Rabbits respond to the care and love they receive by becoming
very loyal and affectionate. Of course like other companion animals
they are especially fond of the person providing food, but their
friendship extends to other people as well, including sometimes
strangers. Being timid and sensitive creatures, their displays
of affection may be less obvious than those of a cat or dog. In
addition most rabbits don't like to be held and don't jump in
your lap, like a dog would. This is perfectly normal and not a
sign that your rabbit is unfriendly.
a rabbit requires that you first gain her trust. You do this by
meeting her needs and treating her gently and patiently at all
times. Timid bunnies and those who have been abused or neglected
will require longer to bond with you, but their affection is even
more rewarding. They usually start by not running away and by
eating, grooming and sleeping in your presence.
following are some ways in which rabbits express their affection
Gentle nudging of your arm and leg (often two or three times in
a row) is a welcoming gesture and a sign of affection. It is also
a request to be petted.
A bunny who licks and nibbles his human is showing deep affection.
Rabbits may lick your hand while they are being stroked, or they
may 'wash' your hands and face when it's your turn to be petted.
My rabbit will even interrupt her meals, playtimes and grooming
sessions to come and lick me.
together Instead of licking, many rabbits prefer to snuggle
up to their human and animal friends. They may sit nose-to-nose
with another rabbit or curl up next to you on the sofa. Some rabbits
even fall asleep on their humans' slippers and other items of
clothing. These friendly gestures are often overlooked by people,
but it's a great compliment when a rabbit wants to be near you
without the enticement of petting or food.
like a puppy Affectionate rabbits tend to follow you around
the house, often running between your feet or honking softly to
Rabbits are good at keeping company, whether it's waiting for
you outside the bathtub or sleeping under your desk when you work
late. Our friends' rabbit Kellogg doesn't like to be touched or
petted, but he enjoys being in the same room with his carers.
Some rabbits will wait for you by the door when you return home.
Others will greet you first thing in the morning by circling the
bed or jumping on it. However not all rabbits do this, for instance
my house rabbit only greets me at the front door if I've been
to the greengrocer's or the garden centre!
when called This can also be a sign of devotion on the part
of your rabbit. Don't expect too much though, as even trained
bunnies may deliberately ignore you if they'd rather do something
Many people would say their rabbit can sense when they are ill
or there's something wrong. One of our members, who spends a lot
of time confined in bed due to back problems, tells me her rabbit
Booboo seems to know when she in pain and becomes very gentle
and quiet. Increasingly rabbits are being used to assist patients'
recovery in hospitals and elderly people's homes in Britain and
Get The Rabbit Habit!
by Carolina James for The Rabbit Charity © Bunny Productions
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