Rabbits are not known to be very loud creatures.
However, rabbits can often make a lot of noise by stomping, especially at night.
Rabbit owners often wonder why their precious bunny is so active at night and what this stomping behavior means.
If your rabbit is stomping at night, remember that this is entirely normal rabbit behavior and could mean a few things.
As a rabbit owner, it is your job to try and understand why your rabbit is stomping at night.
This article will explain why rabbits stomp in the first place and particularly why rabbits tend to stomp at night.
The article will outline what stomping behavior might signal and what you should do about it. So, let’s get into it!
Why Do Rabbits Stomp?
Rabbit stomping, otherwise known as thumping, is when a rabbit stomps its hind foot against the ground to make a considerable amount of noise.
In the wild, thumping in rabbits usually acts as a warning signal to other rabbits that there might be danger nearby.
Therefore, rabbits stomp their feet when they are afraid.
Since rabbits in the wild live in underground burrows, a rabbit on the surface will stomp its feet to warn its companions beneath the surface that there is a threat lurking close by and that they, therefore, should not come out.
Thumping can also act as a social way of expressing anger and frustration to other rabbits.
This kind of rabbit thumping can be seen in both wild and captive rabbits.
Moreover, pet rabbits, or domesticated rabbits, retain this instinctive behavior and often use it to get attention from their owner.
Why Is My Rabbit Stomping at Night?
If you find that your rabbit is stomping at night, ignoring it is not usually a good idea.
This is because you can never know for sure what could be causing your rabbit to be thumping at night unless you investigate.
There are about six major reasons why your rabbit is thumping at night.
Feels it’s in Danger
Your rabbit might be stomping at night because it’s sensing danger. Rabbits are very sensitive to their environment and can become agitated when they sense something is wrong.
If your rabbit is stomping at night, make sure there are no predators or other dangers lurking in the area.
Make sure your rabbit has a safe place to hide if needed and keep her cage clean so she feels comfortable and safe.
It may also stomp at night for they are spooked by a looming shadow or if they hear a sudden and creepy sound.
Anger / Rage
Rabbits may seem like docile creatures on the surface, but if they do get angry, they have no qualms about expressing this.
If you think your rabbit might be angry, try to figure out why and see if there’s anything you can do to help make him feel more comfortable.
Maybe it’s not getting enough exercise, or maybe it wants more time outside its cage.
If, for example, your rabbit is angry that it can’t leave the cage and do what it wants to do at night, it might become enraged and start stomping in anger.
Apart from something that has angered your loverly bunny, they may also thump in anger when they sense predators or danger. This is their way to intimidate predators or get them to back off.
Frustration or Stress
Many things might make your rabbit stressed enough to start thumping at night.
Perhaps your rabbit is unhappy with its current living situation, in which case you need to consider buying a more spacious enclosure.
There are a number of things that can cause stress in rabbits, such as changes in their environment, being around unfamiliar people or animals, or experiencing loud noises.
If you think that your rabbit might be stressed, there are a few things you can do to help ease their anxiety.
Some simple tips include providing your rabbit with a quiet place to escape to, adding new toys or items to their environment to help them explore, and making sure that they have plenty of fresh vegetables and water to eat.
If it’s something you can’t change (like having a new baby in the house), try to create a calm and soothing environment for your bunny.
Your rabbit may also be frustrated at night because it doesn’t like being ignored by you. Another reason could be that your bunny does like to be held and gets stressed when you do it often.
Playfulness and Attention Seeking
Foot stomping is a great way for a rabbit to get a human being’s attention, and a rabbit that has received attention as a result of stomping will know this better than anyone else.
If your rabbit’s energy levels are high at night, it may want to get out of the enclosure, play, and be petted by you.
To express that it wants your attention, a rabbit will then stomp its feet until it gets the attention it wants.
Rabbits do not make a lot of vocalizations, and the ones they do are nowhere near as loud as foot thumping. Therefore, it makes sense that rabbits use stomping as a warning signal and a means of getting attention.
Hungry and Asking for Food
Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so if you’re seeing them stomping around at night, they’re probably just looking for something to eat.
Rabbits cannot sit calmly like other pets and keep moving/running here and there.
They also wait for the food or when it’s time for them to play with you or go out of the cage for some exercise.
And when this doesn’t happen, they may try to let you know by thumping and stomping.
One way to help reduce this behavior is to make sure your rabbit has a constant supply of food available. You can also try feeding them higher-quality pellets or hay if they seem to be particular about their food.
If the problem persists, it might be a good idea to take them in for a check-up with your veterinarian.
Unusual Sounds or Unfamiliar Scents
Rabbits have evolved to be extremely careful of predators in the wild. So they are able to quickly sense danger when they hear unfamiliar sounds or smell unfamiliar scents.
Now there, of course, is no predator when you have them as pets, but they still continue to show that behavior.
So if you have been around a cat or a dog, your bunny may be able to sense the smell and get stressed, which can result in thumping and stomping.
Notably, even though it is always best to check up on a rabbit stomping at night, it is even more important to try and understand what to do about it.
Also read: How to Discipline a Rabbit?
How to Tell When a Rabbit is Thumping is for Attention?
As a rabbit owner, you need to be able to tell the difference between a rabbit thumping for attention and a rabbit thumping out of fear.
Rabbits who thump out of fear typically also display the following:
- They will have their ears angled forward and will look very alert
- Their eyes will be wide open
- They will have a very alert posture and look like they are about to run away
- They may ignore you as they try to locate the source of the apparent threat
- They will continue thumping even as you move closer to them
On the other hand, rabbits who thump for attention typically display the following:
- Have will have their ears angled back
- Their body posture will be confident but not alert
- They will thump once to see if you react and then a second time if you don’t respond
- They will cease thumping as soon as your start giving them attention
- They will look at your while thumping and be responsive when you move closer
What to Do If My Rabbit Is Stomping at Night
If your rabbit is stomping at night, it is important to check up on it and try to investigate what could be causing this behavior.
If you suspect that your rabbit is stomping because it is scared, try to discern what could be spooking it.
Maybe remove objects causing any looming shadows, or close the windows to let in less noise from the outside.
If you suspect that your rabbit is thumping out of fear, you can create a hiding space for them within their enclosure.
This will give them a makeshift burrow where they can feel safer at night if they get spooked.
On the other hand, if you suspect that your rabbits are thumping at night for attention, it is best not to provide them with the attention they want.
This will only train your rabbit to believe that it can get what it wants by thumping, which will only lead to more thumping.
Instead, try to ignore your rabbit’s cries for attention until they realize that thumping isn’t going to work for them any longer.
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