Rabbit teeth grinding—what does the action mean? As prey animals, rabbits are known to have a complex language of their own. It is a tactical manner for them not to draw much attention, most especially with wild rabbits. That said, rabbits have learned to find means of communication in different body positions and some vocalisations. Are you thinking of rearing a rabbit? Last time, we tackled on proper rabbit parenting; this time, let us understand some baffling behaviours in rabbits. What does rabbit teeth grinding sound like? Or better yet, what is it trying to say?
Rabbit teeth clicking
Take a closer look at your pet rabbit. If you see its jaws or whiskers moving, you may have a rabbit grinding its teeth lightly. However, do not confuse this action as the loud tooth grinding, which can be a sign of distress. Let us get to know their difference in this piece.
Rabbit chattering teeth when stroked
A rabbit chattering its teeth at you can be a very good sign. A light sound of grinding can mean it is enjoying itself and is feeling contented. This is very similar to a kitty’s purr. This behaviour usually occurs in the middle of a petting or stroking session.
Rabbit grinding teeth in pain
On the other hand, a loud and sharp grinding sound can be a warning sign. It can also signify as an expression of pain and dental distress. Check out other signs to find out if your bunny is sick. Confirm your suspicions by seeking veterinary attention.
How to know if it is a sign of happiness or unhappiness
It is important to know the difference between a sign of contentment or something associated with pain. Many owners often get confused that a forum was created solely for this matter.
The easiest way to recognise the difference is by taking a closer look with other behaviours and stance whilst grinding its teeth. For instance, if your rabbit is resting down with its feet stretched out, you may have a happy rabbit on hand. Along with this is the soft and smooth flow of the grinding sound. However, if your rabbit is hunched back in a tense posture, it may be suffering from pain. Other signs include a rabbit grinding teeth and not eating or moving and may display aggressive behaviours.
You may like to read:
- Why Is My Rabbit Not Eating—Potential Causes and Solutions
- Myxomatosis in Rabbits
- 20 Most Interesting Facts About Rabbits
Other potential causes
Apart from being a sign of discomfort, noticeable teeth chattering or grinding can also mean other things such as:
- Emotional distress
Emotional distress includes anxiety, nervousness, and terror in rabbits which have various triggers. One particular case that could lead to a panic mode is when the rabbit is placed in an unfamiliar environment. If that is the case, you can give your rabbit a massage. Massage brings a sense of comfort with a healing purpose. This helps relieve stress from changes in environment, household, and routine.
Other rabbit vocalisations and what they mean
Rabbits are interesting pet animals capable of making different noises.
- Clucking is usually observed in female rabbits whilst feeding her young bunnies. In addition, neutered rabbits may also produce this sound as an expression of appreciation.
- Growling. Yes, rabbits can growl. In fact, they growl similarly to the way dogs do and often for the same reasons. They may growl when stressed or being defensive when threatened. This usually occurs to unspayed female rabbits, and they may also lunge with their front feet when they feel territorial.
- Grunting. The noise from grunting is one of the most commonly heard sounds from rabbits. Unneutered males would most likely grunt when they want to initiate mating. This is often accompanied by circling another rabbit or even at your feet. As for neutered rabbits, they are likely to grunt when they are excited or extremely eager. Some would do it just to get your attention.
- Screaming can be heard in rabbits too and they scream at a high pitch. This is a sign of a serious condition wherein your rabbit may be in great pain or extreme fear.
- Sighing is a very quiet and quick sound that is easy to miss. They may find the need to sigh when someone is brushing their fur.
- Thumping. It is natural for rabbits to thump or kick with their hind legs upon sensing any sign of danger. This is one way to communicate and warn other rabbits in the same area. Thumping will create a vibration in the ground for other rabbits to know. Domestic rabbits may also thump when expressing disapproval.
Read more articles on pet behaviours to understand why our pets do what they do.