Rabbits can get easily scared of thunder. A strange noise can get them startled and hiding in a safe place. The sound of thunder can be terrifying for many animals, including rabbits. This applies to both pet rabbits that are kept indoors and outdoors.
Do rabbits get scared of thunder? Yes, rabbits do get scared of thunder, but not all rabbits. Rabbits that have been exposed to thunderstorms in the past are less likely to get scared, especially if they have received comfort. However, younger rabbits that haven’t been through a thunderstorm face an increased possibility to be anxious.
If your rabbit is experiencing distress due to fear of thunder, it is imperative to comfort your rabbit as increased stress and anxiety is not healthy for your rabbit’s mental health.
The following section cover topics related to rabbits and their fear of thunder to address any further concerns pet rabbit owners may have.
Do Rabbits Get Scared of Thunder?
As per the animals’ circle of life, rabbits are usually chased by predators as prey. As such, it is a natural instinct for rabbits to pay attention and be sensitive to most sounds. This helps rabbits be on high alert and be able to run quickly if in case the sound is coming from a serious threat.
When a thunderstorm takes place, the sound of thunder tends to be continuous throughout the night. Young rabbits that haven’t been through a thunderstorm may experience higher levels of anxiety as they wonder where the strange noise is coming from, and if it will harm them in any way.
If your rabbits are placed in an outdoor hutch, their levels of fear would be much greater as opposed to if they were placed indoors. This is because the proximity to louder noise can make your rabbits feel more vulnerable and intimidated.
It is also best to be cautious of rabbits getting wet due to the thunderstorm, as they may develop hypothermia as a result.
Signs that your rabbit is frightened
Observing your rabbit is crucial to understand whether it is experiencing any sense of fright due to thunder. A rabbit’s body language often surely gives away that it is scared, anxious, or overall fearful.
Signs that your rabbit is frightened of the thunder to include the following
- Screaming or growling
- Hysterically running or circling within the hutch
- Thumping using their hind legs
- Your rabbit’s fur looking puffed or spiked
- Flattening of the ears against the head
- Chewing on the bars of the enclosure
- Widening of the eyes or even remaining completely still and motionless
Excessive grooming is also another sign as your rabbit may be trying to groom as a way to comfort itself. The way your rabbit is seated can also suggest fear of thunder. For example, scared rabbits often sit in a hunched position.
If your rabbit is exhibiting one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, it is critical to take the necessary steps to help your rabbit accordingly.
Solutions to Comfort Your Frightened Rabbit
If your rabbit is not already placed indoors, you should certainly consider moving the entire hutch indoors when a thunderstorm takes place. In case your rabbit’s hutch is too large to carry indoors, you can proceed with bringing only your rabbit indoors. However, to maximize their stay indoors, prepare an area where your rabbit can safely stay and hide until the thunderstorm passes.
Bringing your rabbit’s favorite toys and snacks serve as additional points towards comforting your rabbit. Without an indoor hutch, you may substitute it with a small cage-like enclosure with comfortable and soft bedding for your rabbit to stay in.
As much as possible, try to find ways to decrease the sound of the thunder inside your house. This can be done by closing open windows and curtains or placing your rabbit in the furthest corner from where the sound may be prominent.
Trying to replace the sound of thunder with other noises such as sounds from your television or some soft music can help calm your rabbit. It should not be any sound that is considered too loud.
Another great way to comfort your rabbit is through mere distraction. Allow your rabbit to go towards you and play if they want to and attempt to cover your rabbit’s eyes for a bit. This helps to relax most rabbits.
If your rabbit looks comfortable, you can also play games with them as a distraction. However, be mindful and notice that if your rabbit is consistently hiding, then let them be, there’s no need for a distraction if they are not up for it. As long as you place your rabbit indoors, they will eventually calm down knowing the thunder will not get to them.