Have you ever heard the voice of a rabbit? How does a rabbit sound? Normally rabbits are very quiet and reserved animals. They are prey animals and don't want to be seen or heard that much. They are longing for love but they want their time alone too.
A better grasp of their thinking will make your rabbit feel more comfortable. Not only treats will grow your rabbit's satisfaction and enjoyment but also a natural and genuine connection.
It's like with little babies. You get to know more about their health, desires, and demands by listening to them and by understanding their noises and body language.
Do you speak rabbit language?
Rabbits mainly connect with others through body language, but they do make a wide range of sounds. Depending on the breed or personality rabbits are more 'talkative' than others.
1. Rabbit sounds can be grunting or honking (the happy version of grunting). If he is angry you can hear him growling or hissing, or even snarling. He sometimes thumps in disapproval.
2. You can hear him screaming (not very often), screeching or squealing.
3. From time to time, you can hear his teeth softly clicking or other times, when he is in pain, loudly grinding.
4. Sneezing or snorting, sighing, wheezing, snoring are other normal sounds. Some little squeaking or snarling sounds now and then. He can also mumble, cluck or chatter with other rabbits.
Sometimes these sounds express a particular thing, good or bad, as we are about to see. But, in other cases, it's nothing special. He is just reacting to the environment by being present. You may not need to know every time why he is doing this or that.
Rabbits don't like loud noises. Avoid surprising him with sudden movements neither. Instead, reassure him with the soft sound of your voice. When approaching your rabbit be sure he is aware of your presence.
I. Pay attention to these types of sounds
1. Screaming, screeching or loud squealing
When they are in unexpected tremendous pain (breaking their spine or infected with Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease) or suddenly frightened (being picked up or handled very roughly) you will get to know it. They will make a high-pitched scream. Besides that, rabbits make different flat sounds.
This is the sound that rabbits do a lot. Rabbits grunt when you're doing something they don't like. For example, picking them up. It's similar to honking in sound but different in meaning.
Here is a rabbit with personality and a bad mood.
Here is another grunting rabbit. They went to the vet, but he was just fine. He only needed some small environmental changes like a paper bedding and a different type of hay. He eventually stopped grunting.
It may be a way of getting more attention from you. At the same time, they are rotating or jumping around your feet. In spayed females and neutered males, they are excited about the food or the idea of you being around. If they are not spayed or neutered then they want some love from another rabbit of the opposite sex.
Here is a rabbit that is about to be fed. He is not grunting though. He is honking of excitement.
4. Growling, hissing, or even snarling
It is because they are very angry. This rabbit sound in words would be "mmmmmrrrr mmmmrrrr". Leave your rabbit alone, for a while, until he calms down. He's maybe protecting his territory.
This is so cute! Pay attention at 1:25, when he thumps so strong.
5. Teeth grinding vs teeth purring
When you are petting your rabbit and he is very happy he may grind his teeth lightly (teeth purring). However, when buns are very ill, they are not screaming very loud, instead, they are grinding their teeth loudly.
There are 3 reasons why rabbits squeak. They may express contentment from petting, feeding or other pleasures. It may be a way of telling you that he is frustrated or distressed about something you do. It can be heard in females when they are mounted by males. Then you can also hear a deeper squeak if he feels trapped. If that sound is constant you maybe want to go and check a vet. He might have a respiratory problem.
II. Sounds you should not worry about that much
Thumping is an old habit, from the wild. When rabbits think a danger is coming they are thumping their back foot/feet. The vibration from the ground signals other rabbits to be careful. For pet rabbits, this is a sign of disapproval.
2. Sneezing or snorting
Rabbits sneeze from the same reasons as humans do: dust, strong scents, or because of a cold. Consult a vet if you notice persistent sneezing, a runny nose, and some dripping eyes.
Rabbits snore too. However, they are not as annoying as humans are.
4. Sighing or wheezing
Sighing is just a very smooth and easy sound. As with humans, this sound expresses some sort of a compromise. It's also some sort of contentment. Wheezing when you're petting him it's absolutely normal. But if he's wheezing for a longer period of time, it may be a respiratory problem. Take him to the vet.
Rabbits also cluck like a chicken but softer. They show appreciation of something, often food. When a female feeds her baby she may cluck.
6. Muttering or chatting is their way of communication with other mates. Muttering can also be a way of expressing anger.
To sum it all up, watch the context in which your rabbit makes these noises. This should help you to tell the difference. It's possible that you're getting it wrong, but don't worry. It's like with little babies, if it's not this, then maybe is that.
Watch this little bun that seems to be crying or whining about something that happened. He is not sad though. Actually, he's enjoying the love and attention he's receiving. He honks of pleasure.