Rabbits are, without a doubt, one of the most adorable creatures that you could keep as pets.
Not only are they very loving and playful animals, but rabbits are also highly communicative.
However, at times, rabbits can get angry, and often they express their anger or frustration by making grunting noises.
Since many rabbit owners are unsure about whether rabbits make any sounds, to begin with, one thing they often ask is, ‘why is my rabbit grunting at me?’
Your rabbit can be grunting at you because of stress and depression, hunger, feeling under-confident, noise, pain, fear, anger, lack of attention, loneliness, fight with other rabbits, and internal infections.
This article will discuss why rabbits grunt, outlining what this specific behavior means and what you can do about it.
Why do Rabbits Grunt?
If your rabbit is grunting, this most likely means that they are angry and frustrated about something.
The sound that rabbits make when they grunt is exactly what the word sounds like.
Grunting is a blunt nasal sound, not dissimilar to the sound that ducks make.
However, a grunting rabbit is usually a sign that your rabbit is either frustrated by something, or in some cases, threatened by something.
There are all kinds of reasons that could make your pet rabbit feel angry or frustrated.
Regardless, you should be aware of when your rabbit is grunting so that you can try and understand what the underlying reason might be.
You may be under the impression that your rabbit will calm down if left alone for a little while.
However, this may not work every time. Often, a grunting rabbit may be angry or frustrated enough to start boxing with its paws, or worse, biting.
Therefore, if your rabbit is grunting, you should try your best to observe your rabbit and discern what could be causing them to feel angry, threatened, or frustrated.
The quicker you can heed your pet rabbit’s grunts and do something about it, the quicker your rabbit can go back to living a more peaceful and happy life.
Why is My Rabbit Grunting at Me?
If you find that your rabbit is grunting whenever you interact with it, you may have a hard pill to swallow because the chances are that your rabbit is grunting at you.
If this is the case, your rabbit could be angry or frustrated by you or by something that you did.
There could potentially be many reasons for this, but the most common reasons why your rabbit may be grunting at you are as follows.
Sometimes, some rabbits do not appreciate it when you rearrange their cages while cleaning.
This may cause them to feel annoyed and frustrated, and since they are well aware that it was you who rearranged their cage, they will likely take out their frustration on you by grunting whenever you are around.
Moreover, it can be quite easy to accidentally or inadvertently offend a rabbit since they may not always understand when we do something nice for them.
For example, when cleaning out a rabbit’s hutch, the rabbit may interpret your actions as an invasion into their territory, which would cause them to feel threatened.
Further, the act of removing some toxic or moldy food item from their cage could easily be interpreted by the rabbit as you stealing their snack.
This, again, would obviously make them very annoyed at you.
Another reason why your rabbit might be grunting at you is that you removed your rabbit’s access to dangerous items such as electric cables, which many small animals, including rabbits, love to nibble on.
In this case, your rabbit may interpret the action as you depriving them of their favorite toy.
Your rabbit may also feel frustrated by you if you return it to its hutch for its own safety, possibly if they are causing some trouble or knocked something over while running and jumping around.
Your rabbit may interpret this action as you depriving it of playtime and socializing, and this could be not very pleasant for it.
If you have other pets in the home, like a cat, dog, or birds, and show affection to them often, as you should, your rabbit might interpret this as an act of favoritism.
This could make your rabbit angry at you, and if so, they will express this anger by grunting at you.
Lastly, and this one is as strange as it is common, your rabbit may feel frustrated at you because it may feel that you aren’t treating it as its equal.
Like other mammalian creatures, rabbits do not consider us to be their superiors and usually consider us to be equals to them.
Therefore, if you treat your rabbit as the beloved pet that it is, as you most likely will, your rabbit may interpret this as treating it as a subordinate.
While this may surely frustrate some rabbits, whether or not this will make your rabbit grunt at you comes down to the rabbit’s individual personality.
What to Do If My Rabbit Is Grunting?
The first thing you should do when your rabbit is grunting, especially if you feel they are grunting at you, is to stop what you’re doing and try to observe the rabbit’s behavior.
Ask yourself, what is my rabbit grunting at? Did my rabbit start grunting when I started or stopped a particular behavior?
For example, most rabbits love to be pat on the head and rubbed on their chins. Sometimes, they may grunt because you stopped patting them, and they want you to keep going.
In other circumstances, your rabbit may be grunting because it just doesn’t want to be patted right now.
You should also ask yourself whether there is an observable pattern to your rabbit’s grunting behavior.
Is your rabbit grunting at the same time of day as yesterday and the day before? Is your rabbit grunting at a specific thing?
