Shaking, vibrating, and thumping is often a bad sign in animals, but not if you have rabbits. If this is your first time owning a pet rabbit, you’ll learn quickly that they do a lot more with their feet than just hop.
A rabbit’s feet are their defense, digging, and communication methods, so when they vibrate, it’s important. Why do rabbits vibrate their feet?
Rabbits will vibrate their feet when they hold them in certain positions too long. This is an involuntary reflex that is normal rabbit behavior. However, older rabbits can have nerve issues that are causing their feet to vibrate. Rabbits flicking their feet is a separate reaction than thumping their back foot which is a natural reaction to perceived danger.
Why Does My Rabbits Feet Shake
Older rabbit’s feet can shake to indicate there’s a problem. Although not all foot shaking is related to this issue, aging domestic rabbits are prone to sitting in the same position for too long.
Unfortunately, this type of trembling feet is tied to nerve issues. However, you can help prevent this and help keep your aging rabbits comfortable.
The best way to help minimize this unfortunate side effect of aging is to help keep your pet active their whole lives.
Make sure they get lots of interactive playtime and toys to help keep them moving around. Rabbits need stimulation, and so do their bodies in order to stay healthy.
If your older bunny does develop shaky feet, first see a vet about them. It’s always crucial to visit a professional when your pet develops a problem to ensure you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Ask about massaging their legs as this often seems to help relax shaky feet and increase circulation. Your vet will advise you about whether this is the right way to help your rabbit.
Why Do Rabbits Stomp Their Front Feet
Rabbits don’t generally stomp their front feet. However, they have a couple of behaviors that focus heavily on the front feet. The first is boxing, and the second is digging. Either of these could result in a stomp-like gesture.
According to RabbitPros, “Boxing is a defensive stance that is used by rabbits to tell an approaching stranger to back off. A rabbit is said to be boxing when they shift their weight to their hind legs and use its front legs to sort of swat you away. This behavior is usually observed in rabbits who are territorial or who are trying to protect something. Boxing is also always preceded by an audible grunt.”
Digging is pretty self-explanatory, though it may look like stomping if they are trying to get through a solid floor. Digging is an instinct, and all rabbits attempt it even f they don’t have dirt to dig a warren.
Why Do Rabbits Thump Their Feet On The Ground
The most common reason rabbits thump their feet is because of danger or perceived danger. Domestic rabbits are like other pets, and each one has its own personality, so some are more skittish and nervous than others.
You may not always know why they are signaling right away, though careful observation should help you find the culprit.
Most rabbits will eventually do a danger-thump, even if it’s not very often. The danger thump is part of a rabbit’s instincts.
Although rabbits can make noises, they usually don’t. Instead, they prefer to communicate with body language.
In nature, rabbits dig large, complex warrens and live communally. The hind leg thumps are an excellent way for an above-ground bunny to share information and warnings with other underground rabbits.
Basically, it began as a predator signal for safety, though modern pet rabbits use it for anything they find alarming or upsetting.
Do Rabbits Stomp When They Are Mad
Rabbits stomp when they are mad or annoyed. Unlike the repeated danger thumps, an anger stomp is just one at a time and widely spaced out.
Angry bunny stomps can be adorable. However, you should probably give your pet some space when they are thumping to tell you they’re upset. Here is a video of an angry rabbit for reference.
As Official Golden Retriever says, “Stomping is also noted in territorial rabbits as a means of warning you, other pets or rabbits invading their territory. Your bunny is simply trying to tell you they are angry at you, and you need to get out of his space. When expressing their rage, the hind leg thumping may be accompanied by vocal warnings such as grunting. A lunge, nip, or bite is also possible.”
Do Rabbits Thump When Happy
Happy rabbit thumping does happen. Usually, you will notice this during playtime. Unlike angry or scared thumps, a happy stomp doesn’t involve sitting still for long.
Instead, the rabbit will continue to hop and move around afterward because it was just an expression of amusement.
Helpful Tips To Know About Why Rabbits Vibrate Their Feet
Rabbits communicate so much with their feet that it can be hard to tell their meaning unless you know what to look for.
For example, a scared thump is repeated, while a tantrum stomp is more likely to be a singular noise. Fortunately, getting to know the rabbit will give you insight into their behavior.
Here are more helpful tips to know about why rabbits vibrate their feet.
- Many domestic rabbits stomp their feet for more food or water. They are happy to communicate by thumping for your attention if it works. After all, rabbits are surprisingly smart and they will learn what makes you respond.
- Rabbits may vibrate when they start to get dehydrated. It is vital to make sure our pet takes lots f breaks for water when playing, especially in the summer when it’s hot. While their feet aren’t the only part that can get shaky, it’s often especially noticeable in the legs and feet first.
- Some rabbit stomps are a demand for attention. Your pet may be feeling the need for cuddles and grooming or they might be jealous that someone else has your attention when they want it. This behavior is a little like when young children stomp their feet to express frustration. Unlike fear thumping, these are generally single stomps.
- Notably, some rabbits thump their feet to express pain. However, this is a less common behavior and shouldn’t be your first concern if your pet starts stomping.
Whether they are vibrating, thumping, or stomping, rabbits, have expressive feet. Knowing the difference between the types of stomps and thumps a rabbit often uses can help you be a better pet owner.
Sometimes your bunny just needs some space, but other times they may be trying to get you to give them attention. Meanwhile, vibrating feet can be a sign of nerve damage or discomfort.
Now that you understand what to look for, you will know when they need a vet versus when your bunny just needs a scratch between the ears.