Why do Rabbits Thump?


Today I thought it might be interesting to talk a little bit about rabbit behavior and body language, including answering the question why do rabbits thump.  After all, we as humans communicate far more by the way of body language than we ever do by speaking, so it makes sense that our rabbits also exhibit similar behavior.


And one of the strangest of all types of rabbit body language is the thump.  If you’ve never seen a rabbit do this before, then take a look at this video to see what it looks like.



Video courtesy of YouTube and uploaded by Pooopyscoopy


So… Why Do Rabbits Thump Their Foot? 


Rabbit thumping is all about a bunny signaling a warning or expressing his or her displeasure.  And even the sweetest of pets can exhibit this particular kind of bunny behavior.  Some of the reasons why rabbits thump can seem a little bizarre to us, as humans.  But then, when you remember that our bunnies are prey animals, and that they’re pretty much at the bottom of the food chain out there in the big wild world, then it becomes a little easier to understand why they might be nervous or startled by something that we might not have even contemplated.


In the bunny world, a thump of either a single hind leg or both together is enough to create a noise that others will hear and take heed of.  Or if a rabbit is unhappy at something then it can literally be what bunnies do to say “oi!  I don’t like that.”


why do bunnies thump their foot


So, have you seen this kind of behavior in your pets? Does your rabbit thump? And have you managed to work out why he or she does it.  We’d love to hear the reason to why your rabbits thump.  Some do it more than others, some do it at night, others do it for perhaps the most obscure reasons.  So – over to you to tell us what insights you’ve come to in our quest for further understanding our rabbit’s behavior.  Who knows – perhaps, between us, we can come up with the definitive answer to the question of “why do rabbits thump?”


Till next time – love those bunnies….


Oh!  And I almost forgot…  We’d love it if you’d help us in our mission to make the nation’s small pets the best kept in the world.  If you’ve enjoyed this blog then it’d be awesome if you could share it on Twitter or Facebook.  And if you fancy leaving a comment then we’d love to hear from you.


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  1. says

    my doe went off behind the water heater to drop her second litter and i hadnt counted the days accurately or i would have known it was time. my buck started thumping loud and hard OVER AND OVER until he woke me up, i got up let him out of the cage and he went to be with her during her labor. funny how he wasnt even in the same room with her and he knew it was time! Glad he woke me up so we could both be there for her. I had missed her first birth because he was out of his cage with her already and he didnt need me, lol : (

  2. says

    My buck, Elliott, will do it out of the blue some days. Most of the time, however, it’s when my roommate is having a severe iron deficiency, or there’s a raccoon outside, or he hears a hawk, or even a certain register of a man’s voice (and only one guy so far, too…). My doe Estelle, however, has only done it once, when she saw me pick up the vacuum cleaner. But she responds to Elliott’s thumps and goes into hiding until he gives her the all clear.

  3. says

    My rabbit will do it every time he jumps out of his cage or we put him down. Hes a snuggler and is super friendly and loves to be held.

  4. says

    my girly Hera thumps whenever the downstairs neighbors get loud… I love it and its hilarious cause it just seems like her way of saying “hey jerks! be quiet!”

  5. says

    So funny I should receive the email today about “thumping.” My BunBun has been doing this for a number of weeks about 3:30 in the AM. Another bunny lover and I have been trying to figure out why he’s doing this. I live in 2nd floor apartment and BunBun has his own room, so he’s not caged, open window, access to everything including his favorite ball, etc. Can’t imagine what might be scaring him. I wake up when I hear him thumping, LOL and I believe he just wants attention or a treat, just like a spoiled child. He’s out now with access to the entire apartment, doesn’t thump, just in the wee hours of the morning. LOL

    • says

      This might have to do with the “open window” in his room – he might be hearing noises from outside that are scary or unfamiliar to him,causing him to thump.
      If he doesn’t already have background noise that he’s used to (i.e. tv, radio), then any other noise that surfaces among virtual silence can freak a rabbit out easily.

