Rabbits will lick almost anything from you to the furniture, the walls, and even the floor. Fortunately, this is perfectly normal behavior, so there’s no need for concern as long as the floors are clean.
These quirky fluffy pets are just doing what comes naturally to them. Why do rabbits lick the floor?
Rabbits licking the floor is perfectly normal behavior that rabbits do to show affection or to show dominance. Licking is instinctual behavior that rabbits automatically do whether its furniture, the floor or if they are trying to groom you. Grooming is a vital part of rabbit culture and a sign of submission.
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Why Does My Rabbit Lick The Floor When I Pet Him
Your rabbit licks the floor when you pet him because he’s feeling affectionate. Licking, for rabbits, is both a sign of endearment and a way to lay claim to something.
Bunny dominance isn’t like predator territorial behavior. It’s a lot cuter and weirder.
1 – Love & Affection
When you pet your rabbit, it makes them feel good. If they were a cat, they might purr, but since bunnies lack the vocal cords for that sort of expression, rabbits have found another way to show how they feel.
Spontaneous floor licking is a way to show how happy they are.
Typically you will only see the floor licking when your rabbit is on the ground, and you’re petting or grooming them.
Although it can happen at other times, this is the most common. Rabbits will sometimes lick things in place of people or other rabbits, but with the same intention. It’s a joyful display.
2 – Dominance
Rabbits, unlike predators, are not prone to aggressive displays. They will occasionally thump their feet angrily or push something away, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Likewise, rabbits aren’t excessive about their dominant expressions when they claim things.
For your rabbit, licking the floor can be part of an expression of dominance. It’s a way of saying ‘this is mine.’ However, dominance licking is often reserved for other rabbits or people.
Bunny Lady explains, “In general, rabbits establish dominance using elaborate behavioral cues that include mounting, chasing, bowing, and grooming. Once bonded, some pairs of rabbits have a visibly established hierarchy, while other pairs will only show subtle signs of their hierarchical relationship.”
3 – Bonding
Rabbits also lick to bond. It is unlikely that your rabbit is licking the floor to try and bond with it. Rabbits are intelligent animals capable of learning a great deal, and they certainly understand that the floor isn’t alive.
However, they may give the floor a lick thoughtlessly as a part of a larger display when they are trying to form a bond with you or another rabbit.
4 – Grooming
Grooming is a vital part of rabbit culture. A healthy bunny spends lots of time self-grooming, and a rabbit who loves you will groom you too. This is a sign of submission.
Your rabbit licks you and the floor near you because they are showing their love and telling you that you’re the boss.
Similarly, rabbits will demand grooming and licks from those they consider subordinate. If your bunny insists that you or another rabbit give them licks, or head scratches, or other grooming, then they believe themselves to be the ones in charge.
5 – Checking Things Out
When a rabbit moves into a new environment, it may be reluctant at first. However, as they get comfortable, they will begin to explore the new space. This exploration can take many forms.
Your rabbit will move around and look at things. Likewise, they will sniff at them. Licking is a part of sniffing for any creature with a vomeronasal organ.
According to PubMed and the National Library of Medicine, “… the rabbit possesses a highly developed VNO, with many specific morphological features, which highlights the significance of chemocommunication in this species.”
6 – There’s A Problem
Excessive licking can be a sign that your rabbit has a problem. Usually, this will be self-licking or aggressive licking of companion rabbits, but it could include the floor.
Anytime your rabbit is behaving abnormally or compulsively, you must pay attention.
Hopefully, they are just feeling super affectionate and need some attention. However, if the behavior doesn’t stop after you offer them some pets and grooming, you should probably make an appointment to see the vet.
It’s always better to take them in and have things checked out promptly than to leave a problem to get worse.
7 – Tastes Good
Dogs and cats are more likely to find something tasty and spend a chunk of time licking the floor, but rabbits can do this too.
Especially if you drink fruit and vegetable juice, a small spill could prompt your rabbit to lick the floor. In this case, wiping it up should resolve the licking.
Why Do Rabbits Lick The Carpet
Rabbits have no hands, so they have to check out the world in other ways. Using their tongues and noses to explore is just part of the bunny lifestyle. Plus, carpets tend to trap a lot of odors.
We may not smell it, but your rabbit will smell people, foods that have been dropped, and anything else that has gotten into the fabric of your carpet.
Licking it may be comforting, or it could be a way to discern what has happened before. Additionally, some rabbits enjoy the feel of the fabric on their tongues.
Helpful Tips To Know About Why Rabbits Lick The Floor
Rabbits are fond of licking to show how they feel about things, and even the floor is part of their home. This bizarre way of showing approval and enjoyment is just a rabbit’s way of saying they enjoy being petted and feel nice, safe, at home, and lovey.
Here are more helpful tips to know about why rabbits lick the floor.
- Grooming the floor may seem like a weird way to show appreciation, but not to your rabbit. They will lick things that belong to you as a way of showing that they like you.
- Sometimes rabbits lick the floor because they are bored. Since they are intelligent and inquisitive creatures, rabbits need mental stimulation. Without it, they will seek out ways to amuse themselves a lot like human toddlers. Hence, you may find a rabbit liking the floor for fun.
- In addition to licking, rabbits sometimes give love nibbles. If your pet licks and nips at you, then, much like floor licking, they are showing you how much they care.
Rabbits enjoy licking. They will lick you to say they need love or tell you they appreciate you and lick a partner to bond.
However, rabbits also lick their surroundings, including the floor. Sometimes it’s exploratory, and they’re looking around, but other times it’s a way of showing approval, affection, or even dominance.
Unless it’s excessive, there’s no need to worry about a rabbit who is licking the floor.