We all love our rabbits. But have you ever wondered if our rabbits love us back? It’s the curious case of whether the emotions and love we feel for our bunny are equally returned by the bunny.
So the question is, can a rabbit feel love?
The answer is yes. While rabbits can’t talk, they do exhibit behavior and characteristics showing that they do understand the concept of love. However, the way rabbits show love may or may not be too obvious if you’re new to rabbits. They can nuzzle, jump, lick, flop, nudge, groom you, circle you, and more.
Understanding your rabbit is one of the first steps in identifying its way of showing affection. And this sense of affection can span across both humans and other rabbits as well.
Let’s talk about all the signs rabbits will display to show you that they love you.
Rabbits are affectionate creatures
Before we get into the, let’s dive into a rabbit’s psyche. Rabbits are social creatures and they thrive off being surrounded by others.
In the wild, rabbits live together in a clan known as a fluffle, colony nest, warren, or even herd. Each word is slightly distinct in its own way, but understand that they all signify a group of rabbits.
In this group, they love and care for each other. They are a family and they will even mourn loss between one another. They trust each other.
Similar to humans, if you meet your rabbit for the first time, they start off as shy. After learning to build trust with you, your rabbit will begin to lick, groom and jump for joy in your presence. This is how rabbits begin to show their love for you.
What do rabbits do to show their love for you?
Below is an exhaustive list of actions or ways your rabbit may show you that it does love you.
Your rabbit will be binkying around you
Have you ever noticed your rabbit jumping for joy when you’re around? It would run up to you, and leap into the air with both front paws anchored to your legs. This is known as binkying.
It’s your rabbit’s way of showing that it’s excited to see youand it could not keep its emotions together.
This is your chance to pet and play with your rabbit because that’s what it’s expecting.
Your rabbit will nuzzle with you
While being binkying may coincide with both exciting and love, nuzzling is considered a true sign of affection. Nuzzling is when your rabbit rubs or gently pushes up against you with its nose and mouth.
Your rabbit may even attempt to groom you by nipping at you. Being involved in grooming is a very powerful form of bonding for rabbits.
Be wary that if your rabbit nips a little too hard, it may be frustrated rather than showing you love. It’s a very difficult behavior to distinguish until the nipping begins to hurt. If you sense that your rabbit is actually frustrated instead of lovingly nuzzling with you, the best thing to do is to give it some space. Counter it with affection, treats, and food.
Your rabbit will lick you
Licking is somewhere in the realm of grooming and is a very distinct method of affection your rabbit might show you.
If you feel that your rabbit is licking you, chances are, it loves you dearly. It loves you so much that it sees you has a member of its own and it’s completely relaxed around you.
Like most animals, licking each other is a social form of affection among groups of the same species. It’s not uncommon to see one species lick another species. It just means that the animal doing the licking has chosen to make the recipient a trusted part of it’s circle.
Your rabbit will flop around you
By flop, we mean that your rabbit is so comfortable that it will flat on the floor stretched out. This leaves your rabbit completely vulnerable. Choosing to be intentionally vulnerable is a sign of trust and love.
When flopped, you’re rabbit is completely relaxed around you. This means that it doesn’t feel threatened nor worried about any dangers.
Your rabbit will nudge you
Another common sign of affection is the act of nudging. Nudging is when your rabbit gently presses its head, face, or body on you.
Rabbits love to rub onto the ones they care about. It’s a playful sign as well as an affectionate one.
While rubbing on and nudging, you may notice that your rabbit sways back and forth. It’s almost as if it’s rubbing something off on you. This is likely it’s scent.
As trust builds up between you, and your rabbit starts to learn that it’s safe around you, it may try to incorporate you into its “friends list” by rubbing it’s scent on you.
It’s like marking a territory and claiming it to be yours. This is basically your rabbits method of telling the world that you are its friend.
Your rabbit will groom you
Grooming is a social event between two individuals who have gained a strong bond for each other. In the wild, you’ll likely see a group of rabbits participating in groom one another. This sort of action is normally seen between adult rabbits, parents and their litter, sibiliings, and rabbits in the same colony.
