Do rabbits make any sounds?

  • I'm considering a pet rabbit and I am wondering about noise issues.

    If dogs bark and cats meow, do rabbits make any noises, or are they silent?

  • Rabbits make a variety of sounds. The following are the most significant.

    The loudest normal sound is non-vocal: foot stomps. Anyone who has seen Thumper in the Disney movie is familiar with this action. The bunny will stomp one of their powerful back legs. It conveys extreme displeasure or sends a warning of danger. I usually refer to it as bunny profanity.

    Possibly the loudest sound is screaming or crying. It sounds like a human baby in pain. Hopefully you will never hear it. The rabbit is likely in extreme pain, or in fear for its life.

    Quieter than a dog and maybe about the same volume as a cat, growling is used to express displeasure and request avoidance ("keep away from my stuff!"). In some rabbits, it can be a warning; if you are unfamiliar with the rabbit, assume it means the same thing as a cat or dog. Some of the smaller breeds, particularly the Lionhead types, will use it for communication ("I want my treat NOW!"). If I am working with a growling rabbit at the shelter, I use caution. If he is Tigger, our Lionhead, I will nuzzle his nose with mine and tell him to stop.

    The nicest noise is teeth chittering, sometimes called purring; a rabbit will click its back teeth together in a pleasant little noise. The rabbit is very content and has probably either melted on your lap or is laying next to you. Your bunny loves what you're doing; don't stop.

    Rabbits run in the 35-to-40 mph range, and they can get to top speed in your living room. There is a bit of noise when they move at this speed, which can include jumping on or over furniture. This will only be seen on high traction surfaces like carpet, and it is a sight to watch. Usually they will have completed before you can get your camera running.

    They will eat hay, drink from the water bottle (bowls are much quieter), dig in the litter box, and make other sounds of life. They will also do these things while you're sleeping. If you need absolute quiet at night, a rabbit is not the pet for you. For the normal individual, the sounds are not bothersome.

    Unless you have a very thumpy bunny and you live in an upstairs apartment, it is unlikely anyone will hear your bunny outside of your home. We take our rabbits camping all the time; they stay in the camper (with the air conditioner on for hot weather), and even the fussiest neighbor has no barking, growling or howling to complain of.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM