Rabbit Sounds and Noises – Happy and Unhappy

Rabbit sounds
Written by Editorial

Unlike human beings, rabbits cannot speak in a language we understand. However, they are various sounds and noises which they use to send ‘messages’ to us, other rabbits or pets. Here are some of the common sounds.

Besides their body language, these pets can use various sounds to express their feelings including affection, love, pain, anger, among others.

To be able to decipher the various messages these animals are trying to ‘send’ and act accordingly, it is important to consider the context under which it happened as well as other cues especially their body languages.

Rabbit sounds
Rabbit sounds

Affectionate and happy rabbit sounds

Some of the common vocalizations that bunnies may use to express their happiness, excitement, contentment, and affection include the following:

Rabbit purring, chattering or teeth clicking

Purring, teeth clicking, or chattering refers to the sound these pets make when they grind their teeth softly to indicate they are comfortable and contented.

They are simply saying, ‘I love you’, or ‘I trust you’. However, this should not be confused with teeth grinding which means something else.

Rabbit clucking

This is another happy and contented noise from a bunny that you may hear during feeding or petting. Your pet is trying to tell you he or she is happy and contented.

Rabbit humming

This is vocal cue is associated with dating and affection and you can “associate it with an unaltered buck wooing his lady love.”[1]

Rabbit honking

Honking is one of the ways that this pet may try to talk to you or other rabbits. This sound may indicate sexual desire if accompanied by other courtship behavior. It can also be a means to show excitement or to seek your attention.

Unhappy rabbit sounds

These sounds are mainly used to express pain, displeasure, anger, irritation, fear, disapproval or discontentment or act as warnings. Common ones include the following:

Rabbit grunting or growling

This is one of the most common rabbit vocal cues or communication often used to indicate that this pet is irritated or angry.

It can also be used to show disapproval to something you or other pets may have done or to sending a warning especially if you invade his or her privacy 

Finally, grunting may also happen if your bunny is startled, scared or frightened

Rabbit thumping

Stomping, thumping or stamping of the hind feet in this pets is often meant to alert others bunnies of a danger, seen, felt or heard. Also, it can be to disapprove of something you did or scare other pets from his or her territory as well as express anger.

Finally, rabbit stomping may also due to fear, physical pain or discomfort or a means of seeking attention.

Rabbit squealing

The squeaking vocalization is a means of sending messages such as your bunny is too frightened, has been cornered by prey, he or she is dying or in few occasions a sign of delight if the sound is gentle.

Rabbit grinding teeth

If your bunny is grinding his or her teeth, it could indicate he or she is happy or content if it is purring (soft and fast rubbing of teeth).

However, teeth grinding often shows that this pet great pain, has a dental problem or he/she is stressed, terrified or anxious. The sound produced is louder and the griding happens slowly.

Rabbit snorting

This is a common body language that comes before growling, biting, or thumping. It serves to warn you or other bunnies or pets to keep off or not to interfere as this pet may not happy about something or someone.

Rabbit squeaking

This sound could both be a happy or unhappy sound. When unhappy, your bunny could be squeaking due to fear, distress, pain or when about to get aggressive.

On the other hand, it could also mean he is happy or contented and to be able to interpret it correctly, you should consider the context when you hear it. 

Rabbit screaming

It is not so common to hear a bunny screaming. However, should you hear it, this pet is trying to let you know that it is in great pain, in mortal terror or very angry.

The screaming could also be a call for help and it is never a false signal. Always go check what may be wrong with your pet. 

Rabbit whimpering and whining

This is characterized by low and weak sounds often as a protest for things such as holding them, taking something from them, and so on.

For instance, a pregnant doe may whimper if you introduce a buck to indicate she is not interested. Also,  introducing a cage mate may also causing the whimpering.

Rabbit whining can also be for the same reasons as whimpering, but whining may be noted by a long slightly higher-pitched complaining noise that may appear like your pet is about to cry. 

Rabbit muttering and chatting

Sometimes your bunny may mutter sounds to themselves. This is a sign he is unhappy and dissatisfied and it is a way of talking to other bunnies or you.

Taking away their treats, eating their treats, holding them can lead to this vocalization.

Rabbit hissing

This is an angry or unhappy rabbit sibilate sound intended to ward you off, other bunnies or pet. Your furry friend is trying to tell you things such as ‘better stay away’, ‘leave me alone’, and so on.

You may hear this sound as you try to hold this pet and he or she does not want to be held, if you startle, invade his or her territory (if territorial), or do anything that your bunny disapproves or makes him or her to feel threatened.

It is a good idea to leave your bunny alone if you hear this sound as it may otherwise lunge, attack or bite you.

Rabbit screech

A loud screeching sound from this pet means that he or she is scared. The sound of a barking dog nearby or sight, scent or noise of any other predator may make your bunny to be scared and begin screeching.

Besides fear, “screeching can also signify that something is hurting a rabbit, perhaps an injury.” [2] Never ignore a screeching sound from your furry critter.


Whereas we have noted happy and unhappy bunny sounds, these critters may communicate slightly different. However, if you look at other hints such as body language, you will be able to interpret the various sounds accurately. 

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