Why Do Rabbits Thump Their Feet?

Categorized as Bunny Facts Tagged ,

Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Rabbits thump their feet to signal to other rabbits underground that something is scaring them. Once a rabbit has seen, heard, or smelt something they’re afraid of, like a predator, they will thump their feet to signal other rabbits underground.

But, rabbits can also thump whenever they feel angry or annoyed at something.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits thump their feet:

Reasons why rabbits thump their feet.

Rabbits mainly thump their feet whenever they feel scared.

Rabbits do this to warn other rabbits that something is scaring them and they should hide.

But, rabbits can also thump their feet whenever they feel angry, stressed, or annoyed.

Here’s an example of a thumping rabbit:

Do rabbits thump when in pain?

As mentioned above, rabbits can sometimes thump when they’re stressed.

A rabbit that’s in pain would usually experience some kind of stress due to discomfort.

Thumping without any reason can be a sign of concern, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms that your rabbit might be in pain.

Bring your rabbit to a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Irregular breathing
  • Hair pulling
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

Do rabbits thump when happy?

Rabbits don’t thump when they’re happy.

Thumping is a sign that a rabbit is scared, angry, stressed, or annoyed.

Do rabbits thump when angry?

Rabbits that are angry can thump to show whatever’s making them angry that they need to back off.

Do rabbits thump when excited?

Rabbits thumping through excitement is rare.

Usually, when a rabbit is excited, they will run around in circles.

Rabbits use thumping as a way to convey that they’re scared or angry.

Do rabbits thump when they’re hungry?

Depending on your rabbit’s personality, they can sometimes thump if they are hungry.

Rabbits need to eat a lot to induce gut movement.

A rabbit that’s hungry would be stressed and frustrated.

Rabbits that are stressed and frustrated can thump to convey their message.

Do rabbits thump when playing?

Rabbits don’t thump while playing.

If they do thump while you’re playing with your rabbit, you might have scared them unintentionally.

Rabbits can get scared easily, so it’s kind of hard to avoid it.

If your rabbit thumps while you’re playing, they’re basically saying that you should back off.

Do rabbits thump when annoyed?

Rabbits can thump if they’re annoyed, like if you’re too slow when giving out treats.

While most rabbits would only thump their feet when scared, every rabbit has a different personality and would convey its message in different ways.

Do rabbits thump for attention?

Being prey creatures, rabbits evolved to dislike attention because it would only harm them in the wild.

So it’s rare for rabbits to thump for attention.

But, your rabbit can learn that when they thump, you give them attention or food.

Why do rabbits thump their feet at night?

Rabbits thumping their feet at night is likely due to fear.

You should check if there’s something in your home or near your rabbit’s resting place that might be scaring her.

It could also be due to frustration and stress.

If your rabbit is confined to a small cage all night, it will eventually lead to stress.

You might want to consider getting a larger hutch or letting your rabbit free roam.

Why do rabbits thump their feet when you put them down?

Rabbit being put down by its owner.
“upside down betsy” by Keithius is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rabbits don’t like to be picked up.

The motion of going down might have scared your rabbit, which in turn led to thumping.

You need to either stop picking up your rabbits or put them down more slowly.

You should also learn how to properly pick up and put down your rabbit to lessen the amount of stress they feel whenever you do it.


Rabbits thump their feet whenever they feel fear.

Rabbits do this to silently signal other rabbits underground that something above is scaring them.

Depending on your rabbit’s personality, they could also thump due to stress, pain, frustration, or attention.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (January 31, 2023) Why Do Rabbits Thump Their Feet?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/rabbits-thumping/.
"Why Do Rabbits Thump Their Feet?." Bunny Horde - January 31, 2023, https://bunnyhorde.com/rabbits-thumping/

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.