Rabbits are not as popular as other pets; these poor souls are common prey animals and are eaten by a variety of other animals. Therefore, a rabbit owner often hits rock bottom in the struggle of becoming approachable to his rabbit because many people are unaware of their true bunny nature.
If you are also facing such a problem or thinking of buying a bunny for you, you may wonder, “are rabbits affectionate?”
Yes!!! Rabbits will become quite affectionate pets provided they are offered the chance to do so. Although they may seem to be distant or timid creatures naturally, they become playful and begin to like socializing with humans for the time being.
The first thing you need is: to earn your bunny’s trust. They don’t believe you as they are always frightened of predators and may think of you the same. When you have earned your bunny’s trust, he will start showing you how much he loves you in his own truly unique and cute ways.
Most rabbits are shy, and it might take some time for them to begin to like and lean on new people. But, when you give them enough space and time, they will always want to stick to you and will grow to be more affectionate.
Because rabbit body language differs so greatly from that of other pets, it may be difficult to interpret at first that they are becoming fond of you. They do, however, have ways of expressing their love and trust for you.
Are All Rabbits Friendly?
Yes, all rabbits are friendly. Though sometimes, some circumstances make them lose their friendly side. It mostly happens when humans who just want to keep pets in homes but don’t let them move around freely trap them in cages. Such pet rabbits that are trapped for a long time lose their friendly side.
Even when a new owner is trying to make a friendly bond with them, their past trauma makes these prey species run away from sincere human companions. They do take some time to trust the new owner again.
At the time when they reach their sexual maturity, most rabbits become aggressive due to hormonal changes. They also become aggressive when they feel their territory is in danger, but it’s temporary in most cases, and they begin to show affection again in no time.
They often get easily startled by loud noises or any natural fear cause they spend time alone in their hutch. But you don’t have to worry about that case too. When you feed him and show him some love, it feels totally relaxed and starts playing again.
How Long Does It Take for Rabbits to Get Attached to Their Owners?
Many rabbit species are friendly and affectionate from the time they are born. However, some may be timid and frightened and may not like to socialize with humans. Therefore, the time a rabbit takes to become attached to the owner differs depending on the nature and personality of that particular rabbit.
It is possible that he is friendly from the time he sees you. It may even take a couple of hours or some days when you bring him home. The time period can even extend to weeks or even months. In the case of an extremely shy bunny whose ancestors have belonged to the wild for long may take even longer.
Your commitment to be patient and kind is all that is needed for the time being.
Are Rabbits as Affectionate as Dogs and Cats?
“NO” is the obvious answer to this question. Rabbit is merely a rabbit, and his behavior differs from that of dog and cat. Every animal has unique natural attributes. The same may be said regarding rabbits’ affection for human beings.
Dogs and cats are predator animals with significantly different evolutionary histories than herbivores like rabbits. Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits have always resided on the lowest level of food webs as a prey animals, making them timid and fearful.
Dog and cat do not spend their entire day worrying that every other animal would try to devour them, yet rabbits have always been cautious and easily frightened of enormous, scary-looking animals; humans are no exception.
Until the nineteenth century, domesticated rabbits were raised primarily for food, fur, and other advantages without any direct interaction with humans. In contrast, the ancestors of today’s modern dogs and cats were kept as pets and trained for years to overcome their innate fear of human beings.
Even nowadays, many rabbit owners keep their bunnies outside, apart from their families, or in cages for the entire day. They then claim that their bunnies aren’t fond of them. But, of course, there isn’t such a thing. Why would they grow fond of them? Because they feed them a couple of times a day?
Which Are the Most Affectionate Rabbit Breeds?
Following are the most affectionate rabbit breeds:
- Jersey Wooly Rabbit: Because of its weight and size, it is considered a dwarf breed. One cannot resist cuddling with their long, soft, and fluffy coat.
- Harlequin Rabbit: A clever yet docile breed of rabbits that make the owner fall with its gentle nature. This rabbit is safe for kids because of its calm temperament.
- Lionhead Rabbit: This rabbit has a wool mane around its head that gives it the looks of a lion. This breed makes friends easily. These rabbits enjoy the company of their owners and crave love. Give these bunnies the love they want, and you will find the best buddies in them.
- Polish Rabbit: Small size is what makes the magician use polish bunnies in their magic hat. The same reason makes them loved by kids as well. These rabbits love being cuddled and are great friends.
- Rex Rabbit: The short yet dense velvety coat feels great for a cuddle. A Rex rabbit is an ideal family pet as it forms a bond with humans easily and always wants someone to love and care for them.
- Mini Lop: They are one of the most adorable bunnies with a small fat body and large ears. They love receiving cuddles and won’t mind if one picks them up for a long time.
- Holland Lop: These little rabbits don’t need much of that rabbit care and grooming. They are small in size and easy to handle. It is listed as the docile and affectionate rabbit breed.
In fact, there is a long list of rabbit breeds that are as friendly and affectionate as these.