  6. Lynda Sickler says

    about 5 years ago, I was up reading in the middle of the night (couldn’t sleep!) All of a sudden I heard our dwarf, Marmalade, thump. She was upstairs on the landing and I was on the first floor. I asked her what was up but of course, she didn’t answer me. A few seconds later, the dishes in the kitchen and the pictures on the wall were rattling. We had a small earthquake! Marm knew it before we even felt it!

  7. says

    A few years ago I had the sweetest Rex rabbit. Her name was Sweetie Peetie. When she was young and we were alone in the bedroom. She was under the bed and thumped. After a few times I had her come out. Well she came out and ran right back under the bed. Then she thumped again. Ok, so I looked under the bed and she was nibbling on a lamp chord! She would nibble, get shocked, and thump! I don’t know why she kept it up but she I took her play-thing (the chord) away from her. I never recall her thumping again.

  8. says

    My rabbit has been Thumping at 3-4am for the past few nights repeatedly. Nothing is out of the norm and I just can’t figure it out. But she keeps me up and I don’t know what to do.

  9. says

    My rabbit thumps if I’m making too much noise. The other day I had a case of the hiccups for a while and about 5 minutes in she started thumping after I would hiccup.

  10. Doris Chang says

    rory thumps mostly in reaction to things that alarm him or are unusual. the other day i took him to a friends where we were drumming and making music and he started thumping along. i couldnt tell if it was a ‘stop it!’ or him just adding his own percussion bc he didnt seem particularly upset and didn run away

  11. says

    My Jinxs does is when my boyfriend tries to play with him by poping out from under the edge of the bed he’ll binky away and then stomp his back feet and then jumps in his litter box. I think its cute is it always a sign of displesure?

  12. says

    Four Socks does it whenever he’s happy. While being petted, when let out of his pen, while running and doing binkies, so I’d say it’s also a happy thump too!

  13. says

    I just adopted a rabbit from the Arizona Humane Society a few days ago. He had been neutered two days before the adoption and the AZ Humane Society told me that he shouldn’t get any exercise for one week so that he can make a safe, full recovery. However, being locked up in his cage is breaking my heart because I know he wants free range of the house- and I know for a fact he is not happy about being stuck in a cage. Therefore, he thumps his hind legs all the time… I hope things turn around someday.

  14. says

    My rabbit, Bruno, thumps when he is happy. And when I tell him to get off my bed he thumps at me. So I guess that is his way of telling me he doesn’t like to be to far from me.

  15. Sarah Stephens says

    My gal Bella, thumps her foot whenever she’s cross with me. I put her in her cage at night and if I dont give her a yogurt chip fast enough she just thumps up a storm. Whenever I pop her in the butt because she’s doing something she knows she’s not supposed to she thumps all around. She is very sassy, and very set in her ways, and does NOT take kindly to any sort of retributions.

  16. Caz says

    I run a Small Pet Boarding business in Ashtead (Ashtead Pet Boarding). We have lots of bunnies staying with us during the Summer holidays and the issue of thumping is a really interesting one! Last night it sounded like they were having a beach party with bongo drums! What surprises me is that sometimes one rabbit can be scared, for example if they haven’t stayed with us before and are unaccustommed to their surroundings but although they may thump, the rest of the occupants calmly carry on regardless. And yet at other times it only needs one bunny to start and they all freeze, listening intently and then maybe join in. Presumably the thumps are different like our language? I am quite fascinated but not so keen as to be patrolling the garden every night at 2.30am!!

  17. AkiraGunn says

    My rabbit Tokyo thumps his one hind leg when he doesn’t get his way. I closed the door to his playroom and for about 5 minutes with a little pause in between he would thump his hind leg. he doesn’t like being told no lol

  18. sam smith says

    My jasper does it alot and its hard to tell if hes upset or happy. He does it mosly when i turn off the light ad go to bed however last night ha did it alot and i think he might be sick and might be warning me that he is. he isnt pooping as often or eating as much. His breathing doesnt even sound like breathing anymore it sounds like buzzing every 3rd breath. so based on last night is he upset? or warning me? or haapy?