Thursday, 12 February 2015

Decoding Bunny Language: The 8 Basics

1. Eating
Dutchie eating Timothy hay
  • Throughout the day, bunnies spend a significant amount of their time munching, chewing and eating. It is important to make Timothy hay available to a bunny at all times. Timothy hay is crucial in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and satisfying the bunny's natural chewing urge.

2. Grooming
Dutchie grooming the fur on his back
  • Bunnies are neat creatures, they groom themselves frequently - it's a daily-must! Therefore, bunnies practically don't need baths. Baths also tend to be stressful for them.

3. Resting
  • Besides eating and grooming, the third most common activity a bunny does is relaxing and simply watching the world go by. 
  • One thing to note here is that, bunnies don't take long naps like cats. A bunny is constantly alert to various sounds and surrounding movements. 

4. Binkying
Jippie binkying!
  • A binky is a high jump accompanied by leg kicks and head flicks. Occasionally, it is preceded or followed by a lightning-speed run. A bunny binkies when he/she is filled with happiness and joy!
  • This is one of the many reasons not to keep a bunny in a cage 24/7. Without freedom at all, how could a bunny be happy? Furthermore, a bunny can't binky without space!

5. Standing on hind legs

"What are you doing up there?"
Dutchie checking out my dad, who was pruning his bonsai.

  • A bunny might stand on his/her hind legs for several reasons:
    • he/she is exploring a new environment. Bunnies are rather curious creatures. Standing gives the bunny a better view of his/her surroundings.
    • he/she wants to eat something (eg: 'Hey, it's my routine treat time!', 'I want to eat something, please?')
    • he/she notices something up above (such as apples on the kitchen counter), and is trying to get a better sniff and/or reach it.

6. Thumping
  • Since bunnies do not bark, meow or produce any loud sounds vocally, they sometimes thump to communicate. 
  • A description of thumping would be: lifting hind feet and stomping down.
  • A bunny might thump for several reasons:
    • he/she is showing displeasure and dissatisfaction (eg: 'Oi, stop reading that book! Pet me now!')
    • he/she is trying to get your attention (eg: 'Hey, it's treat time!')
    • he/she has sensed or heard something odd and potentially dangerous

7. On the alert
Dutchie feels that the plastic basket is suspicious

  • When a bunny is in Alert Mode, he/she generally would:
    • tip-toe towards the direction of the triggering object or sound
    • angle ears towards direction of object or sound
    • jump or run away at the slightest new sound or movement
    • thump his/her feet
  • Alert Mode is generally triggered by:
    • a new object the bunny has never seen before (for example, a new potted plant in the living room.)
    • a sound or movement that seemed, to the bunny, odd or dangerous.

8. Chewing and digging

"I need to dig here .. And fix that patch over there ... "
Jippie digging our garden's grass and soil.

  • Bunnies love to chew and dig. It's their nature.
  • Chewing:
    • Chewing is an enjoyable activity that relieves stress and wears down a bunny's teeth, which never stops growing.
    • Provide Timothy hay to a bunny at all times so that he/she would have something to chew on when he/she wants to. Otherwise, there is a high possibility of your wooden furniture or book collection ending up as the bunny's chew victim.
  • Digging:
    • Digging is another enjoyable activity. It also helps to naturally wear down their nails.

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