As a bunny momma, sometimes my bunnies exhibit strange behaviors in public, and people always seem to think something is wrong with them. Well that's just not true! They're just speaking to them like any rabbit would, and most people just don't speak rabbit. So I wanted to start bringing little bits of bunny body language to you, so we can decode and better understand our rabbit friends.
After adopting your first (or adding another!) rabbit to your family, you have to (re)learn all of the differing body language ques that they may give. And not each bunny is the same, just like no two children are the same. For instance, Maylene digs in the yard or her cage out of happiness, while Claudia digs out of frustration and anger. It just takes a bit of time and patience to understand what your bun is trying to get across to you.
I figure we'd start this first installment with the most basic, and the most strange looking, bunny behavior: The Binky.
No, we're not talking about a pacifier for your rabbit, but rather a random assortment of running, flipping, hopping, and jumping that takes place when a bunny is happy. Watch the video below to better understand what I mean.
There were quite a few behaviors we'll be covering in the next few weeks in this video, so I may refer back to it from time to time.
As you could see, the Binky is impossible to mistake for anything else, and the first time you see one you will probably wonder if the poor thing is having a convulsion. When a rabbit binkies, it jumps into the air and twists its head and body in opposite directions (sometimes twice) before falling back to the ground. This can be done while standing in one place, or while running, which is really weird looking, and is sometimes called the "happy bunny dance." A rabbit can even turn 360 degrees in midair. It can also bewhn your rabbit goes into a dead run from a stand still, a quick little hop, a flip, a dive off something high followed by an all out run, a zooming through one room after the next, or around you at breakneck speed, etc. All this is a rabbit's way of telling you straight out that it is happy and overall pleased with you and its life. Some rabbits binky a lot and some hardly at all, even if they are being treated well. Everyone has their own temperament, like I said before.
A common variation is the half-binky, also called a head flick or ear flick. Instead of twisting the whole body, just the head is quickly turned sideways and back. This is still a pretty impressive sight in a creature with ears longer than its head! A head flick can be performed while running, or when sitting in place. A head flick is similar in meaning to a shudder, but is a little more playful and silly.
Now, rabbits are very 'proud' animals, meaning they take offence easily and with withdraw if not spoken back to. That means in every language they know, including theirs. That means if they binky for you, you'd better binky back! Sounds silly, but trust me, it's not that bad, and your relationship with your rabbit will be so much better for it.
If you want to go for the full binky, your rabbit will understand if you jump up a little in one place while doing a head flick. I recommend you don't try to twist your body in mid-air like a rabbit will, especially if there is any furniture around, you have a history of back problems, or are over 45 years old. Trust me on this one.
You can do a head flick too, by quickly dropping your head sideways and then back up, with a bit of a twist. If you have long hair that gets flung, your rabbit is even more sure to get the message. Some happy rabbits will head flick back at you to show that they share your happiness. It's always nice to answer a head flick in kind.
My bunnies binky often, and alot. Claudia is more of a jumper and twister, and Maylene is more of a breakneck speed runner, with the occasional kickflip thrown in. If you're bunny begins to run circles around you as fast as it can, or zooms all through the house with glee, this is affectionately called the "Bunny 500" by most rabbit owners.
If you're up for it, it's always fun to try to photograph your bunny mid-binky. It may be difficult as first, but you'll learn to see when your bunny is about to binky, and get ready for it! Here are some wonderful binky photos for you to enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed this first behavior we covered, and if you'd like to know more about how to better communicate with your rabbits, please comment below so I can start on the next installment!
Love and Lightning Bugs,