Some pet owners always stress and wonder if their rabbit loves them or not. For most people, just knowing that they themselves are giving the rabbit love, should be the signal that the rabbit loves them also. Life is complicated that way, humans always want reassurance.
We will go through and list some ways to tell if your rabbit does love you. Once you read this, you will realize that you were receiving the signals from the bunny the whole time. That is as long as you have been faithfully taking care of your rabbit. Tending to his needs, feeding him, making sure he or she sees the veterinarian when necessary, and playing with him so that he or she is a happy bunny.
Being held by humans in their life is challenging for a rabbit. Their natural instinct is to run from captivity. Yes, being held by you will feel like they are being held captive. When you want affection or even cuddle time, it may not be the time for your rabbit. You need to take it slow. Continue speaking to him or her. Let the rabbit smell your hand. When we leave the rabbit in charge of deciding when the time is right to be held, it makes it all the more fulfilling for you and the rabbit.
Sometimes, as you sit on the grass in a play area, holding some leafy greens they will begin to trust you. They will start coming over and sitting closer to you. Before you know it, they will be jumping into your lap for those cuddles. Some rabbits enjoy cuddle time more than others. For those types, it does not take long to be comfortable enough to show affection. The others, you just need to be patient, continue being there and attempting to play. Stroke their head if the bunny allows it.
Have you been lucky enough to witness your rabbit running and jumping in the air, twisting around? This is one way they like to show that they feel comfortable around you. However, you cannot get excited and react to it more than a smile at first. That natural instinct of a rabbit will signal them that they are about to be chased or that they are being threatened.
Nuzzling and Quick Nips
This is one of the most obvious signs that your rabbit loves you. When they come over and start rubbing their head on you, similar to a cat, they may even make a quick nipping motion, as if they are going to bite. Do not get scared. This is a way the rabbit is involving you in the daily routine of grooming.
If the nipping is more of a forceful nip, leading to a bite, back away and give your rabbit some space. They are scared and feeling threatened. Back up the steps and continue talking to the rabbit, showing your attention to him. Give him an occasional treat of leafy greens and he will relax and become friends.
Yes, another part of the ritual of grooming. No one can say for sure, however, it is believed that when the rabbit includes you in one form of grooming, they are showing affection. Other animals, such as dogs and cats will do the same form of licking to show affection.
In essence, a rabbit will lick another rabbit when they are interacting. It is their way of showing that they are comfortable, feeling secure and happy. If you move your hand slowly towards the rabbit, he or she will allow you to pet it’s head, stroke the fur or some light tickling can be done. The rabbit thinks of this as mutual grooming.
Stretching Out in Chill Mode
When you are sitting in the grass and your rabbit comes up alongside you and flops down, this is a good sign for you. The rabbit in a prone position next to you is a clear sign that they have built trust in you. It is still the best idea to move slowly if you want to reach out and stroke their head. This flopping is a relaxed mode for your rabbit. Enjoy having the company and remain seated where you are.
This is a time of slowly becoming comfortable with each other. Any rabbit that feels any sense of threat will not flop in the presence of a human. This position is telling you that they are completely comfortable and do not feel any threat from you. You still cannot make any quick movements however.
Head Nudging or Butting
This is another one of those obvious signs. It may feel as though the rabbit is saying, ‘Hey, look at me’. In a way, they are. This is also a motion that many other animals do. They rub the cheeks against you to leave their scent on you. Basically to let others know that you belong to them.
As they rub their face on you, they are signaling to you that there is a friendship between the two of you. Go ahead and slowly rub their head between their ears, stroke their back and let them know that you love them too. This is one behavior that is only done when a rabbit feels complete trust and positive interaction between you and him.
For an animal that is very sociable, yet extremely shy and skittish, getting them to relax and trust you may seem like a daunting experience. It is one that must be made though. Your rabbit needs time to build up trust in you. It takes time for the rabbit to realize that you are giving him or her the affection it craves, but instinct keeps him or her skittish.
If you happen to be standing out in the rabbit area, where they play and get their exercise, you may experience a moment when the rabbit seems to have lost his mind. He is running circles around your feet. Do not run or move quickly. This is like a rabbit happy dance. They are excited that you are there and they want to interact with you. This stage means that trust has been built and they are not feeling any threat being around you.
Pet Me Please!
Most rabbits may shy away from your hand when you go to pet him or her. Then over time, they ease up and realize that it is okay for you to touch them. Then you will find that some rabbits, just like any other animal or person, crave loving affection and being pet by you.
They will continue nudging your arm or hand until they get you to put your hand on them and stroke their fur, rub between their ears and give some soft tickles. Hopefully, you do not act like it is an inopportune time for your rabbit to do this motion. Again, many rabbits are skittish, so when yours wants attention, give the attention to him or her.
Most rabbits do not enjoy being held. This takes a long time for them to relax to the point of being picked up and set down in your lap. Their natural instinct tells them to run because they are being held captive. However, when your rabbit jumps into your lap and sits with you, you have come a long way. This is not something all rabbits will feel comfortable enough doing.
When your rabbit jumps in your lap on his own, enjoy it! This means he truly loves you completely. It is rare to find rabbits that will sit in your lap and allow you to pet and cuddle them for hours. Be happy that your rabbit loves you so much. Continue treating him or her the way you are and this behavior will not change.
When you hear grinding teeth and a soft purring, you have it made! That rabbit loves and adores you to the moon and back. They do not show this behavior to many people, if any at all. Actually, what you are hearing is the rabbit clicking his teeth together in a quick motion which causes the head to vibrate, in turn it sounds more like purring.
One thing you must keep in mind, rather than becoming frustrated that your rabbit does not show any of these signs, a rabbit is prey to many types of predators. It is just a natural instinct with them. They may see you daily, they know you are the one feeding them and talking to them. However, it will still take time for him to relax enough to trust you are not a predator.
Think about it, over time, the keyword is time, a rabbit will also become used to other animals in the home, such as dogs. It takes time to trust that the dog is not there to eat him. Remain patient, do not become upset if and when the rabbit runs away from you. All good things take time. As they experience your patience, the love they feel towards you is slowly growing. The day will come when you are able to see all the love put into motion from your furry friend. Just as you take time to build trust with new friends, so does your rabbit.
The natural instinct that keeps a rabbit alive in the wild is in your bunny also. They are wary of people and anything that could be a danger to them. Do not force a situation of the rabbit being held, do not make fast movements in reaction to nudging or flopping near you. Do not trap them into a corner, they will instinctively jump and bite. It is important to be on their level when interacting with your rabbit. Sit on the ground, let them come to you. Have toys available for them to play with and interact with you with.