If you find that there is a discernable pattern to when, where, and why your rabbit is grunting, you should heed your beloved pet’s cries of annoyance and do something about it sooner rather than later.
This is because if there is a pattern to your rabbit’s grunting behavior, this might mean that they are spending a lot of their time feeling angry, annoyed, frustrated, or threatened.
In this case, their anger might get the better of them, and the next time you don’t do anything about it, they may resort to boxing, or worse, nipping.
For starters, when your bunny rabbit is grunting, the first thing you should do is stop whatever it is you are doing and use a calm, soothing voice to reassure them that everything is alright.
Remember that grunting means a rabbit is not happy with your behavior and not you as a person, so don’t take it personally.
Try to figure out if there is a specific behavior that they might be interpreting as a threat.
Moreover, try to discern whether your rabbit may be bored or lonely.
Rabbits are highly social and playful creatures, and often, much of their frustration can be alleviated if they have some bunny company.
Above all, you should remember that rabbits can take a while to unlearn certain traits and behaviors, and so if they have a habit of grunting at certain things that can’t be avoided, it is up to you to help them unlearn this behavior over time.
Again, when your rabbit starts grunting, use a calm, soothing, and reassuring voice to show them that everything is okay.
Most importantly, you will need to exercise some patience and persistence and do this every time they start grunting at you.
Over time, they should start disassociating the specific action with their persistent feelings of anger and frustration.
Is Rabbit Grunting Something to be Worried About?
If you find that your rabbit grunts once in a while on occasion, this is not really something to be worried about.
At the very least, this is an indication that your rabbit is annoyed at a very specific thing, and it should be your job to discern what that specific thing is.
However, if you find that your rabbit is grunting very often, this could be a cause for concern.
It is possible that your rabbit is grunting because it is physically ill and is trying to express its frustration to you about this.
If you suspect that this is the case, take your rabbit to the vet for a health checkup as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if your rabbit is grunting very often, this could be a sign that your rabbit is mentally stressed for some reason.
There are multiple reasons why your rabbit could be undergoing mental stress, and it is your job as the rabbit owner to discern what the specific cause could be as soon as possible.
Your rabbit may be feeling bored or lonely.
Alternatively, your rabbit could be unhappy with its current living situation. Either way, it is up to you to figure it out before it becomes a cause for too much worry.
If your rabbi’s grunting goes unheeded, this could only make them more frustrated and annoyed at you.
In this case, a grunting rabbit may be something to worry about because if your rabbit feels that its grunts are going unnoticed, it may resort to more aggressive behavior next time, such as boxing or even nipping.
A bite from a rabbit could be very dangerous and is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Therefore, while you shouldn’t necessarily be worried every time your rabbit grunts, it is something you should certainly take seriously in order to avoid even worse behavior on your rabbit’s part.
Common Rabbits Noises to Know
You may be under the impression that rabbits are quiet creatures that don’t make a lot of noises.
However, rabbits are very socially communicative animals and make a bunch of different noises, each one of which means a different thing.
Below are some of the most common rabbit noises to know about.
Often referred to as a rabbit’s version of purring, tooth clicking is a noise that rabbits make when they are expressing their pleasure or contentment.
This noise is usually made by the rabbit when it is being petted or stroked and is a sign that your bunny is very relaxed.
Honking is the second most common rabbit noise after grunting and is a sound made most commonly by un-neutered male rabbits.
Honking is an indication that your male rabbit wants to mate and is often accompanied by repetitive circling, which is thought to be a mating behavior.
If you have more than one rabbit, you may hear this sound also as an expression of excitement and eagerness, especially when the two rabbits chase each other around.
Both male and female rabbits make honking noises and often do so at their owner while sitting at or circling around their feet, thereby indicating excitement.
Tooth grinding is a noise that you should hope you never have to hear your rabbit make.
Tooth grinding is not a good indication as it is usually a sign that your rabbit is in some severe discomfort or pain.
The noise is usually accompanied by your rabbit sitting hunched over in the corner of their cage or hutch.
If you find your rabbit making a tooth-grinding sound, you should take it to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible.
Thumping is a sound made not by a rabbit’s mouth but by the thumping of their hind legs against the ground.
This rabbit noise, made famous by the rabbit named Thumper in the film Bambi, has various meanings and depending on the context, it can be either an alarm call or a cry for attention.
In the wild, rabbits most often thump when they are trying to raise the alarm about something they have heard or seen.
Free-roaming wild rabbits, therefore, thump more often than pet rabbits, as there are more dangers to be wary of in a rabbit’s natural environment.
Other articles you may also like: