Rabbits thump their feet before falling to warn other rabbits.
Thumping lets them communicate without falling into danger themselves.
A rabbit’s “thump” is actually a signal of surrender, not aggression.
It means they’re willing to back down and retreat if the opponent doesn’t attack first.
The thumping noise is powerful enough to startle even humans, so imagine how it must startle other rabbits.
If the noise doesn’t work to scare off intruders, then they really are ready to fight.
Rabbits have sharp back teeth that can easily cut through flesh.
They only need them for last resort self-defense because their natural defense mechanism is to run away or play dead.
A Rabbit’s Defense
They rarely fight with other rabbits.
When they do, it’s usually between males who are competing for mating rights or territory.
They’ll thump first to show each other how strong they are and then charge at each other in an attempt to knock the other one off-balance.
Sometimes, though, both rabbits will get scared and run away without either of them attacking.
If rabbits are cornered or feel like they have no place to go, they’ll do what they can to defend themselves.
They might jump in the air and kick out with their hind legs, hoping to hit any predators in front of them.
If that doesn’t work, then they bite.
Male rabbits are more likely to attack than female rabbits, but mothers are more likely to attack if their babies are in danger.
Rabbits stand up on their back legs when they’re scared or angry.
They might also run at the opponent and kick out with their hind legs like they’re boxing.
A good way to tell if a rabbit is really aggressive is to watch its ears.
If they’re turned upright and facing forward, then that means the rabbit is prepared to attack.
Alert rabbits may also thump to sound an alarm if they spot a predator like a hawk or a fox.
This can be especially effective with snowshoe hares because it can alert other snowshoe hares without scaring them off.
Why Rabbits Thump
Thumping is a language of warning and shows that rabbits are aware of their surroundings.
They’re not always scared, though; they might also thump in play or when they’re excited.
Rabbits will also thump when startled and then run away before realizing that there’s no danger, like if something falls behind them.
Rabbits thump their feet to warn other rabbits of potential danger and as a last resort self-defense mechanism.
They also use it for territorial contests between males, for mothers defending their babies, and as an alarm system against predators like hawks and foxes.
Sometimes they might not realize that there’s no real threat because they get startled, and they also thump when they’re excited or playing.
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