Rabbits are one of the few mammals that can communicate through thumping. They use this form of communication to show excitement, fear and aggression. If you live with a rabbit, you’ll know that they often express their emotions by thumping. You may even start to recognize your rabbit’s unique thumping rhythm.
Rabbits hit for a number of reasons: stress, boredom, loneliness or as a territorial response. Rabbits are curious about everything and will investigate anything new that enters their territory—including other rabbits. To them, this is a challenge to see if their opponent can match their strength and resolve.
If another rabbit whacks your rabbit back, it will leave them alone in future. However, if your rabbit encounters the same challenge again, it will respond aggressively by hitting back harder the next time with no mercy whatsoever for its attacker! Not sure why your rabbit thumps? Read on…
Why Does My Rabbit Thump?
There are many reasons why a rabbit will thump its feet. It could be as simple as wanting to feel something soft underfoot or as complex as being startled by another rabbit passing nearby. One common cause is anxiety from isolation; if you keep your rabbit alone for long periods of time then it’s likely that it will begin to show signs of stress like banging on furniture or digging compulsively.
Rabbits also thump their feet when strangers come near them so they don’t feel threatened by someone they don’t know. Another reason is boredom because when you don’t have anything to stimulate your brain then it starts working on other things like going over old memories or daydreaming about things you once had but lost.
These are only some examples and not every case is the same, but if you notice your pet thumping their feet more often than usual then there might be cause for concern. Many times this isn’t an issue unless the rabbit becomes stressed out from isolation or loneliness and begins thrashing around in panic.
Why Does My Rabbit Thump When It’s Stressed?
If your rabbit thumps when it is stressed, it is likely feeling overwhelmed by its environment. Rabbits have different stress responses to different things. For example, rabbits are more stressed out by people than by other rabbits.
Stressed rabbits also produce more droppings and urine than unstressed rabbits. If your rabbit is being chased by a dog, a bird or a larger rabbit, thumping is one of the rabbit’s methods of escape.
You can help your rabbit feel less stressed by placing it in a safe spot away from the threat. You can also try to distract your rabbit by offering treats so that it forgets about the stressful situation.
Why Does My Rabbit Thump When It’s Bored?
Bored rabbits often thump when they are alone. Sometimes this is due to a lack of stimulation in the rabbit’s environment. If your rabbit has plenty of toys and treats available, it will not be boring.
You can also try sprinkling some lavender, catnip or oregano on the ground to liven things up for your rabbit. If the rabbit is bored, it may take the initiative to get some exercise by climbing on a chair or jumping from a shelf.
For a bored rabbit, this is a great way to burn off some excess energy. If your rabbit is bored, try changing its environment by switching its litter box or lining its food bowl with fresh hay.
Why Does My Rabbit Thump When It’s Lonely?
Rabbits are social animals. They prefer to be with their own kind. If your rabbit is alone, it may thump to get attention. You can help your rabbit feel less lonely by offering it companionship.
If your rabbit is friendly with your other pets, it may welcome the company of another rabbit. If your rabbit is male and is not neutered, it may become lonely if you are not home during the day.
You can help your rabbit feel less lonely by placing a pen in its cage so that you can see it when you’re at work. You can also try to make your rabbit’s environment seem more stimulating by adding a climbing tube or some chew toys
Why Does My Rabbit Thump When It’s Territorial?
It is completely normal for a rabbit to show signs of territorial thumping. If your rabbit is thumping, it is likely expressing its dominance over the area. You can help prevent territorial thumping by cleaning your rabbit’s cage regularly and providing plenty of hiding places for your rabbit to explore.
You can also try to break up any territorial fighting by letting your rabbits see each other in the cage and by offering treats for them to compete for. If your rabbit is thumping, do not attempt to move it. Instead, offer your rabbit a treat so that it will learn that the thumping is a behaviour and not an aggressive response.
Tips for Coping With Your Rabbit’s Thumping Behavior
- Clean your rabbit’s cage regularly. If your rabbit has a clean, empty cage, it will feel more comfortable.
- Prevent fights between rabbits by placing them in the same cage. – Give your rabbit toys to play with so that it will have something to do.
- Offer your rabbit treats so that it will learn that it is the winner in a fight.
- Let your rabbit see other rabbits in the cage so that it will realize that it is dominant over the area.
- Introduce the bunny to some basic training so that it will get used to having a schedule.
- Neutering your rabbit can be helpful in preventing fighting.
- Speak to your rabbit in a loud, proud voice when you have it in the cage. Your rabbit will respond to your voice with body language.
When Should I Worry About My Rabbit Thumping Their Feet?
Before we get into what behaviour causes thumping we should talk about when it is abnormal. If your rabbit is thumping their feet all day, every day then you should probably talk to a vet about it. This is not normal for rabbits.
Rabbits should be active, not couch potatoes. If your rabbit is too sedentary then check with your vet because it might be ill and you’re just not noticing it.
Other reasons to discuss the behaviour of thumping with your vet are if it seems to be getting worse or if your rabbit is showing signs of pain such as self-mutilation or a swollen foot.
How To Stop Rabbits From Thumping Their Feet
The first step is to determine why your rabbit is thumping their feet. If you’re sure that your rabbit isn’t in pain or that they just want to feel something soft then you can simply give them something soft to walk on or let them dig in your garden. If it’s something else then you’ll have to find a way to stop it.
One is to keep your rabbit in a company and interact with it as much as possible. This can be as simple as giving it treats every five minutes or letting it play with a favourite toy.
Another way is to try distracting it with other rabbits or other animals in the house. Noise from a vacuum cleaner, another rabbit, or the vacuum itself could be enough to distract it from thumping. If these methods don’t work then you’ll have to resort to something a little more drastic.
Do Rabbits Thump Their Feet in Pain?
Some pain in a rabbit is normal but if the pain is constant then it might be something more serious. Pain in a rabbit can be caused by a swollen foot, a twisted foot, an injury, or even broken bones.
If thumping is a constant part of your rabbit’s activity then talk to your vet about it. If you notice signs of pain in your rabbit such as self-mutilation, limping, or a swollen foot then it’s important to get it checked out right away.
Rabbits thump their feet because they’re expressing their emotions, they’re exploring their surroundings, or they’re just plain bored. Thumping is normal and your rabbit shouldn’t be restricted in their movements.
In fact, rabbits should be allowed to explore their environment with their noses, lips, and paws. When thumping becomes a problem then try some of the suggestions listed above to help them feel better.
If that doesn’t work then your rabbit might be in pain or showing signs of stress from isolation or loneliness. If these things aren’t the case then you’ll just have to wait for them to thump their feet again.