Betsy Vanderbun

The Language of Lagomorphs

Marvin Underfoot


Did You Say Binky?

The happiest rabbit expression is commonly called a "binky." It's impossible to mistake for anything else, and the first time you see one you will probably wonder if the poor thing is having a convulsion. When a rabbit binkies, it jumps into the air and twists its head and body in opposite directions (sometimes twice) before falling back to the ground. This can be done while standing in one place, or while running, which is really weird looking, and is sometimes called the "happy bunny dance." A rabbit can even turn 180o in midair. All this is a rabbit's way of telling you straight out that it is happy and overall pleased with you and its life. Some rabbits binky a lot and some hardly at all, even if they are being treated well. Everyone has their own temperment.

 
Marvin does the happy bunny dance.
Yipee!
245K movie


A common variation, which you can easily do too, is the half-binky, also called a head flick or ear flick. Instead of twisting the whole body, just the head is quickly turned sideways and back. This is still a pretty impressive sight in a creature with ears longer than its head! A head flick can be performed while running, or when sitting in place. A head flick is similar in meaning to a shudder, but is a little more playful and silly. It differs in presentation from the "I'd rather not" ear wobble, because it's much faster and often includes a slight rearing up by lifting the front feet.

You can do a head flick too, by quickly dropping your head sideways and then back up, with a bit of a twist. If you have long hair that gets flung, your rabbit is even more sure to get the message. Some happy rabbits will head flick back at you to show that they share your happiness. It's always nice to answer a head flick in kind.

If you want to go for the full binky, your rabbit will understand if you jump up a little in one place while doing a head flick. I recommend you don't try to twist your body in mid-air like a rabbit will, especially if there is any furniture around, you have a history of back problems, or are over 45 years old. Trust me on this one.

A rabbit expression of joy
Head Flick,
or Half-Binky


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