Rabbits are not known to use many vocal cues. Some of the common ones they use include honking, growling, grunting, clucking, teeth purring, thumping among a few others. These pets often use nonverbal body languages.
What if they squeal? What does it mean or how can you interpret this bunny sound?
Why do rabbits squeal
A squeal is a prolonged high-pitched sound while if it is short, it is often referred as to a squeak. It may sound like a baby screaming and it can be due to the following reasons:
It is in great pain and distress
One of the main reasons why rabbits will squeal loudly is if they are in great pain. For instance, if they get hurt badly. Anything that can inflict pain can trigger this sound and it can be accompanied by other behaviors such as teeth grinding.
Forcefully ripping their fur can make produce this sound just as in the case of French Angora rabbit that was squealing as it was being forcefully shorn released by a French Animal Humane group.
If you hear this sound from your rabbit, check for any injuries, pain including those caused by bloat, gas and other diseases.
Squealing and screaming may also indicate your bunny is terrified to death. You will hear this sound in instances where they are being pursued by a predator or they have been caught by a predator.
If your bunny was freely roaming, you need to go see if he or she is ok. It could be a predator or something that could have frightened him too much.
Besides predators, anything that might terrify this pet may make it squeal, including if you startle it.
Your rabbit is dying
Sometimes, bunnies have terminal squeals before they collapse and die especially when they have serious illness including Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RVDH) or any other that may cause pain.
Response to aggression from adult bunnies
Sometimes, it is a response “produced by kittens in response to aggression by adults”. Aggression such as ripping with paws, biting, especially by the female bunny may make kits respond this way.
Not all instances of a bunny making this sound are associated with distress, pain or an unhappiness. Sometimes, some bunnies may do so a sign of delight  especially if you hear a shrill squeaking sound.
Rabbit squealing sound or dying rabbit call
The rabbit squealing noise is often used to draw various bunny predators including coyote, cougars, bear, foxes and so on. It mimics that one of a dying rabbit. Hunters often used hand-blown squealers or audio recording to draw these predators.
This can perhaps confirm the fact that this sound is associated by a dying bunny, greatly afraid one or if it has been cornered by a predator.
If you notice your bunny screaming, squeaking and squealing, you need to be very careful if you want to handle it as it might be aggressive and attack, lunge, bite or scratch you.
Also, to correctly interpret the meaning of this rabbit sound, carefully consider the surrounding circumstances as well as its health.
Finally, do not ignore this sound since it is never a false alarm. It always means something, and you need to immediately respond. It is a call for help.