Rabbit Language or "Are you going to eat that?", the book, is a perfect gift for those who share their home with a pet rabbit. Often imitated—but don't take our
word for it—our
first Amazon reviewer gave it five stars and said it's "a MUST-HAVE!". It's sold well since 2006. Order it from your book seller or Amazon. Over 30 color illustrations, softcover, get the 2nd ed: ISBN 978-0-9793088-0-2.
Carolyn Crampton also illustrated Dumbunny, a children's book by Mary Ann Wolf that is perfect for rabbit lovers and for children whose abilities or disabilities set them apart. It features over 50 full color illustrations, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-9793088-2-6, for children 3 to 12.
Note to rabbit rescue organizations: the publisher donates a portion of the proceeds of both books. Contact for more information: Howell Park Press.
or Are you going to eat that?
A humorous guide to communicating with your pet rabbit.
It is a big mistake to think
of rabbits or other animals as without any language or culture, just
because we have never taken the time to learn it. Domesticated animals
have lost any culture they may have had in the wild. They have instincts
and whatever learning that can be passed down in the short time they
spend with their mothers. Rabbits are clever about manipulating humans
although they are stubborn about learning what we want them to. My
rabbits have trained me
years to understand their bunny body language. Whatt follows below
is what I have learned: (Click here to go
to Rabbit Central for more valuable information.)
chin on things, such as houseplants, priceless armoires, Italian
leather shoes. A great misconception: It does NOT mean marking
a rabbit custom, like saying grace in front of a meal.
IT MEANS: One
day I will eat you.
YOU SHOULD DO: Give your bunny more
sticks and branches, keep your stuff off the floor, and kiss
the antiques goodbye.
with one ear raised.
WHAT IT MEANS: Someone
may be opening the refrigerator.
SHOULD DO: Give your fresh dandelion greens.
stretched out. Eyes widened. Ears way back. Somehow the effect
is of a much younger, thinner animal. This behavior usually given
when you have put on your shoes and are on the way out of the
IT MEANS: I am starving and alone.
I am your helpless baby bunny. Feed me. Dont
leave me alone.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
Take off your coat and stay home.
Rabbit sitting on your shoes as you are trying to lace
lying completely stretched out. Ears back flat against body. Eyes
WHAT IT MEANS:
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Leave your bunny alone
but prepare snacks for when bunny wakes.
Half raised on back legs, ready for flight and stomping. Eyes wild
and open. Thumping.
WHAT IT MEANS: Danger.
Get underground. The phone is ringing. Stomping also means sexual
excitement, happiness, or furniture has been moved.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Run over to the bunny before the landlord hears
the banging, and pet your bunny until he calms down.
Hopping around you in circles with tail up. VARIATIONS: Hopping
in or out of your legs, possibly carrying a checkbook cover, stick
or some other item, biting your feet, trying to get you to hop over
WHAT IT MEANS:
Courting behavior: Those are big sexy feet
you have. I will have sex with them.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Quickly sit down on your feet.
tilted forward. Eyes widened. Neck stretched out. Low crouch, legs
back in the last time zone.
WHAT IT MEANS: Caution.
Curiosity mixed with fear. Exploring a new area, a strange animal.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Bunnies
need to investigate the world. Just make sure they are safe and there are no
Ripping her own fur out from all over her body, and collecting it
in her mouth. Later burying it in your bedsheets when you are not
looking. Running around the house with small stuffed animals or socks
in her mouth.
IT MEANS: This is where I am having my babies.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
Move out of your bed and sleep on the floor where
you will be available for late night petting.
jumping on your head and digging in your hair while you are trying
to sleep, no matter how many times you throw him or her off the bed.
WHAT IT MEANS: He
is afraid there is something wrong with you and is trying to
wake you up. Or he may suspect you have fresh veggies hidden under
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Stop trying
to sleep, get up and play with your rabbit.
CONSIDERATIONS: Are you sleeping at the wrong time?
Are you sleeping with someone else? Your rabbit may just be trying
to protect you. Or, he may just want to play with you and your friend.
Balanced on hind legs, little front feet in the air. WHAT
IT MEANS: Classic begging pose. Also
see if I can grab that food out of your hand.
YOU SHOULD DO: Lower your hand so that he has a fighting chance.
BEHAVIOR: Excessive licking that goes
IT MEANS: You are petting or scratching his
back and thereby activating his licking instinct. OR, you have
recently stopped petting him.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Resume petting his head just the way he likes it.
WHAT IT MEANS: Could be trying
to get your attention. OR, something may be blocking her path and she
intends to eat her way through it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Pet, feed, or move
things around. Excessively loud eating. WHAT IT MEANS: Feed me. Or, I am angry,
feed me. Or, wake up and feed me.
things (like wires) that she knows are off limits. Or Crazed biting.
WHAT IT MEANS: She
is angry. Rabbits have a real temper. Probably comes from being the
worlds dinner. Rabbits do not like being overpowered. You must
be more gentle.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Hold
some paper or wood in front of her mouth that she can rip it to pieces.
Try a loud sniffrabbits sniff when they are angry, show her
you are angry.
biting of remote control. Repeatedly knocking over your
WHAT IT MEANS: She needs that
all important rubber, plastic, hops foodgroup.
YOU SHOULD DO: Do everything in your power to remove
plastic, rubber, tape and such from his mouth. Switch to Stoutthey
give it to racehorses and rabbits are just like horses.
in different locations.
IT MEANS: We are mystified by the system
which dictates where rabbit sleep at different times of the day.
EXPERIMENT: Dont set your alarm clock at
all. Bunny knows when you are supposed to get up and will wake you,
unless you gave him Laxatone on his paw the night before. (Try Petromalt
IT MEANS: You
are trying to clean the rabbits
area. Rabbits hate having anything changed or furniture moved. This includes your clipping of toenails, brushing, medicating, and suspicious touching. Or, you may be trying to put the rabbit into a cage.
YOU SHOULD DO: Wear
gloves and get a friend
to help you. OR wrap bunny up like a burrito in a towel while
you work on a limb. Rabbits
dont belong in cages.
BEHAVIOR NEEDING FURTHER RESEARCH: Smiling.
CAN YOU TELL?: I do not know. But you CAN tell,
a rabbit smile is unmistakable. Its in the eyes.
SAID TO MEAN: Like cats purring.
IT MAY MEAN: Because it usually occurs when
petting, it may just be a function of pulling the ears back. Or it
may be a verbal language cue. Remember: a rabbits
hearing and vision are not the same as ours. Their hearing is probably
on a slightly higher pitch. If you speak in a low range, your rabbit
may not even hear you. Vision is focused on movement. Move slowly and
approach from the side if you don't want to alarm your bunny.
BEHAVIOR: Jumping up in the air and kicking
heels. WHAT IT MEANS: Happy to
Im ready to have sex now.
YOU SHOULD DO: Be very glad you have such a happy bunny. Treat
yourself to some chocolate ice cream.
Do you have curious bunny behavior
to add to this? Or questions? Email more urgent questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put
the word "rabbits' in the subject line please.
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