Why do rabbits thump? Most rabbit people say they do it for a number of reasons, but one of them is always as a signal for danger. In the wild, a warren of rabbits living together need to be warned if a predator is near, and thumping on the ground is an excellent danger signal for bunnies that can’t make loud vocalizations. In the video below, Medusa is thumping repeatedly and her owner thinks it was because she was frightened by a suitcase that had been added to her surroundings.
One of our rabbits — who, coincidentally, looks a lot like Medusa — rarely thumps at all. The only time I can remember him thumping was during a particularly loud and long thunder storm with lightning flashing. His partner, however, thumps on an almost daily basis. One of the things that gets her “thumped off” is when she is asking for treats and she doesn’t get them fast enough.
We believe it is important to respect our bunnies when they are telling us something. Especially when they give danger thumps, we let them know we understand by making a point of looking around very carefully to see what they might be afraid of. Often it is a dog barking in the distance. Once we have ascertained that there is no predator or other danger close by we will talk to them reassuringly, letting them know everything is all right. But we will stay close by, looking alertly around, to let them know we “have their backs” and will protect them if necessary.
How often do your rabbits thump?
Photo courtesy of Hart Hill