Your rabbit could be staring at you because they’re hungry and want to be fed, because they want to be groomed, or because you’ve caught their interest. By understanding their body language, you can figure out the reason why they’re staring.
Read on to find out more reasons why a rabbit might be staring at you.
Reasons Why Your Rabbit Is Staring at You
There are a multitude of reasons that could be causing your rabbit to stare so intently at you. It’s a natural and instinctive behavior that you’ll find every rabbit does, whether they’re wild or domesticated.
The main eight reasons why your rabbit might be staring are because they’re:
- Curious: If your rabbit is interested in what you’re doing (if you’ve never done it before or it’s something they like) you might catch them watching you because they want to know what you’re doing.
- Fearful of a threat: If a rabbit thinks that you could be a predator or threat to them, they might watch you to learn more about your intentions while they are prepared the flee the moment that you do anything threatening.
- On the lookout: Your rabbit might be on guard, making sure that no predators creep up behind you. They’re fiercely loyal to people and other rabbits that they bond with, and will protect those that they love.
- Waiting to be groomed: Rabbits aren’t very vocal, so they rely on body language to convey their needs. If they want some help with their grooming, they might stare at you until you understand.
- Hungry: A rabbit waiting for their next meal or wanting a treat might stare intently at you. This is often the first step they’ll take, with other actions like begging sometimes coming after.
- Wary: If your rabbit has sensed (smelled, heard, or spotted) something and they’re waiting for you to notice and react.
- Happy: A content rabbit might be lazily staring at you while they’re relaxing.
- Asleep: Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open, so if your rabbit is still and just watching you, it could be that they’re actually asleep.
How to Tell Why a Rabbit Is Staring
When you notice your rabbit staring at you, it’s important to note the rest of their body language so you can work out why they’re staring.
Look out for body language accompanying staring like:
- Lying down with their ears down means your rabbit is relaxed.
- Balancing on their back legs as if standing up (sometimes with their front paws crossed) is begging, when your rabbit wants something (usually food) from you.
- If there’s ears are up and their nose twitching fast, then they’re on alert and watching for your reaction.
- Aggressive behavior like biting, nudging, and thumping are disapproval for your rabbit. You’ve displeased them through your actions (like moving something) or by not doing something (like not grooming or giving them attention).
- If their head is tilted or leaning forward, this is often the sign of a curious rabbit.
- A still nose and relaxed body can be indicators that your rabbit is asleep. This is when they aren’t actively smelling and are having downtime.
In general, look out for body language like their ears, how they’re sitting (or standing or lying down), and check your surroundings. These will be the biggest indicators of what they mean.
What to Do if Your Rabbit Is Staring Constantly
If your rabbit is staring at you constantly, there are a couple of things you can do to try and change it. It’s important to remember that this is a natural behavior so while you might be able to tone down the mistrustful stare, they’ll probably still stare when they want food or are on the lookout.
- Check for illness or injury: If you can rule out a medical problem, then you can try techniques to help your rabbit. You can take them to a vet for a check-up or monitor and check them yourself (though illness might be difficult to spot).
- Build trust: If your rabbit doesn’t trust you, you can take steps to earn it. This can be done by creating a safe space for them to live, feeding them a healthy balanced diet every day, and giving them some attention. This shows them that you care and are looking after them.
- Bond with them: Once your rabbit is starting to trust you, you can build and strengthen your bond. Pet them, spend time, feed them treats, speak in a soothing tone, and try to avoid scaring your rabbit with loud noise or sudden movements.
Once your rabbit starts showing signs of affection (licking, grooming, circling your feet, willingly climbing on you, letting you pick them up, and doing flops or binkies around you) you’ve reached a point where they love and trust you.
When your rabbit trusts you, they might stare less because they know you’re safe and they can trust you. Remember – you’ll need to be patient to get to this point but it’s worth the time and effort!
Why Does My Rabbit Watch Me While I’m Asleep?
If you’ve bonded with your rabbit, they’ll look out for you when you’re asleep and therefore vulnerable. They’ll be alert to danger, and warn you if they detect anything. This is an instinctive behavior for rabbits to protect their bond-mates.
Why Does My Rabbit Stare at the Wall?
If your rabbit is unusually still and staring blankly at the wall, it could be because they’re sick. Rabbits mask their illness as much as they can to prevent predators from detecting their weakness. If combined with lack of appetite, unusual toilet habits, or anything else out of the ordinary, speak to a vet ASAP.