Signs of Rabbit Happiness

Anyone who lives with a house rabbit knows that they are only silent on first glance. Rabbits actually have a wide range of expressions and methods of communicating. It’s easy and rewarding to learn the language of lagomorphs. Just sit back and let them teach you!

Today we look at that most wonderful of bunny states: pure joy. How do you know when you’re rabbit is happy?

Happy Feet

A happy, relaxed rabbit will often lay on its stomach with the forepaws and hind legs stretched out. From above they look like they are flying like Superman, or they are flat as can be. Sometimes rabbits lay with their legs extended out but more to the side, as opposed to the loaf position where all limbs are tucked under the body. These extended feet indicate a happy rabbit. For a prey animal that must be constantly on guard against danger, happy feet are a great indication that the rabbit feels comfortable and safe in their environment.

The Binky

Witnessing a binky is one of the greatest joys of living with a rabbit. It looks like dancing or leaping in the air, often with body gyrations and kicks and flips. Sometimes rabbits get a running start before a binky; some just leap into the air from a sitting position (the latter, I believe, is called a ‘boink’). Other rabbits begin and end a binky with an impressive run of zig-zags and switchbacks, or repeated laps, called the Bunny 500. The binky indicates pure happiness and joy, and it’s contagious. Other bunnies may join in, and you’ll surely be moved to smile or laugh.

The Flop

The flop is another way of expressing contentment and happiness. The rabbit goes quickly from a sitting or standing position to lying on its side, like a tree falling in the forest. The eyes roll back and the rabbit looks lifeless. This is different from a rabbit gradually lying down to nap. The motion is quick. New bunny people are often alarmed when they see this because the rabbit indeed looks ill or dead. As long as they continue to breathe, never fear. This is actually a sign of bunny bliss. It usually doesn’t last long, so Do Not Disturb!


In addition to the binky and the flop, rabbits enjoy a variety of ways to play. They push or toss objects around, bunch up towels, or shred and tear cardboard or paper. Some play hide and seek or chase games. They may race madly around the house or jump on and off of the couch. All this is very important to the wellness of the bunny psyche. It provides exercise, mental stimulation, and fun. Get down on the floor and get in the game! Get happy!

These are just some of the signs of happiness that we have observed. How does your rabbit show their joy? Have you captured a binky in a photograph? Send in your evidence, please!

10 thoughts on “Signs of Rabbit Happiness

  1. bunny0goddess

    I have an English Lop who “flying” into our lounge chairs. It’s such a sight! Like a flying Basset Hound with his ears flapping in the wind. Hilarious!

  2. Laura

    Our 6 pound Rex, Jessica Rabbit, goes through the actions described above . She will also HONK at us if she is lying there wanting a petting. When she’s (finally) getting a good petting, she gently grinds her wee jaw, and enjoys a good jaw massage too. But sadly, she refuses to be a cuddly, lap bunny.

      1. kim

        I have 2 pet bunnies myself and only the male one honks softly occasionally when he wanna play or attention from the female bun.

        I recently foster a bun that makes noise when she grooms and snores while she sleeps!! she also grunt when she’s annoyed. It’s very funny to hear her ‘speaking’ lol it sounded somehow like a hen

  3. I have a 12 week old Continental Giant (oh yeah,she’s gonna be huge!) house bunny called Rosie and she does all of the above! I love watching her binky,sometimes i try and join in with her and this makes her go even more crazy (in a good way). I think it may be a comfort thing,but my bun also loves it when i put my head on top of hers. That always gets a jaw grind,i’m assuming because it may resemble what it’d be like cuddling up in a nest of bunnies for her?
    She pretty much owns our sofa. If she’s mid-binky and we’re in her way,she’ll scrat at us until we get up. She also does the same if she wants to lay down on it and stretch out!

    In the website section above,i’ve put a link to my Facebook photo album of my Rosie. There are lots of pictures of her splayed out in a relaxed state x

  4. Marina

    I remember the first time I saw my rabbit flop over – I was so scared that something was wrong! Since realizing what it really means, I love seeing my rabbits do this. It’s my next favorite thing to seeing them binky hop, which is always entertaining!

    1. kim

      My male bun is a flop king. His eye would hang on one end while he flops then sleeps on this position. Sometime he also enjoys cheek rub while remaining ‘flopped’. He usually sleeps in this way. The first time i saw this i thought he was dead!

  5. I love my rabbits their names r puff n puffy its going to b 1month I bought them n thing the signs of happiness r totally matching with my rabbits they stretch out their legs n relax they play n show their luv I think that u shud take them down fr playing n always keep a gud supply of water fr them….thank u

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