Rabbit Mag

Do rabbits cry? Everything you need to know

Has anyone ever heard a rabbit cry? It’s difficult to say since rabbits are typically very quiet creatures. They make little noise beyond the occasional thump or scuttle when they are hiding or playing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t ever express their emotions vocally – in fact, there’s evidence that rabbits do in fact cry, just not in the way we might think. So what does a rabbit cry sound like? And what could they be expressing when they do so? Today we’re going to take a closer look at this interesting topic!

Do rabbits cry?

Rabbits can cry: that is one of the most surprising things I have learned in studying them.  I think, when we hear “crying”, we tend to think of it as a human thing; humans make sounds with their mouths or at least vocalize emotions (such as anger or pain) through words, and so we imagine this is what crying must be like. However, rabbits don’t do either of these things! They communicate vocally by thumping; they make noises in their throats; they grind their teeth, and if frightened they may scream (or more accurately emit a shriek).

Rabbits are generally considered to be very emotionally stable creatures. They are thought to have a particularly calm demeanor, and it’s commonly said that they can play well with others. They have been labeled as being among the easiest pets to care for since they tend to be quiet and docile around humans – though they are always cautious of them until properly introduced. This is part of why rabbits are so popular as both pets and show animals. Their expressive faces make great models for artists, too!

Why Do Rabbits Cry?


Rabbits may also cry when they are in discomfort – for instance if their cage isn’t clean enough – or after eating something tasty but inappropriate to give them (such as lettuce). Sometimes rabbits cry out of fear. Perhaps most distressingly, a female rabbit may cry out during mating – which is one of the reasons why many owners discourage the breeding of their pets from early on.


One reason is that they need to keep in touch (literally) with each other. Rabbits are social animals, and if one is missing, others who notice quickly become anxious; they call repeatedly until the missing rabbit reappears or until some predator has taken him away.

Fear or Pain

Rabbits may cry out of fear, especially when they feel like they are trapped and can’t escape (for instance, if a human has picked them up and is holding them in a way that makes them feel trapped). This may be accompanied by thumping, action rabbits use to warn others of danger. Rabbits may cry out in pain, too, or they may grind their teeth when this happens, so watch for these signs in your pet.


Rabbits cry when they are being harmed or threatened so they can signal their distress, but also because it affects them emotionally. They are sentient creatures with complex emotional lives, just like us! We don’t yet know exactly what was going through Simon’s head as he cried out but we do know that rabbits have feelings, and we can say that he was upset and afraid. Even if he hadn’t been physically harmed, this would still have been a frightening experience for him and an unpleasant one too!

Illness and Injury

If a rabbit cries out when there is no threat and no other noticeable reason, then he may well be sick or injured. The most common example of this is the “silent” stomach ache. Rabbits can suffer digestive problems (just like humans), and when they are in pain, they often cry out. Again, the only way to know for certain is to have your rabbit examined by a veterinarian.

Rabbit may often also have illness-induced symptoms that include crying out, such as choking or even certain types of seizures. If your rabbit seems to be in discomfort or distress, see your vet right away.

When dying

Rabbits will scream when they are dying. I know this for a fact because my rabbit screamed when she died. It was a horrible scream, and I am still haunted by nightmares of it. It sounded almost human, but not really. In fact, even now, I cannot think of those screams without feeling terrible sadness and even guilt that I didn’t do more to help her, even though she had been very sick for a long time.

How to prevent rabbits from crying?

  • If the rabbit screams when being picked up, don’t pick it up. If you have a female and it is screaming during mating, separate them as soon as possible.
  • The cage has to be large enough for the rabbits to hop around and play without getting hurt (e.g. They can not fall from a height of more than 1/2 meter, so their cage needs to have a max. Hight of at least 1 meter).
  • They have to get enough food and water. And don’t give them any lettuce! They are herbivores and should only eat vegetables, not green stuff! Also give them fresh hay or grass every day. And they need to get their slops every day, or at least two times a week.
  • The cage has to be clean enough for them not to get sick. The rabbits have to be able to put their paws into the litter without getting dirty. A good way of doing this is by using wood shavings.
  • The rabbit should have enough company. At least one, but two rabbits are better! They should be of the same gender because rabbits often fight with other genders. If they don’t get along, put them all into a bigger cage. If you only have one bunny, then it is important that you pet him/her at least 2 times a day.
  • If the rabbit screams when you pet it, stop doing that! Keep those hands of yours away from your rabbit and don’t let them run all over you as if they were one of those annoying cats! If you do, your bunny will only learn to scream more and more every time he/she sees you. So ignoring your rabbit would be a better idea.
  • Rabbits also scream when they get angry at each other, usually to show who the boss is. In these cases it might be best to separate them if they can’t get along.

Does it happen frequently?

No: I think they only do this when they’ve been under stress. But does it replace thumping as a way of showing fear or anger at such times? Again, I don’t think so; thumping is the most frequently used expression of those emotions; weeping is rarer. Also, if you handle rabbits, pet them and talk to them now and again (i.e., if your rabbits like you), then even if they’re stressed by your handling and talking to them, they may not show it vocally – but they might still weep. I have a theory that the vocal noises made by rabbits are indications of how much they want to be with you (or away from you): if they talk a lot, it means they want to stay with you; if they thump a lot, it means they want to get away from you.

It’s important not to anthropomorphize: some people say that this type of crying behavior is “cute”, or indicates that your rabbit loves you. They don’t: what it shows is that a human has been involved in what should have been an entirely natural process for the rabbit – going down into its burrow at night-time – and thus things have become stressful for them.

Rabbits tend to be very sensitive, and this is another example of that; most rabbits would rather not be stressed, but if they are then they will weep. And yes: it’s important for you to sit down and stroke your rabbit (gently) while the tears run down their face

conclusion: does a rabbit cry?

Yes, rabbits cry when they are frightened, hurt, or threatened; they make sounds to express their feelings. Whether or not you choose to think of it as crying is up to you (whether you prefer to call similar behaviors “screaming”, “shrieking” etc.), but the point here isn’t what we call it, but that there’s evidence that rabbits do cry in some way when under stress or experiencing negative emotions.

Realistically speaking, I don’t know if we can say whether or not rabbits cry because we really wouldn’t be able to tell without reading their minds—they also let out involuntary noises like sneezes. But what we do see with our own eyes is that they produce tears when crying seems to occur. This suggests that there is some emotional significance behind the act. Of course, human cultures have always had a tendency to anthropomorphize in order to make sense of the world, but for now, at least, I think it is safe to assume that rabbits do experience emotions like humans.

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