Many people have the perception that rabbits are silent animals or they don’t make noise. Well, the truth is that rabbits make quite a few different noises. Rabbit noises can be quiet or loud, depending on the circumstances and what the rabbit is trying to communicate. Learning to interpret rabbit behaviors and those noises will make you a more attentive rabbit owner or farmer.
Rabbit Noises and their Meanings
1. Growling or Grunting
Rabbits may growl or grunt when they are not happy. Perhaps your rabbits are upset that you’re reaching into their cage or maybe they are feeling stressed or afraid. Different growls and grunts will mean different things. Some rabbits may grunt or growl during mating. The more time you spend with your rabbits, the better you will understand their sounds and behaviors.
2. Quiet Teeth Grinding
Some rabbits will grind their teeth lightly when they’re feeling good. This is a good sign and you can be sure your rabbit is happy when it is doing this. It may sound similar to purring.
3. Loud Teeth Grinding
This means your rabbit is in pain. It may be something serious or it might be it has eaten some particular plant leaves that are causing pain and making him grind his teeth. This must not be ignored.
Some rabbits like to complain when they’re unhappy. They go about their business muttering softly to themselves, rather like some people do when they’re annoyed with something. Some rabbits do this more than others. In actual fact, you’ll find the occasional rabbit that is very talkative and makes muttering sounds every time you interact with them.
We have rabbits that make wheezing sounds when they get very excited. Not every rabbit does this, but you will recognize this sound if you hear it. It may occur when they are playing really hard or if they are exploring something new.
During mating, you may hear some rabbits buzz. It can be confused with grunting, but the buzzing is a low-pitched gravelly sound. The rabbits usually circle each other making this sound until the time is right to finish the act. Bucks may also squeal a bit when they finish mating as they fall backward.
If you’re near rabbits when they are ingesting their cecotropes, you can sometimes hear them squeak. Cecotropes are the soft, grape cluster, smelly night feces of rabbits.
Some rabbits, when truly relaxed and sleepy, will snore. Some will snore very loudly.
Rabbits thump their hind feet when they feel threatened or angry. You will hear it when a strange animal comes near their cage or hutch. When the thumping sound is heard, you should check on the rabbits and find out what’s going on. Bucks may also thump before mating with a doe.
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In extreme situations, rabbits will scream when frightened. They may scream before a predator grabs them. Once in a while, one will scream when getting their ear tattooed or tagged, while most sit through it just fine. A rabbit scream is very loud and very shrill. Depending on the cause of the scream, your rabbit will calm down and be fine or requires instant medical attention if it isn’t already too late.