Rabbits are friendly creatures that love to be around people. They can even become quite the social butterflies, especially if they have friends and family members at their enclosure each day. While rabbits are outwardly affectionate, they can also communicate with their handlers in a much subtler way.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ways that rabbits show affection, you’ll be surprised by how many little clues exist to indicate that your rabbit is happy and loved. Affection is one of the most common forms of communication between people and animals.
Look for signs like these when your rabbit wants to show you that they’re happy:
How Do Rabbits Show Affection?
I. Chewing and Slobbering
One of the first and most common signs that your rabbit is happy is the sound of chewing. Rabbits have been shown to have a hardwired need for chewing, and they’ll often get stressed or bored when they don’t have anything to gnaw on.
If your rabbit is chewing on something like a branch or a toy, start smelling the gnawing to determine if they’re actually eating the item. If they’re just gnawing on the object because they want to gnaw, they’ll be less likely to be happy if you correct them.
However, if they’re chewing on something because they want to chew, they’ll be very happy to see you. Try bringing a treat or snack that can be chewed on for hours without needing to be swallowed.
II. Jumping up and Down
Part of being happy is being bouncy! Rabbits are the quintessential “bun in the oven” breed—they’re small, bouncy, and prone to jumping at random times. If your rabbit is jumping around and enthusiastic, they could simply be very happy to see you.
However, if your rabbit is jumping with a gusto that borders on frantic, you may need to take them to the vet for a checkup. Excessive jumping can be a symptom of a medical problem like hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an endocrine disease that affects the thyroid gland. This gland controls metabolism, heart rate, and a number of other essential bodily functions.
If your rabbit has symptoms of hyperthyroidism, they may be jumping to excess, or they may also have a faster appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, and a tendency to groom excessively. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your rabbit to the vet immediately. The sooner they receive treatment, the better their chances of recovery.
III. Tail Swinging
Another happy sign is tail swinging. Rabbits groom their tails constantly, meaning that it is likely that your rabbit is happy to see you if they are swinging their tail. Fortunately, most rabbits swing their tails when they’re happy, and swinging their tail is a relatively easy activity for them to do.
If your rabbit is happy just to have its tail swung back and forth, try shaking a treat on your wrist so that it stays insight when you move around.
If your rabbit is happy to have its tail swung back and forth, or if they’re happy to have your hand instead, try using a treat ball to tie your tail-wagging rabbit to something while they’re free to nibble on the treat ball. This will keep your rabbit busy and give you a moment to interact with your other pets, or to do some other activities.
IV. Rubbing against You
Rabbits are social animals that enjoy human interaction. If your rabbit is rubbing against you, they may simply be signalling that they want to be petted. However, rabbits can also be very affectionate by pressing their soft, squishy faces against you.
Rabbits often rub against their handlers when they want to be picked up or cuddled. If your rabbit wants to be picked up, try gently reaching for your rabbit and placing them gently in your arms. You can offer your rabbit some soothing words or a small treat while they relax in your arms.
Try holding your rabbit for short periods of time before putting them back on the floor. This will allow them to relax enough to be happy again if they are just being affectionate.
V. Play-Fighting with Toys
When rabbits are happy, they will often play with toys. Rabbits love to play, and they’re often seen wrestling with plush toys, chewable treats, or other durable objects. If your rabbit enjoys raking their teeth against a toy, it may simply be happy to see you.
However, if your rabbit is vigorous and determined, it may be trying to get a toy back from you. Try holding control of the toy while your rabbit is allowed to briefly play with the toy. If your rabbit wants a toy back, try gently putting the toy away while your rabbit is allowed to continue enjoying the toy. This will help your rabbit to be happy while letting you keep the toys.
VI. Bringing You Gifts
Bunnies are often regarded as “gift-bearing creatures,” and your rabbit may be happy to bring you small gifts. Rabbits often pick up small items like seeds or nuts off of the floor and drop them into your hand when they see you.
If your rabbit is happy to give you these gifts, try to take them back to your pets to help them to be happy again.