Grooming is the process of removing dirt, insects, entangled fur and it helps keep the rabbits physical health conditions good.
It’s an inate method that’s grinded into a rabbit’s mind that and it’s used to help protect the other rabbit that it’s grooming.
Now, if you find that your rabbit is grooming you instead, whether it be your close or your hair, you’ll definitely know for certain that your rabbit loves you.
It’s a good idea to pet your rabbit as much as possible. They will likely take this into account and return the favor, starting with licking and then onwards to full blown grooming.
Your rabbit will circle you
Running circles around a certain person, animal, or object is another motion that rabbits do to show their content.
You can take this as some sort of excitement dance where they can run about your in a circular fashion or even criss cross between your legs in a figure 8 way.
You may even notice sound coming from your rabbit during the act. It’s mostly a cry of joy or excitement and can sometimes be construed with love in its own right.
You’ll especially see this behavior when your rabbit is expecting you to bring it food.
Your rabbit will want to be a pet by you
Another form of love you might experience from your rabbit is whenever your rabbit is trying to get you to pet it.
For rabbits, asking someone to pet it is a sign that it really trusts you. And that sprouts from the love and happiest it get from you as well.
How do you know when a rabbit wants to be petted? It will simply come up to you, nudge you or do something to grab your attention and it will lower its head waiting for you to pet it. I do recommend that if possible, you place your rabbit on your lap and pet it at the same time as well.
Bringing your rabbit closer to your warmth while petting it is a bonding process your rabbit will almost surely enjoy.
Your rabbit will purr when you pet it
Purring is a communication method rabbits use to show that they really enjoy something or in other words, display love.
Purring is a for rabbits is when they vibrate in a way that produces a clear subtle sound. This action means that your rabbit is completely enjoying whatever it is you’re doing. It also means that it’s totally relaxed.
A lot of the time when you witness this, your rabbit will probably be really close to you either nudging you or laying on you.
Your rabbit will come up and sit on your lap
Trust has always been a major factor in love. I mean, when you talk about love, you have to talk about trust as well. That’s especially true when it comes to rabbits and their bond to you or other rabbits.
Having a rabbit deliberately come up to you and find itself on your lap is probably the pinnacle of trust for rabbits.
The first time you experience this, is most likely the time you’ll never forget.
Now let me warn you though, there’s a big difference between picking up your rabbit and placing it on your lap versus your rabbit climbing onto your lap on its own.
It is a very rare occasion to experience a rabbit climbing up on your lap and resting on you, but they do exist.
How to gain love from your rabbit
Rabbits are originally creatures of prey and so if something or someone outside of its circle comes into contact, it will naturally try to avoid it. It’s just the innate instincts of a rabbit to stay away from anything that might potentially be a predator including new rabbits and humans who it’s not familiar with.
Here are a few tips on gaining the trust and love of your new rabbit.
- Don’t be loud, it could startle and scare your rabbit.
- Rabbits need lots of room. Make sure they get plenty of space to roam.
- Rabbits don’t often like to be held.
- Keep your rabbit healthy with a balanced diet of hay, veggies, fruits and pellets. A healthy rabbit is a happy rabbit and that will reflect in ease of its opinions on you.
- Give your rabbits treats of dry fruits and veggies. They love to eat sweets.
- Interact with your rabbit. Pet it often. Play with it often. Learn its habits and let it see you as often as possible.
- Sit on the floor when playing with your rabbit. Don’t stand over them.
It can take a while for a rabbit to properly trust you as a stranger. However, the bond you form with your rabbit today will continue to thrive and increase as long as you continue to show your rabbit your love for it.
The bottom line
Creating a bond between your rabbit and yourself can be a magical journey. Building a bond with your rabbit can last a lifetime.
In order to understand how a rabbit portrays love, you’ve got to know the signs. A rabbit has several methods that show love. Everything from wanting to be petted, to jumping for joy, or sitting on your lap are but only a few things a rabbit will show you if it loves you.
Rabbits love being around others and they get their happiness from other rabbits or the people around it.
These furry friends crave attention and so it’s important we give them the attention they need to grow that bond of love with us.
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