How do Rabbits Show Affection? 12 Signs to Look for!

Rabbits are unique pets as they don’t really vocalize like dogs and cats do to show their affection for their humans.

However, if you watch your rabbit’s behavior and its actions, you can easily tell when he is happy and that he loves you.

Rabbits can be very affectionate or they may be a bit less affectionate towards humans.

It really depends on the bunny you choose to adopt (later in this article, I also cover the rabbit’s breeds that are more affectionate to humans).

There are many different behaviors that can show you that your rabbit really has bonded with you, no matter if you adopted it as a baby or an adult from a rescue service.

Rabbits Need To Trust You to Show Affection to You

When you adopt a rabbit, it doesn’t mean that it will instantly love you and show affection.

You have to earn the trust of the rabbit first and only then it can show affection to you.

Rabbits need to feel absolutely safe in your presence in order to be stress-free and start showing you that they love you. You take it slow with them and let them call the shots.

Meaning, they will tell you by their mannerisms if they want to be held or petted and then allow you to do so.

Sitting down on the floor will let your bunny think it’s in control of the situation. It will be more likely to come to you and get in your lap or just sit quietly next to you on the floor.

You can also have some tasty treats with you to entice them to get to know you and feel totally comfortable in your presence.

Unwelcome displays of affection towards your pet can make it feel very uncomfortable with you.

Rabbits Don’t Like to be Held

Most rabbits don’t really like to be held a lot and it can cause them stress if you pick them up often.

Your pet is scared that you will drop it at first, before you gain its trust.

Many rabbits don’t really like to be hugged either.

They think of it as being in a trap that they can’t escape and this will also cause them stress. After you gain your bunny’s trust, it may be a different story, but take it slowly.

Your furry friend doesn’t like to be alone for long periods of time.

If you work away from home and no one is there in the day, you might consider getting another bunny for a friend so they can keep each other company.

Stick to a routine with your rabbit, as they don’t put up with sudden changes very well.

If he knows what to expect and when to expect, your rabbit will become calmer and affectionate towards you.

After you’ve had your long-eared pet for a bit, you will learn what fresh greens are the favorite for a treat.

Keep these on hand and offer them to your rabbit when it’s having free playtime with you.

We’ve all heard the saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and the same is true for rabbits.

12 Signs Your Rabbit Is Showing Affection

Now let’s look at some signs that your rabbit is showing affection to you.

Your Rabbit is Grooming You

When rabbits have another of their own kind as a friend, they will most often bond with them and each will groom each other as well as themselves.

This makes for very clean bunnies indeed.

Rabbits groom themselves and others much like a cat does by licking and brushing the fur with their front feet.

They may nibble on a place in the fur that is stuck together too.

When your rabbit is very comfortable around you, he may also groom you. He will chew and nibble on you and may even lick you.

This is a great sign of affection and adoration towards you from your loving rabbit. It means that your rabbit accepts you as one of his own, so he takes care of you.

It’s fine to let them groom you as long as they are reminded not to get too rough and hurt you.

The occasional nip isn’t a negative sign, it’s actually part of the grooming session, but if it gets a bit rough, you should back away from the bunny and give it some space.

You can then give it attention by petting and some treats to encourage it to become more calm and sociable with you.

Showing Excitement Over Food and Treats

You know your rabbit loves you and is showing affection to you when you feed them or give them treats.

It’s not only because they are happy to have food, but they are truly happy to see you as well as the food or treats.

It shows that they enjoy eating their food, and they like the attention from you.

You can also enjoy a juicy carrot at the same time as you give your rabbit one to form an inseparable bond with him.

A Cuddling Bunny

As with other pets of all types, when your bunny wants to cuddle up with you, it’s a sign of their affection.

It also shows that they are completely happy and trust you.

Rabbits love to have their heads rubbed or their long and floppy ears massaged when they cuddle with their humans.

When they start to come to you for affection, you will find they will truly love this behavior as much as you do.

Playful Rabbits

Rabbits show their affection when they are playing too.

It’s especially great to make them a play area where they can jump and dig without destroying anything, as this can happen too.

A rabbit playpen is a great idea to fill with a box full of shredded paper.

You can hide some rabbit treats at the bottom of the box and watch as your furry friend digs and jumps in the box to find his tasty treats.

If your rabbit has been spayed or neutered, it is much less likely to destroy items by biting and clawing at them, such as furniture.

It’s best to have their play areas where they don’t have the ability to tear up your items just in case.

Cat Naps With You

When your bunny is very affectionate to you and comfortable with you entirely, it will be more than happy to cuddle up on the couch with you and take a nap.

