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10 Rabbit Sounds and Their Meanings (With Audio)

Nicole Cosgrove

July 15, 2021

Rabbits are cute, fluffy, and cuddly. They make great family pets and typically do not mind being handled by kids and adults. These furry friends love to hop and play, explore and experience, and communicate with other rabbits and their human counterparts. While rabbits can typically understand what another rabbit is trying to communicate through sounds, humans are not usually so lucky.

To understand what a rabbit is trying to say through sound, we humans must first identify the different sounds that they are making and determine which each means. Here are 10 rabbit sounds and their meanings.Divider-rabbit2

Grunting

This is the most common noise that people hear coming from rabbits. In general, a grunting rabbit is excited and ready for interactive fun. Rabbits may grunt when they see a human family member come home after a long day, or they might grunt when engaged in playful banter with other rabbits. Males that have not been neutered tend to make a grunting noise when they are ready to mate too. The mating grunt is usually accompanied by other signs of wanting to mate, such as circling and marking territory.


Clucking

Sometimes referred to as honking, a clucking sound typically happens when a rabbit is an incredibly happy animal. Rabbits make a light clucking noise when they are eating a meal that they really enjoy, when cuddling with their habitat mates, and when hanging out on the lap of a human family member. Rabbits may also cluck while they are having a pleasant dream.


Growling

When rabbits get angry, they tend to start growling. Their growl does not sound like that of a dog but instead, it is reminiscent of a purring noise. Still, the cute sound should not be misinterpreted as a sound of pleasure. A rabbit that is growling is letting those around them know that they are not happy about the circumstances that they find themselves in. This might be when a human family member tries to make them go inside after a walk in the yard or when a fellow rabbit does something to threaten their personal space within their habitat.


Teeth Grinding

Rabbits that grind their teeth are usually in discomfort or pain. They may not be happy with their surroundings, or they might have an injury or medical issue that should be checked out by a veterinarian. If your rabbit starts grinding their teeth, first try relocating them to a more comfortable place. If the grinding continues, carefully check their limbs and bellies for discomfort. If any discomfort is discovered, a veterinarian visit may be in order.


Squealing

Bunnies do not squeal often, and in fact, many owners never hear their furry pet squeal throughout their lifetime. The sound is more like a scream than anything, and it means that a rabbit is severely unhappy or hurt. Someone might be restraining them when they want to get away, they might be afraid when a predator is nearby, or they could have seriously hurt themselves somehow. Any time a rabbit squeals, it is important to take steps to figure out exactly why.


Foot Stomping

Rabbits will stomp their feet when they get angry, whether because they want to go beyond their barriers or because they want a toy that another rabbit is playing with. Not all rabbits stomp their feet, though; it depends on their unique personality. Some stubborn bunnies tend to stomp their feet often, while others that are more laid-back may not ever do so.


Whimpering

Humans may whimper when they are upset, but bunnies tend to do so when they are afraid. You may hear a rabbit whimper if they are startled by a fast-moving object or when someone they do not know tries to pick them up or hold them in place. The whimpering is distinct and cannot be misinterpreted for any other noise that a bunny might make.


Purring

Purring rabbits are content animals, just like cats are. The purring sounds of rabbits and cats are similar too. A rabbit is most likely to purr when they are happily being petted, lounging on a lap, or snuggled up on a safe, soft bed in their habitat. Owners should feel good about their rabbit’s frame of mind when they are purring.


Humming

Just as we humans might do while enjoying our time in the garden, rabbits will hum when they are happy with their current circumstances. Bunnies might intermittently hum while roaming around the house and playing with various toys. The humming is subtle and can be hard to hear if you are not paying close enough attention.


Sneezing

A rabbit might sneeze due to several reasons. Sneezing can occur when a piece of grass or pollen gets stuck in their nasal passage. Sneezing could also be due to a blocked airway from a piece of food. A rabbit suffering from a respiratory infection may sneeze consistently until they are better again. The sneezing sound is like a dry cough and is unmistakable.divider-paw

In Conclusion

By understanding these rabbit noises and what they mean, you can better communicate with your furry pet and ensure that all their needs are met. Make it a point to consider the circumstances whenever your rabbit makes one of these noises, so you will know what it means and what you should do. Most importantly, though, have fun getting to know your pet rabbit better! Which bunny sounds are your favorite? Let us know what you think in the comments section.


Featured image credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.