Rabbit Behavior

Why Do Rabbits Scream & What Does It Mean?

Hearing rabbits scream can be a shuddering experience, their scream is a loud and sharp cry that can be very disturbing to hear. Rabbits are non-vocal animals who rarely make any sound at all unlike cats or dogs who bark, howl or meow as a way of communication. Instead, rabbits exhibit a complex set of behavior and gestures to communicate with one another and their owners. They don’t make any sound is because they are prey animals and making any noises can alert predators of their presence.

A rabbit’s scream is definitely not normal and is a sign of extreme distress in them. It can be caused by excruciating pain, fear of dying, being attacked or while they are just about to die. A screaming rabbit needs immediate attention as it could indicate some sort of injury, pain, or a medical emergency for them.

Lets learn a bit more about how to identify a rabbit’s scream, the reasons why do rabbits scream and find out what to do if you find that your rabbits is screaming.

How To Identify A Rabbit's Scream?

Pet rabbits are non-vocal animals, that means they do not make any sound from their mount. The most common type of sound that a rabbit makes is purring or thumping their back feet.

A rabbit’s scream is very distinct from any other sound that rabbits make, it is loud, sharp and sounds much like a child screaming on the top of their voice. Most rabbit owners will find it quite unnerving to hear.

Always treat a rabbit screaming to be an emergency, you should always take extra care to make sure that your rabbit does not suffer from anything that causes it to scream.

Common Causes For Rabbits Screaming

Even though rabbits screaming is quite unusual, so much most rabbit owners have never experienced it. A rabbit screaming always has some underlying cause to it, whether it is some injury or them having a seizure. Here are some of the most common reasons why rabbits scream

Rabbit Screaming Due To injury

Rabbits are fast and agile animals, they love running, jumping and digging. They can run at upwards for 30 km an hour speed and jump upto 3 times their height. Being so active also means that they are prone to injuries.

Pet rabbits have fragile bones that can get injured during playing, falling or jumping around. They can also suffer from bruises, broken fingernails or small cuts while digging or chewing which they love doing.

If you notice that your rabbit is screaming then make sure to check that you check them for any visible injuries, have a rabbit emergency care kit on hand to provide first aid and take them in for a full check up with a vet.

Rabbit Screaming Due To Pain

Rabbits can also scream when they experience excruciating pain. Not only can they feel resulting from injuries but diseases or conditions as well. Some of the most common ailments in rabbits that cause enough pain to make a rabbit scream are

  • Gas
  • GI Stasis
  • Bloating
  • Toothache
  • Headaches

Rabbits are prey animals and generally tend to hide any signs of sickness or pain, so rabbit screaming is an indicator of a rabbit being in sever distress.

Other than screaming, a rabbit in pain could also show symptoms like being lethargic, sitting with their stomach pressed to ground, grinding their teeth, hiding or shaking. Get your rabbit to a vet immediately if you see any of these symptom in them.

Rabbit Screaming Due To Fear

Rabbits are prey animals that can easily get scared of thing in their surrounding. Their ears are 200 times sharper than us so they can hear the faintest of sounds around them. Their incredible senses and fear response has allowed them to survive in their harsh environment where they are always at the bottom of the food chain.

Noises like dogs barking, cars, construction, fireworks, balloons bursting and other loud noises can really scare a rabbit enough to make them scream in fear. This is so dangerous that they can even experience a heart attack from loud noises.

Rabbit Screaming While Having A Seizure

Some rabbits with health conditions which can cause seizure can have a tough life. Seizures are not always life threatening but they can cause a lot of stress and confusion in rabbits.

A rabbit can scream, groan or honk while handing a seizure. If you suspect that a rabbit is having a seizure then definitely take them to a vet for a thorough checkup.

Rabbit Screaming Due To Anger

Even though rabbits make the sweetest pets they can throw a temper tantrum when really irritated. This is especially true in wild rabbit and much less common in domestic rabbits as they are suited to living with humans.

That being said all rabbits can scream if they are extremely angry, even tiny baby rabbits like this one.

Rabbit Screaming When You Pick It Up

As we discussed earlier, pet rabbits are prey animals which makes them inherently weary of being picked up. Even though most pet rabbits do perfectly fine with being picked up now and then, being grabbed quickly or roughly can trigger a fear response in the rabbit.

A rabbit can scream while being picked up especially if woken up from their sleep or while they are hiding. Gently put the rabbit if you find that they are screaming if you pick them up, try not to drop them as it could lead to the rabbit getting hurt.

Rabbit Screaming While Being Chased

Being chased can be a terrifying experience for rabbits. In their natural habitat rabbits were often chased and hunted by predators like wolves, foxes, or large cats. This has led to an evolutionary fear response in them of being chased.

This is why it is always recommended that you never chase your rabbit and keep it from being chased by other pets like cats or dogs in your house as it may lead to panic and fear in the rabbit make them scream.


Rabbit Screaming While Being Attacked

Rabbits are also known to scream when they are getting attacked, a lot of people around the world keep their rabbits outside in hutches. Being outside, these rabbits are prone to being attacked by stray cats, raccoons, wild dogs especially in areas close wildlife.

As a defense mechanism pet rabbits can scream to alert other rabbits or their owners of the attack. It can also help scare off or distract the predators.

Rabbit Screaming Before Dying

Finally perhaps the most disheartening reason why a rabbit could be screaming is that they fighting with life or death. There a lot of reasons why a pet rabbit can die, it could be old age, sickness or some other reason. In their final moments a rabbit can scream before passing on.

How To Stop Rabbit From Screaming

Hearing a rabbit scream can be a shuddering experience for rabbit owners. Watching our beloved rabbits suffering can really be hard but this is the time when they need us the most. Screaming can be a sign that your rabbit is sick, injured or in pain, in that case they need immediate help from you. Here is what you can do to stop your rabbit from screaming.

  1. Check for a seizure, hold their body with your hands and check if they are twitching.
  2. Check for any signs of injury like bleeding, swelling, bruises or limping.
  3. See if your rabbit is showing signs of pain like sitting with their stomach pressed, feeling unresponsive or hiding.
  4. If you think that your rabbit is scared then allow them to hide in their enclosure as this will help calm them down
  5. Stroke and pat the rabbit in order to make them feel safe.
  6. Offer the rabbit’s favorite treat in order to assess their health condition. If the rabbit does not take the treat then they maybe having some health problems.
  7. Seek immediate medical care from a rabbit-savvy vet if you think that the rabbit is screaming due to injury, pain, or sickness.

Closing Thoughts On Rabbits Screaming

So now that you know what is a rabbit scream and how to identify it you should be better able to handle everything if you ever find your rabbit screaming like human. But we always hope that no rabbit owner should never encounter such a situation.

Check out some of our other articles on living with pet rabbits if you want to learn a bit more about rabbit diet, rabbit care and more.

Please do share this article with your friends on social media. See you next time!



I love pet rabbits and have been living with them since I was a kid. I started this website with the aim to share what I have learned about pet rabbits over the years.

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