Rabbits have a variety of ways in which they communicate whether they are happy or unhappy. Is purring one of the sounds rabbits make? And if yes, what does this mean?
A rabbit purrs to indicate that it is content and happy. Your bunny may purr when it is happily eating, sleeping, or being petted. The purr from a rabbit is a very soft sound that a bunny makes when they lightly rub their teeth together.
You may also wonder how a rabbit purring is different from when cats purr. You’ll find answers to all your rabbit purring questions here today.
Can a Bunny Purr?
Yes, a rabbit can and does purr. It is one of the rabbit sounds they use to communicate with other rabbits and with you, their owner and human bestie.
A cat also purrs when they are happy, but a cat’s purring sound comes from its throat, while a rabbit makes a softer purr sound by rubbing their teeth together. Thus, a rabbit purr is a lot quieter than a cat purring.
So when does a rabbit purr, and more importantly, what does the purr mean?
Why Is My Rabbit Purring?
There are a few reasons your bun will be purring in happiness; however, you should tell happy purring from unhappy purring.
A bunny generally purrs when it is happy, relaxed, and content. However, a rabbit sometimes grinds their teeth (instead of gently rubbing them). If it is more of a grind, Ms. Fluffles may be in discomfort or pain.
How can you tell the difference between a purr that’s meant to communicate happiness and a grinding purr to tell you your bunny isn’t feeling well?
If your rabbit purrs because it is chilled and happy, then its entire body will be relaxed. The purring will be a soft sound.
If your bunny is grinding its teeth, the sound will be louder. Moreover, look into your rabbit’s eyes. They will have a scared look, and their eyes will seem as if they want to pop out. Their whole body will be tense. Your rabbit will also seem jumpy, on edge, or nervous.
The more you interact with your rabbit and learn its personality and how it communicates, the easier it will be to tell whether your rabbit truly is content versus unhappy or in pain.
To learn more about when your bunny is in distress, read our article on the topic.
Reasons Why Rabbits Purr
There are a few circumstances your bunny can purr when it is happy:
Reason 1: Petting or Stroking
One reason your rabbit is purring is when you are petting or stroking your rabbit. This is a bonding session between you and your bun.
If you are a first-time rabbit owner, your bunny may not relax and purr the first (or first few) times you pet it. Once your rabbit feels comfortable with you and knows you are the one providing it with a clean habitat and well-balanced meals, then it will start trusting you.
When petting your bunny, stroke them gently on their backs, cheeks, ears, and forehead. Keep on gently stroking as long as your rabbit is happily chilling next to you on the floor or sofa.
For a stressed bun, keep gently stroking, and eventually, their body will relax and their stress will fall away.
Part of your rabbit learning to trust you is that you know where they don’t generally like to be touched.
These areas are their belly and butt. If you do try to touch your bunny here (unless they trust you implicitly and are so familiar with you), they will try to get away and may make noises of distress.
Reason 2: Eating Yum Food
Another reason your bunny maybe purring is that they are eating yum-yum food. Purring while eating means that everything is more than just okay in the bunny world.
While your bunny is chewing away, leave them be.
If you disturb Mr. Fluffles while he is enjoying the tasty Timothy hay and leafy green veggies, his sounds of pleasure may turn into a sound that says “please leave me alone to enjoy my delicious meal.” To show his displeasure, your rabbit may thump at you.
It is good to remember that rabbits feel vulnerable and easily threatened while eating. Thus, your bunny will be on edge and the slightest movement or noise can spook Mr. Fluffles.
Reason 3: Sleeping Peacefully
Your rabbit may be purring when they are having a nap or sleeping peacefully at night. As your rabbit just enjoys laying there and resting, they may emit a purr or a few.
When your rabbit purrs while sleeping, it is best to leave them alone. Any loud noises can send their tiny hearts racing, and this could lead to a heart attack and death.
What Does a Bunny Purring Sound Like?
A rabbit’s purr is a low-pitched sound. As the rabbit is clucking its teeth, the sound it makes is like a rumble or a helicopter that is far away.
Do Rabbits Vibrate When They Purr?
Since the purr from a rabbit is a very soft sound, it is easy to miss it. If you do suspect your bunny is purring, you can gently place your hand on top of their head.
You’ll feel a slight vibration that happens when they rub their teeth in contentment.
The Last Purr
As a rabbit owner, knowing what kind of sounds your bunny makes and what they are trying to tell you is important. If you are petting your bunny and they are purring, then you know to keep on gently petting your beloved rabbit as it is clearly enjoying itself.
If your rabbit is angry, thumps at you, or makes another sound of unhappiness, you know to back off and leave your bunny alone.
And the same can be said if Ms. Fluffels isn’t feeling well. While the sound of her grinding her teeth may sound like a purr, double-check to see if her body is chilled or if she is tense and scared.
When you hear unhappy purring and suspect your pet rabbits aren’t feeling well, you can see what’s wrong or take them to the vet for treatment.