Signs That a Rabbit Likes You
Rabbits often do these cute bunny things to let you know that they have begun to like you and want to remain with you.
Circling Your Feet
Although interpreting your bunny’s body language can be tricky, circling is a frequent social behavior in pet rabbits. These beautiful creatures will run in circles around your feet. Rabbits frequently do this when you are standing. For example, they might make some figures of eight between your legs as you’re trying not to trip.
Not all rabbits, but most of them do so. This behavior is mostly a strong indication of their love. They want to show you how overjoyed they are to greet you even when you have not been there for just an hour. In addition to this, they may occasionally make a gentle, appealing oinking sound to show their pleasure.
Circling their owner’s feet can be an indication of several things, like:
- To express how excited they are to see you.
- When they want something to eat, are anticipating tasty treats, or when it’s time for the meal.
- They want to get your attention and care.
Climbing on Your Lap
If your bunny often jumps into your lap of its own accord, they want to show affection and trust to you. They may have been timid in the start, afraid of being lifted up from the ground level. But if they hop onto your lap on their own now, it means they are becoming touchy and want you to pat them, hold them and cuddle with them.
They are seeking your attention and want you to play with them. Once he leaves your lap, he comes back to be petted and doesn’t go unless you pet him. Petting grows your bond with your rabbit and assures him of your affection.
Binkying Around You
Binkying is an innate behavior in rabbits. It’s when a rabbit takes a huge jump up in the air, twists his body and head, and kicks out his rear legs. A rabbit will only binky when it feels like it, especially when he is extremely happy and excited.
It is quite a sight to behold. Binkying is more likely in rabbits who feel safe in their homes. A happy rabbit doesn’t only binky but also scampers around carelessly.
Laying Next to You
One sign that a rabbit loves you is that he will come on his own and lay next to you. This is because he has already trusted you and is now coming near to get your attention and care. Just like a cat, the rabbits purr when you pet them to show that they are comfortable with you.
Signs That a Rabbit Doesn’t Like You
Just like the signals mentioned above you get when a rabbit loves you, there are some signs that you need to look for when the bunny is mad at you or is scared of you.
Grinds It’s Teeth
Tooth grinding is one of the common ways rabbits show that they are not in a great mood. So if you picked him up and he is grinding his teeth, it’s a sign to let him go or let him continue what it was doing.
Rabbits also grind their teeth when they are in pain. So if there is no other sign of dislike, it’s better to take your bunny to a vet.
Thumps Its Feet
A pet rabbit tends to thump its hind foot when it disapproves of something or senses any danger. Many rabbits thump one foot while other rabbits thump both of their rear feet.
Rabbits are of quiet nature and use this sign to warn other rabbits of a danger they sensed. They will continue thumping their feet until the danger is gone.
You don’t have to stop him from thumping; he might be mad at you for some reason. Just compensate for it with some love and care. But, yes, excessive and non-stop thumping is not a good sign. Your rabbit might be under a stress. Try to relax and contact a vet as well.
Flatten Its Ears
Putting the ears back or down is a signal from these innocent souls saying, “I am angry with you.” It’s not a sign of hate or dislike, but it’s a state of a rabbit being angry. In most cases, he is demanding to be petted or cuddled. A bit of love and care can cheer him up.
It’s best to show affection to these pets from time to time. It just takes a bit of love and extra care to melt a rabbit’s heart.
Turns Down the Food You Offer
Turning down food or flipping the bowl is most commonly the sign of boredom in rabbits. If you had a busy day and couldn’t spend much of the time with the bunny, he might end up behaving this way. Don’t take your frustration out on him because you’re dead tired or got hectic.
It will make the pet hate you even more. Just play with him. It will freshen his mood and make you forget how hard the day was. Only a few minutes can be utilized for this purpose.
I am mentioning again and again that these animals are always looking for love. Just a bit of more love and care can make his day.
Sometimes when one is just about to pick the rabbit up or cuddle him or pet him, all he does is run away, leaving his owner wondering what he has done wrong. It might be because he doesn’t like the owner.
Sometimes this happens even when the person and the pet have a great bond. Well, he might be in a bad mood; let him be for the time being.
Most of the time, a rabbit runs away not because he dislikes the owner but because he had a past trauma that made him run away from humans.
Unfortunately, it happens commonly with first-time rabbit owners, and they are unable to understand why a bunny is doing that. In such a case, don’t worry. He’s not gonna go anywhere. He’s going to return, maybe not for you but at least for a meal.
How to Gain the Rabbit’s Trust?
Following actions can make your bunny love and trust you even more:
Groom the Bunny
Grooming a rabbit includes shedding some hair that is growing speedily, clipping the nails, and bathing him if he gets dirty. In addition, grooming a rabbit shows your affection for this animal.
Make a House for Him
You can make a small or a large rabbit house for him where he can sleep peacefully without anyone disturbing him.
Feed Him Timely
Don’t be late while feeding him. He might get angry.
Keep Yourself at Their Level
Spend time and play chase with the pet rabbit on the floor. It makes them happier.