Do Rabbits Like to be Cuddled?
This is a question that can stump even the most knowledgeable rabbit owner. While some rabbits may love to be held and petted, others will not show much interest in being stroked or cuddled. The reasons why this might vary from individual to individual.
How Do You Know If Your Rabbit Likes to be Cuddled?
Here are several things you can look for. If your rabbit is an escape artist that loves to run and hide, then it’s unlikely he will enjoy being held.
However, if he’s more of an affectionate bunny that likes human interaction, then it’s more likely he will respond well to cuddles. Here are four clues that your rabbit may like being cuddled:
I. The Rabbit Goes Limp and Folds Into your Arms
If your rabbit goes limp when you pick them up or comes to you when you call them, they might be seeking constant affection. Rabbits are social animals and they enjoy being around others.
You can pick them up, cuddle them, and stroke them whenever they’re in a relaxed state. They might appreciate it and relax even more when they see their human is paying attention to them.
II. The Rabbit Sits On Your Lap and Purrs
If your rabbit sits on your lap and purrs like a motor, it means that he’s either in a very affectionate state or he’s just really, really comfortable with you. Rabbits are very social animals and they love to be around people.
They will often seek physical contact to let people know they’re comfortable, which is why many pet owners report that their rabbits purr when they’re sitting on their laps.
III. The Rabbit Comes to you When you Call
If your rabbit comes running when you call them, they are a very affectionate bunch. Rabbits are social animals, just like dogs and cats, and they like being around people.
They might come to you at any time if you call them. If you’ll let them get used to you first, they can be great pets.
Should Rabbits Be Touch Trained?
Many people are under the misconception that rabbits need to be touch trained. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, rabbits don’t need to be trained at all with handling them. The misconception about touch training comes from people who have handled pet rabbits for a short period of time.
Some people don’t understand how rabbits are social animals who naturally enjoy being handled. There are many benefits of touch training a rabbit. Rabbits are clean animals. They do not like to groom themselves and they are very smelly.
If you handle your rabbit regularly, you’ll notice that they don’t smell as bad. In fact, they’ll start to smell like a clean animal that has been handled often! Touch training your rabbit is also beneficial because they don’t have bodies like cats and dogs.
They are much less likely to try and escape when being handled. Most rabbits enjoy being stroked, pinched, petted and carried around.
Are Rabbits Assholes If They Don’t Want to Be Hugged?
When it comes to cuddling and hugging, rabbits are pretty tame animals. They generally love to be held and cuddled. If you want to learn how to hug a rabbit, you can gently place them in your arms and hold them close to your chest. If you want to learn how to hug a rabbit, you can gently place them in your arms and hold them close to your chest.
If your rabbit isn’t too shy, they may even nuzzle up against you and attempt to groom you. When it comes to hugging a rabbit, be careful not to squeeze them too tightly. You don’t want to hurt them in any way.
You should also make sure that your hands aren’t covered in cat or rabbit fur before you touch them.
How to Teach a Rabbit to Love Being Pet
There are a few different ways to teach a rabbit to love being petted and cuddled. When you first bring your rabbit home, spend some time gently petting them to let them know that you like being close to them.
Place your chin on their back so that you are gently breathing in their scent and make sure to stroke their fur. If you’re new to petting rabbits, it can be helpful to watch Youtube videos that teach you how to gently pet rabbits. If you’re learning how to pet a friend’s rabbit, make sure to ask them which parts of their body they enjoy being petted on.
If you’re trying to teach a bunny to love being petted, you’ll need to gently stroke its back, sides, and neck. You can also gently stroke their sides while they are lying down. The best time to teach your rabbit to love being petted is when they are calm and relaxed.
Rabbits are affectionate and social creatures that love to spend time with their owners. If your rabbit is happy to see you, they may simply be excited to be back in your company.
However, there are also many other ways that your rabbit may be showing you that they are happy, such as by jumping around, chewing, and rubbing against you. Follow the signs of happiness to keep your rabbit happy and in tune with your home.