Betsy Vanderbun

The Language of Lagomorphs

Marvin Underfoot


The Need for Speed

Rabbits are fast and they know it. They love to run, including racing up and down hallways and through rooms. Some folks call this "Running the Bunny 500." Rabbits will even work on improving their moves, by practicing quick turns in a small space. Racing rabbits are happy rabbits.

Some rabbits actually like to be chased, as they know full well that they're much faster than you are. A rabbit that wants to be chased will usually sit facing sideways to you a little distance away, so that it's between you and a good racing area (e.g. a long hallway or open room). Its ears will be perked up and facing you, and it may take a quick step or two toward its getaway, then stop while watching you. A non-threatening chase can ensue (e.g. the ever popular running-while-waving-one's-arms and saying, "I'm gonna catch you!"). The rabbit may even zig-zag as it runs, and will probably not go at full speed. A rabbit in such an invited chase will often run with its ears mostly up, while one running scared will always lay its ears back. At the end of the chase, the rabbit will sit in a comfortable place and allow you to groom him or her. If the chase was not about fun (i.e. if you really scared it), then it will probably indicate some fear and anger when you approach. Some rabbits like to be chased and others don't.

Incidentally, when a rabbit visits you and then hops off, but stops to look at you just before moving out of view, it sometimes means you're expected to follow (not necessarily by chasing). You can also sometimes use this signal to get your rabbit to follow you.

 


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