←Go back to RSPCA

RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase

Search:     Advanced search

What does it mean when rabbits thump their legs?

Article ID: 39
Last updated: 15 Apr, 2014
Add comment
Views: 49841
Comments: 0
Thumping of the back legs is a natural reaction among rabbits to danger that they have smelt, heard or seen.
Rabbits stand on all four feet, sometimes in a tip-toe position, with their ears alert, then lift their rear feet and thump to warn everyone in the warren that there is danger. Some rabbits will thump one foot on the ground, some will thump both hind feet at the same time. Rabbits aren't very vocal so thumping is their way of communicating. They may remain in the thumping posture until convinced that the danger is gone. The length of time between thumps can vary from a few seconds to a couple of minutes and may last an extended period of time (even an hour or more).

This "danger" could be a furnace, an electrical appliance turning on or a lit cigarette when they are not used to the smoke. "Danger" could be the shadow of a bird flying across the moon or a cat walking on the window sill chasing a shadow on the floor. A rabbit who is exhibiting continual thumping can die from fright and should be reassured and comforted as soon as possible.

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person’s unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Add comment
Also read
document What should I feed my pet rabbit?
document I just got a new rabbit. Can you give me some general advice on its care?

Prev   Next
What can I do in hot weather to prevent heatstroke in my pet?     What is myxomatosis and how do I protect my rabbit from it?