Having your rabbit stare at you can be quite unnerving. We already know that when a person stares at you, you feel like you’ve grown a second head or have an egg on your face. So why does your rabbit stare at you?
Is there something wrong with your bunny … or with you that they stare?
Your rabbit stares at you for various reasons. Your bunny can see you as a threat or they may be watching your back. Your rabbit can also beg for food by staring. They could be happy, curious, or sleeping. It could be a sign of dominance.
The body language that accompanies the staring reveals why your bun stares at you.
Let’s learn more about why rabbits stare, when this is harmless, and when you need to worry.
Reason Why Rabbits Stare
There are various reasons your rabbit could stare at you. To know which one is applicable in your situation, it is recommended to also take note of your bun’s body language.
Rabbits need to always be alert so they can get away. This alertness is related to the fact that rabbits are prey animals.
Your rabbit may be staring at you because they aren’t sure whether or not you are a threat. They watch you so they can bolt in time if they need to.
The body language of your rabbit that accompanies staring when they think you might be a threat are alert ears, a twitching nose, and a tense and still body.
A rabbit could also stare at you while you walk away. Here, they are watching your back.
Rabbits know that predators prey on them, so they look out for each other. Your bunny could be thinking it is doing the same for you.
Your bunny’s body language will also be tense and still with eyes and ears on high alert. Your bun may also keep staring to see how you react.
Your bunny can also stare at you because they are hungry. This staring is them actually begging for food or treats.
The body language that goes with staring because of hunger would be your bun standing on their hind legs.
A rabbit that is happy will stare at you.
The bunny’s whole body will be relaxed and they may even lie down and stretch out to stare at you.
When you bond two rabbits, they will stare at each other until one gives in and grooms the dominant rabbit. Or they will fight.
Your bunny can do the same with you. Stare at you until you groom, pet, or massage your bun.
Your bunny may nip at you or lick you to groom you. This is a sign that your rabbit likes you and feels comfortable. They may also nudge you with their head.
Rabbits are curious animals. Your bun could be staring at you in interest if you are doing something they are unfamiliar with. Your bunny is paying attention to understand what you are doing.
The body language of your rabbit will be relaxed and they may slowly hop over to investigate.
While your rabbit sleeps, it may feel as if they are staring at you.
Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open because they have a third transparent eyelid, called a nictitating membrane that lubricates their eyes when open.
This is part of the survival instinct of rabbits – sleeping with eyes open means that they can wake instantly if a predator approaches or another threat appears.
Rabbit Excessive Staring: What Does It Mean?
If your rabbit is staring excessively, it could mean one of two things:
- Your rabbit doesn’t trust you and may see you as a threat.
- Your rabbit may be sick or ill, especially if they are staring at the wall.
How to Keep Your Rabbit From Staring Excessively
Follow these steps to figure out why your bun is staring excessively and how you can stop this from happening:
Step 1: Rule our Pain, Injury, or Illness
The first step is to make sure your rabbit isn’t in pain, injured, or sick.
Your rabbit could also be suffering from loneliness, anxiety, and depression, especially if the cage isn’t big enough, they don’t have enough toys, you don’t spend time with them, they don’t get enough exercise, and they don’t eat a balanced, healthy diet.
If you think your rabbit is sick, then call the vet and take your bun for a check-up.
Step 2: Start Building Trust
If you know the excessive staring isn’t due to pain or illness, then you know you have a mistrust issue on hand.
The first step to building trust with your rabbit is to ensure they feel safe. This means placing the rabbit cage in a quiet and peaceful environment where your rabbit gets sunlight and shade.
Your rabbit has lots of hay to chew and gets daily meals of fresh, yummy leafy greens and pellets. They get the occasional treat. And they have access to clean drinking water.
They have enough space to sleep and potty with the right bedding, litter, and litter box. Your rabbit also has nudge and chew toys to keep them entertained and gets exercise in the run or in a rabbit-proofed room in your home.
Step 3: Bond With Your Bunny
Now that your rabbit’s physical and mental needs are met, you need to also meet their emotional and social needs. You can start doing this by bonding with your rabbit.
Bond with your bunny by:
- Speaking in soothing tones with your rabbit
- Not making loud noises or sudden movements
- Bribing your bunny with treats
- Spending one-on-one time with your bun
- Having a set routine so your rabbit knows when it is feeding, play, and exercise time
- Teaching your rabbit tricks
How Do You Tell If Your Bunny Likes You?
Your rabbit loves and likes you if they:
- Let you pet and massage them
- Lick, nibble, and nuzzle you to show affection
- Do zoomies and binkies
- Willingly come up to you
- Lay down next to you
- Circle your feet
- Make happy noises, like purring, honking or oinking, or clucking
How Do You Know If Your Bunny Is Mad at You?
You will know that your pet rabbit is mad at you if they stare and they stomp one or both of their hind legs. A rabbit that is thumping is telling you to back off and that they are unhappy with you.
The Last Stare
As a fur parent, it is essential to know why your rabbit could be staring at you, and whether the staring is excessive.
You’d obviously like your rabbit to only ever stare at you in adoration and happiness, but to get there, your bun needs to trust you.
To create a safe environment for your bunny, and show your rabbit that they can trust you by bonding with them and meeting their needs.