop My Rabbit from Running in Circles?   

How you stop the behavior depends on what’s causing it.  

  1. If it’s due to hormones: Talk to your vet about having your pet fixed. Not only does desexing help reduce unwanted behaviors like aggression and urine marking, but it also offers health advantages. Spaying and neutering reduce the risks of some reproductive health issues, such as testicular, uterine, and ovarian cancer.  
  1. If your rabbit wants your attention: There’s nothing wrong with giving your bun a pat or two. In fact, we bet you’ll find it hard to resist cuddling a rabbit who rises on his hind legs and reaches up to you.  
  1. If your bun begs for treats: How you react to this scenario depends on whether you believe it’s okay to give in to your bun’s entreaties. If your pet is on a diet, consider the treat you give him as part of his caloric intake for the day. But please don’t give him any human food that may be dangerous for rabbits.  
  1. If your rabbit needs exercise: Allow your bun plenty of time to run around, and don’t keep him in a small cage. Ideally, his living space should be about 12 feet. Better yet, allow your bun free rein in a rabbit-proofed room if possible.  
  1. If your rabbit seems bored: Buns in cages can get bored if they don’t get any stimulating activities. Aside from letting your rabbit out of the hutch to get some much-needed exercise, give him some toys to keep him occupied and prevent boredom.  

Why Is Your Neutered Rabbit Still Running in Circles?   

Don’t be surprised if your recently neutered or spayed fur baby still exhibits some mating behaviors. It takes a while before the sex hormones leave his system entirely, so within two months of the operation, expect your rabbit to be still feeling their effects.  

Other rabbits also never lose the urge to circle even after being altered, especially if they got fixed after they’re over a year old. By then, making those turns may have become a habit.  

Running in circles is natural for rabbits. You can try to resolve the issue but if your bun keeps zipping around despite your best efforts, just take it in stride, especially if he looks happy and healthy. 

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, will you give it a share or two 🙂 Thank you! ~from Every Bunny Welcome

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