You can either nap along with your rabbit or watch TV while your rabbit is feeling all warm and fuzzy, which also makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Rubbing Rabbits To Sleep

Rabbits love their humans to rub them on the tummy and especially between those long beautiful ears.

You can gently rub a rabbit at the base of the ears in the center of the head and actually put it to sleep if it’s very comfortable with you.

Also read: How to Make Your Rabbit Sleep at Night?

Rabbit Binkying Shows Affection

The first time you see your rabbit running very fast and then jumping in the air, you’ll wonder what on earth it’s thinking.

This is called binkying. It’s a rabbit behavior that shows it’s entirely happy to be in your company and a sign of true affection when it’s jumping for joy.

When you see this behavior, your bunny may have just had a tasty snack or you may just have let it out to play with you.

Whatever the case, don’t make any sudden movements or loud sounds or the binkying behavior will stop abruptly.

Rabbit Licking You

Rabbits lick during a grooming session just as cats do.

If they give you a lick, you should be very proud of yourself for having a rabbit that is a true lover and affectionate towards you.

It’s one of the highest forms of rabbit affection for humans.

If you are sitting on the floor, your furry friend might just come up to you and lick you on your hand or arm.

Or, he may be sitting next to you lounging on the couch and suddenly climbing into your lap and licking your hand or arm.

You can reinforce this bonding behavior by reciprocating affection to him with gentle rubs, tickles, and stroking him to return the act of grooming and bonding.

Bunny Flopping As Affection

Rabbits generally stay in a seated position even when they are happy and calm.

This is an age-old instinct perhaps to guard their bellies against being accessible when they were once in the wild.

Only a very relaxed and trusting bunny will flop. Flopping is when they lie down and are stretched out in all their glory.

Your furbaby may be lying stretched out like this and be taking a nap. You can go near it and sit in close proximity.

Your bunny may want to socialize with you or it may just want to be left alone, so look for signs of affection before engaging with a flopping bunny.

Head Butting You

Rabbits will often go up to a human that they really care about and give them a nudge with their head to ask the human to pet them.

They can also rub against you or even head butt you if your face is close to them. It’s a gentle head butting though.

All of these behaviors tell you that your furry pet is asking for your attention and love and it shows that you are very good friends for a rabbit to trust you this much.

It’s a way of putting their scent on you and getting your scent on them as they will associate your scent with their loving human friend.

Circling Your Feet

Rabbits will circle around the feet of a human to show they are their favorite in the family.

This is how they demonstrate that they want to play and they’re excited.

Sometimes it appears as if a circling rabbit is actually performing a dance that is specifically for you.

Rabbit Tooth Clicking

If your rabbit is completely content with you and your presence, it will make a slight tooth clicking sound which is the same as a cat purring when it is very happy.

This is also a sign of great affection towards a human.

Are Some Breeds More Affectionate Than Others?

Some rabbit breeds seem to be as a whole more affectionate than others, although even though you choose one of these breeds, you are not guaranteed to get a highly affectionate pet.

The Harlequin

Harlequin rabbits can be quite overbearing for a first-time bunny owner.

Harlequin rabbit

They love to cuddle with their family members and are generally very affectionate towards them.

They do demand to be the center of attention in your household at all times, so they can be a bit much for first-time owners.

The Jersey Wooly

Jersey Wooly rabbits are very laid back and would much rather cuddle on the couch than actually get on the floor and play with you.

Jersey Wooly

This is also a small breed of the rabbit as a dwarf, which may not be suitable if you have small children in the household.

The Holland Lop

Holland Lop rabbits have ears that flop downward instead of standing up straight on their heads as most rabbit breeds do.

Holland Lop

They are adorable and totally filled with fun and excitement.

They love their family just as much as they love to play too and will usually form a bond with one family member or more.

The Lionhead

Lionhead rabbits are unique in their appearance, as they have a wooly mane that surrounds their heads just as a lion does.

Lionhead Rabbits

This breed of rabbit loves to cuddle but is usually a bit nervous at first until it warms up to you and trusts you.

The Rex

Rex rabbits are happy to sit in your lap and they are very loyal as they bond mostly with only one human family member.

Rex Rabbit

They do not normally like to be held though, but prefer to be rubbed and petted.

The Chinchilla

Chinchilla rabbits have very thick and luxurious fur.

Chinchilla rabbit

They are very calm and docile rabbits and they love to cuddle and be held.

Final Thoughts

When you see that your rabbit really likes something you are doing, keep up this behavior to entice it to love you.

Rabbits are fastidious groomers, especially the longer-haired breeds, and most absolutely love it when you brush them as a method of bonding.

Remember to keep it calm and quiet in the presence of your bunny and don’t force your affection on them to result in a household pet that will rely on you and love you in return.

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