Why Do Rabbits Thump

Why Do Rabbits Thump?

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A rabbit’s thumping is famously known as one of their most common traits As a new rabbit owner, it can sometimes be confusing as to why your rabbit is thumping, especially if they’re doing it regularly.

If your rabbit is constantly thumping, and you’re unsure as to why your rabbit is thumping, then this guide should be able to clarify some of the possible reasons. There are also some actions that you can take to help you bunny reduce the urge to thump!

Why Does A Rabbit Thump?

If you’re noticing that your rabbit is thumping their back foot a lot, there could be a number of reasons for them doing so, as this is a completely natural reaction and typically occurs when the rabbit senses danger, whether this through sight, smell, or hearing. 

Each Rabbit thumps differently in response to danger;. Some will stand on all four of their feet, ears alert, before thumping their back feet in order to warn other rabbits around them that danger is nearby.

Other rabbits may thump just one of their rear feet, and some may thump both feet at the same time.

This thumping stems from the fact that rabbits aren’t particularly vocal animals, and is, therefore, one of the most important ways for them to be able to communicate well. 

Rabbits will usually remain in their thumping position till they are otherwise convinced that the danger has completely passed, and the time difference between each thump of their foot can vary greatly, sometimes it’s a matter of seconds, and other times it may even be a couple of minutes.

A rabbit’s thumping can last up to an hour in some cases. 

What Is A Rabbit Scared Of?

Rabbits are quite sensitive animals, so there is a wide variety of things that they might perceive as danger, even if it’s nothing to worry about! 

For example, they might get concerned about a loud noise, a small fire pit, perhaps unpredictable movement, birds flying overhead, or the presence of a cat or a dog nearby.

So whilst all of these things may seem entirely ordinary to us, to rabbits, these are things that could be the difference between life and death, and their natural instinct is to warn the other rabbits around them, hence the thumping. 

Should I Be Concerned?

Why Do Rabbits Thump?
This calm, safe rabbit doesn’t feel the need to thump

All rabbits will probably thump during their time with you, they’re sensitive and alert animals and much of our lives in the home will contain things that they might be scared of at first and require some getting used to.

However, if your rabbit is thumping a lot, often without any stops, then you should take notice, continual thumping can cause your rabbit a lot of stress, and can be fatal too.

So it’s important that you identify what is causing them this stress, and remove them from the situation entirely until they are able to calm down. 

It’s also important to note that some rabbits will thump simply as a sign of sheer disapproval, and this can happen in a wide variety of contexts and situations, especially if it involves you cleaning out their space, or perhaps a change in the food you’re giving them.

As an owner, this is where you should be able to figure out what is wrong with your rabbit, and by doing so, you’ll be able to form a better understanding of their needs so that you can be the best owner possible. 

How To Stop A Rabbit Thumping?

Since thumping is a sign of anxiety on behalf of your rabbit, it’s definitely sensible for you to try and come to a conclusion as to what is causing your rabbit to thump, and then try to fix this issue for your rabbit.

The best way to do this is to make a note of every time your rabbit thumps, and then observe its surroundings.

What is going on around the rabbit that could possibly be causing your rabbit to be scared or anxious? 

Sometimes, the answer to this question is relatively obvious, it might be a loud car passing or the neighbor’s dog barking, but other times it may take you a little while to figure out what the problem is.

Remember the rabbits use their nose, ears, and their eyes to sense danger, so try to consider what it might be able to smell and hear, as well as what it can see.

Even heavy vibrations in the ground can cause a rabbit to become scared, so there’s really a lot to consider. 

Once you’ve figured out what the problem is, it’s down for you to fix it in order to help make your rabbit feel more comfortable.

If the thumping is irregular, and only occurs when say a bird flies overhead, then realistically you’re unable to do much about that, and it shouldn’t pose much of an issue to your rabbit’s health.

But if the problem is causing your rabbit to stress often, then you need to resolve it as soon as possible. 

Another idea for this may be to try and desensitize your rabbit, alongside the help of a trained behaviorist, especially if it’s because of another pet in the home, such as a cat or a dog.

The idea is to make this experience as positive as possible, which will help to reinforce to your rabbit that whatever is causing them to panic, is actually perfectly safe, and therefore nothing to really worry about. 


In conclusion, rabbits can thump for a wide variety of reasons but it is typically done when they are afraid or anxious.

As a result of this, it’s important to understand what is causing your rabbit to act this way, and to try and help them relax.

Remember, if you have any particular concerns, then the best thing to do is consult a vet!

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