Do you ever find your bunny giving you some unexpected kisses? Well, be with me, because we’re diving into the world of bunny smooches to discover why rabbits like to lick you, and what they’re trying to say!
Let’s hop right in! Shall we?
The Science of Rabbit Licks! Why do They Lick you!?
Bunnies are curious creatures that communicate in many different ways. One of these ways is through the art of licking.
You see, bunnies have a special scent gland under their chin called the “submandibular gland.” It’s kind of like their own little perfume factory, producing pheromones to mark their territory and tell other bunnies about themselves.
But wait, there’s more! When a rabbit licks you, they’re not only spreading their scent, but they’re also picking up a sample of your scent. They’re taking a snapshot of you to show off to their bunny friends later.
When and Why Rabbits Lick?
Now that we know what’s happening on a physiological level, let’s dive into the manners of bunny smooches.
You might find your rabbit licking you at different times, and it’s important to know what they’re trying to say. Here are a few possible reasons I would like to point out:
When a bunny licks you, it’s often their way of saying, “I consider you part of my family.” It’s like they’re welcoming you into their inner circle of bunny trust. So, congratulations! You’re officially a bunny in their eyes.
Bunnies are known for their meticulous grooming habits. Sometimes, your rabbit might decide that you need a little help in that department, and they’ll start licking you.
Just like humans, rabbits might lick you when they’re feeling stressed or anxious. It’s their way of seeking comfort and reassurance. So, if your rabbit starts licking you during a thunderstorm, they might just be saying, “I’m scared! Hold me!”
What Your Rabbit is Really Saying While Licking?
To better understand your rabbit’s licks, it’s important to look at the context in which they’re happening. Here are some common situations and what your bunny might be trying to tell you:
🐇 Licking After a Treat
In this case, your rabbit is likely saying, “Yum! Thanks for the snack, friend!”
🐇 Licking When You Pet Them
Here, your bunny might be saying, “This is great! I love cuddles!”
🐇 Licking Your Hand After You’ve Been Handling Another Animal
Uh-oh! Your rabbit might be saying, “Hold up, who’s this other critter you’ve been hanging out with?!”
🐇 Licking Your Tears
Believe it or not, some rabbits can sense when their humans are sad and will try to comfort them by licking their tears. In this case, your bunny is saying, “Don’t worry, I’m here for you.”
Encouraging or Discouraging Bunny Licking
Maybe you’re totally on board with bunny smooches, or maybe you’re not so keen on the idea. Either way, here are some tips to encourage or discourage those rabbit licks:
🐇 To encourage licks, make sure your hands are clean and free of strong smells. Rabbits are more likely to lick you if your scent is familiar and comforting.
🐇 Offer treats and praise when your bunny licks you. Positive reinforcement can help make it a more enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.
🐇 If you want to discourage licking, try gently redirecting your rabbit’s attention to something else, like a toy or a treat. Be consistent in your response, so your bunny gets the message.
🐇 If your rabbit’s licking becomes excessive or problematic, consult a veterinarian or a rabbit behavior specialist. They can help you understand the underlying cause and suggest appropriate solutions.
Here is a video of a cute bunny licking the hand of a human:
Lickable Alternatives for Your Bunny! (When You’re Not Around)
If you’re not around for your rabbit to lick, they might start looking for other ways to satisfy their urge to groom. Here are some options to keep them entertained:
🐇 A soft, stuffed animal can be a great stand-in for you. Choose one that’s safe for your rabbit to nibble and groom.
🐇 Provide a variety of rabbit-safe toys for them to explore and interact with. This can help keep their minds and mouths busy.
🐇 Introduce another rabbit as a companion. Having a friend to groom and be groomed by can be a great way to satisfy your rabbit’s need for social interaction.
Rabbits are fascinating creatures with unique ways of communicating with their humans. Licking is just one of the many ways they express themselves.
You really need to understand why rabbits lick and what they’re trying to say and then we can form stronger bonds with our furry friends and appreciate those bunny smooches even more.
If your rabbit licks you cherish the moment, because you’re not just receiving a wet smooch but you’re getting a message of love, trust, and companionship from your adorable little friend.
FAQs About Rabbit Licking You!
Can my rabbit’s licking cause any harm or infection?
While it’s rare, rabbit saliva may contain bacteria that can cause infections if it comes into contact with an open wound or your eyes. To avoid potential problems, always wash your hands after handling your rabbit and avoid touching your face. If you notice any signs of infection, consult a medical professional.
Is there a specific breed of rabbit that licks more than others?
There isn’t a specific breed that’s more prone to licking than others. The frequency of licking often depends on the rabbit’s individual personality and their bond with their human caretaker.
My rabbit has never licked me. Does that mean they don’t like me?
Not necessarily. Every rabbit has its own unique way of showing affection. Some rabbits might prefer to cuddle or nuzzle instead of licking. As long as your rabbit is comfortable around you and engages in other positive behaviors, it’s likely that they do like you, even if they don’t lick you.
Can my rabbit’s licking behavior change over time?
Yes, a rabbit’s licking behavior can change over time as they grow more comfortable with you or as their environment changes. Factors such as stress, illness, or changes in routine can impact their behavior.
If you notice a sudden increase or decrease in licking, monitor your rabbit’s overall health and well-being to ensure there isn’t an underlying issue.
What should I do if my rabbit is licking an object excessively?
If your rabbit is licking an object excessively, it might be due to boredom, stress, or an unmet need to groom. Make sure you’re providing plenty of mental stimulation and appropriate toys for your rabbit. If the behavior continues or seems to be causing harm, consult a veterinarian or rabbit behavior specialist for guidance.
Jacob Mathew, the rabbit guy. He’s been working with those cute little buns for several years and he knows a lot of things about rabbits, if not everything.
Jacob loves cats and bunnies more than any other animals. Read my full bio