Yes, rabbits do cry. This heartbreaking action doesn’t involve shedding tears, but they let out a sound that’s usually a whimper, grunt, or scream. You’ll only hear this sound when they’re in extreme situations where their life or well-being is threatened.
Rabbits don’t tend to cry if they’re sad or lonely. These emotions are shown through changes in behavior like not grooming themselves, lost appetite, and more.
Why Do Rabbits Cry?
It’s important to understand why they’re crying so you know the best way to help them.
Your rabbit might be crying if they’re:
- In pain: Some sort of illness or injury could be causing your rabbit pain. If this is accompanied by grinding their teeth or unusual behavior, you’ll need to take them to a vet asap.
- Frightened: A terrified rabbit might cry out in fear, especially if they feel cornered and if there’s no escape.
- About to die: A rabbit might scream or cry out if they’re terrified and think that they’re about to die. This haunting scream is rarely heard.
- Starving: This is only seen in baby rabbits (kits), who will cry when they’re extremely hungry. They’re usually fed by their mothers once per day, and might cry when approaching feeding time or if their mother doesn’t come back to feed them.
- Anxious: Rabbits are social creatures, and can become anxious for numerous reasons. One such reason could be if one rabbit from a bonded pair is gone and they’ll call out for their friend and might cry until they come back.
What Does Rabbit Crying Sound Like?
The sound of rabbit crying can be difficult to identify, as it could differ between individual rabbits, and whoever hears it might describe it differently.
Some people liken a rabbit crying to whimpering or grunting. While others say it’s more like a scream. If all is well, you wouldn’t hear your rabbit cry very often so you might not immediately recognize it. If you hear your rabbit making an unusual sound (other than teeth chattering, honking, or stomping) you should investigate it right away.
A baby rabbit’s cries sound like a sheep bleating. This sound is more common at night and should stop once the baby rabbit has been fed.
How to Help a Crying Rabbit
If your rabbit is crying, it’ll be due to a physiological issue rather than an emotional issue. Never ignore a crying rabbit as they might need help.
If a baby rabbit in the wild starts crying, you shouldn’t immediately intervene as the mother might be on her way. Crying is normal for baby rabbits around dusk but if it continues during the night and the following day, there’s a chance that the rabbit has been orphaned and is starving. In this case, contact your local rabbit center for assistance.
If your pet rabbit is crying out, assess them for any other symptoms that could indicate why they’re crying. Comfort them as much as you can and speak to a vet for advice.
There are some things you can do to make your rabbit’s life as pleasant as possible and reduce the chances of them getting into a state where they end up crying.
- Feed them a healthy, balanced diet: This’ll mean digestion problems are less likely and they’re getting all the nutritional requirements that they need.
- Be mindful to not handle your rabbit too much: Holding them without proper support can also lead to whimpering.
- Make sure they have plenty of space to stretch their legs and exercise: This includes a large hutch or cage that gives them enough space to take several steps. The more rabbits you have, the larger their home will need to be.
- Where possible, get at least two rabbits together: It’s super important for rabbits to live in pairs or groups.
- Keep them as safe from predators as you can: Make sure they are secure and have a safe place to hide if need be.
- Attend to any injuries or illness as soon as you notice: Quick responses will mean the best chance for recovery.
- Give your rabbit plenty of attention and mental stimulation: Toys, companions, and playing with your rabbit will prevent boredom.
- Practice good maintenance: Clean their cage regularly (daily) and groom them often to help them stay on top of their coat.
If your rabbit is otherwise content and in good health but starts crying, help them immediately. Some people might never hear their rabbit cry, but sometimes they cry for reasons out of your control. The most important thing is to help them as much as you can.
What Other Reasons Might Cause a Rabbit to Whimper?
If you notice your rabbit whimpering, it might not necessarily mean that they’re crying. Other reasons could be causing your rabbit to whimper.
Your rabbit might whimper:
- If the temperature changes suddenly (too hot or too cold).
- If your female rabbit is pregnant and feels as though she’s in danger.
- If they don’t want to be held.
- If they see a predator.
- If there’s a loud noise (fireworks, loud music, or something that startles them).
Check if there’s an obvious cause for your rabbit’s distress. They might stop whimpering and settle down if the cause is appropriately removed or dealt with.
Do Rabbits Cry Tears?
No, rabbits don’t cry tears. They do have tear ducts in their lower eyes, but this is for draining excess moisture from their eyes.
Your rabbit’s eyes should be clear and glassy, if you notice that the fur under their eye is damp or weeping then they probably have a medical problem. This will require vet treatment – the sooner they get it checked out the better.
Do Rabbits Cry Often?
Rabbits shouldn’t cry often – as this would indicate that they’re regularly facing some pretty serious problems. This would mean they’re in pain, regularly scared, in peril, or anxious. If your rabbit is crying a lot, you need to work out why and resolve it immediately. If you’re unsure what to do, the best course of action is to speak to a vet.
Is My Rabbit Crying Because They’re Sad?
No, rabbits don’t cry from emotions like sadness or loneliness. If your rabbit is sad you’ll see signs like your rabbit hiding, sleeping a lot, and losing their appetite. There are other signs too, but it’ll vary between individual rabbits. You know your rabbit best, so look out for unusual behavior and seek help when it’s needed.